What Does COP Stand for in an Air Conditioning System?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWe often encourage our customers to consider the installation of a high efficiency air conditioning system in Palm Desert, CA and the surrounding areas. In the extreme hot weather we experience in the Southern California deserts, this type of AC can make a big difference in cooling bills. We’ve previously written about SEER and EER, which are important measures of the efficiency of an air conditioning system. However, there’s another energy efficiency rating to discuss, COP, which stands for Coefficient of Performance.

What COP Means

Coefficient of performance is used in a number of applications, but it’s usually applied to air conditioners and heat pumps. It’s a ratio of work or useful output to the amount of work or energy input. This sounds quite similar to SEER and EER, but there are a few differences. For one, COP can also be used to measure the output of heat from a system, which is why it’s useful for discussing heat pumps. SEER and EER, on the other hand, are applied only to cooling power, measuring how an air conditioner is able to move heat out of the house.

COP is equal to the heat delivered (which means in an air conditioner the heat delivered to the outside of a house) as measured by British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour divided by the heat equivalent of the electric energy input. So an AC that generates 3.6kW of heat to the outside while using 1kW of energy has a COP of 3.6. The higher the COP, the more efficient the system.

Different from EER and SEER, which are focused on the cooling power of the system—in other words, how much heat is removed from the house—COP is focused on the heat produced on the outside. This is why COP is often more useful for determining the effectiveness of heat pumps, which can switch to moving heat inside. However, the rating shouldn’t be ignored on a standard air conditioning system. HVAC professionals can help you read the different efficiency ratings to find the right new system for you.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning: We’re open 24 hours offering exceptional customer service.

Why Is My Air Conditioning Struggling to Keep the House Cool?

During the blistering hot summers in the desert towns of Southern California, there’s nothing worse than an air conditioning system that simply cannot deal with the heat. It takes a powerful and well-maintained AC to beat back intense summer temperatures that often rise above 100°F, and if your home’s air conditioner starts to fall down on the job, you’ll probably need to call on HVAC professionals to diagnose the problem and fix it.

Some Reasons Your AC May Be Struggling with the Heat

  • Excess age: If an air conditioning system receives annual maintenance (usually in the spring) it should be able to last 10 to 15 years, sometimes more. But it will eventually start to wear down, no matter how much attention it receives, and start to lose its cooling ability. If you have an AC that’s more than 15 years old, a drop in cooling power is a strong signal that it’s time to replace it.
  • Loss of refrigerant due to leaks: An AC is designed to handle a specific amount of refrigerant, known as its charge, and that charge will remain the same for the system’s lifetime… unless there are leaks. Loss of refrigerant puts the entire air conditioner in jeopardy, but loss of cooling power is an early warning that it’s happening. Call for professionals to seal the leaks and recharge the refrigerant.
  • Malfunctioning thermostat: The issue may lie in the thermostat that controls the HVAC system. A simple miscalibration so the unit reads false temperatures will cause the air conditioner to behave in strange ways, turning off prematurely and leaving the house too warm.
  • Damaged ductwork: If the ventilation system has gaps and holes in it, it will allow the cooled air to escape before it even enters your living spaces. Technicians will need to seal these leaks to restore the system.

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

Air Conditioning Jobs Only a Professional Can Handle

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningMany homeowners enjoy taking on small fix-it and improvement jobs on their own. It’s not only a way to save money, it can be an exciting adventure on its own and the feeling of accomplishment that comes after it is its own reward.

But not every job in a home can be done as a DIY project. Most work for a central air conditioner should be left to professionals only. In fact, aside from some basic maintenance work such as replacing the air filter regularly and some adjustments to the thermostat, air conditioning tasks are something only trained technicians can do right. Let’s look at a few.

Diagnosing a short-cycling air conditioner

Short-cycling is a common type of malfunction for a central cooling system (as well as a heat pump). It’s when the compressor begins to turn on and off repeatedly over a short stretch of time, such as every fifteen minutes. Short-cycling is bad news for an AC because it increases the strain put on it and can lead to an early system breakdown. But there are many different possibilities for why it happens, ranging from air leaks in the ductwork to an air conditioner that was improperly installed in the first place. You can’t just guess at what’s wrong—it takes an expert to make the diagnosis and then apply the remedy.

Providing regular maintenance

We mentioned above about taking care of a few maintenance tasks yourself. But the actual annual maintenance an air conditioner requires in spring is something to leave to HVAC professionals. Maintenance involves an extensive inspection and tune-up, and only people with training in refrigeration equipment and the right tools can do the work accurately so the air conditioner receives the benefits of maintenance.

Fixing electrical problems

The majority of issues an AC might face during its service life are electrical in nature. Loose connections, wires that lose their insulation, burnt-out motors, etc. Unfortunately, no other type of AC malfunction is likely to get a homeowner to break out the tool box and attempt to tinker around inside the cabinet on their own. Don’t do it! Electrical work requires precision and the right tools.

Sizing a new air conditioner

What does “sizing” mean? It’s basically finding an air conditioner that provides the right amount of cooling for a home. Sizing an AC is an essential step in getting a new air conditioner installed. It’s not something that you can “guesstimate,” however. If you end up picking the wrong type of AC, one that’s either too large or too small, the system won’t work right and you’ll soon need to replace it. Professionals size an air conditioner by doing a cooling load calculation to determine how many “tons” of cooling the house needs. Then they’ll match the house with the ideal sized air conditioner.

If you’re looking for an air conditioning contractor in Redlands, CA you can trust for all your cooling system services, you’ve come to the right place. Our technicians are ready around the clock, 24 hours a day, to repair your AC. They also do maintenance, replacement, and installation.

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

How Effective Duct Insulation Benefits You

Insulation is a word that has a different meaning for people who live in warm climates—like here in Southern California—than it does for people in colder places. For homeowners who are used to chilly winters, insulation is what they have in the walls and attics of their houses to keep heat stored inside and stop chilly drafts. Where we live, insulation is something that keeps out the heat.

There’s another use for insulation in a home, however, that is beneficial anywhere: duct insulation. It’s important that the air ducts that carry both heated and cooled air around your home have sufficient insulation in the right spots. Here’s why:

  • Lowers energy bills: The air moving through ducts can either lose or gain heat, and this makes the HVAC system far less efficient. For example, during our many hot days, the cooled air inside ducts will pick up extra heat, forcing the AC to work longer and raising bills. Insulation slows down the movement of heat either from or into the ducts.
  • Makes a house more comfortable: You don’t want your home to lose/gain heat in any spot if you can help it, because it means unwanted hot or cold temperatures around the house. Insulating your ducts removes one of the key places where unwanted temperatures can infiltrate your home.
  • Stops condensation on the ducts: The changes in temperature along ducts can lead to the development of condensation, which is turn can cause damage to the duct and leaks. Insulation helps to prevent this. This also prevents mold that likes to grow in damp areas.
  • Lowers noise from the ducts: Ductwork can rattle around and make distracting popping sounds, even when it’s in the best condition. Insulation serves as a muffler for these sounds—and creates a quieter home in general.

Duct insulation requires the work of professionals to properly install. Simply give us a call and we’ll give you the help you need for the best in comfort and energy efficiency.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers insulation and ductwork services to Mentone, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

3 Signs That You Need a New Air Conditioner

The days are beginning to warm up, and before long we’ll be in the middle of the hottest time of the year. That means it’s time to start getting your air conditioner prepped for the added stress of keeping you cool all summer long. Part of those preparations, however, include evaluating whether your air conditioner can even make it through another summer. If not, you’ll need to have it replaced with a new one. How can you tell if you need a new air conditioner? Read on to find out.

Age

The easiest way to evaluate whether or not you need a new air conditioner is to look at the age of your current one. Most air conditioners are built to last around 15–20 years, with regular repairs and maintenance. If your air conditioner is that old, and has been experiencing problems, it is probably cheaper in the long run to just replace it than to keep it running. Even if the system is running fine at that age, the increase in efficiency that you would get from a new system would probably still be worth the switch.

Efficiency

Older systems are worn out, plain and simple. The wear and tear on their constituent parts makes them less efficient than they once were, causing them to have to stay on for longer to achieve the same temperature changes. This leads to higher electric bills, which is a good sign that you need a new air conditioner.

Repairs

That same wear and tear that decreases the system’s efficiency will eventually cause parts to fail. A healthy system should only need repairs every year or two. In an older system, however, the advanced wear and tear will start causing groups of parts to fail in rapid succession. If you have to have your air conditioner repaired every few months, it’s time to replace it.

If you need a new air conditioner, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We install and service air conditioners throughout Yucaipa, CA.

How a Poorly Located Thermostat Costs You Money and Comfort

There are many ways that an air conditioner or heater can start to malfunction and end up costing you more money to run that it should. But sometimes these problems aren’t malfunctions; they’re built right into the HVAC system itself from the beginning. Not all installations are equal, and a shoddy initial job can mean a heating and cooling system that won’t live up to its potential.

One common error with HVAC installation is thermostats that are poorly located. We’ll take a close look at the trouble this can cause.

Why is the thermostat’s location important?

A thermostat is both a control mechanism that allows people to change the settings for a heating and cooling system, and a temperature sensor. Today’s thermostats have more precise sensors in them than ever before, replacing older mercury sensors. But if a thermostat is in the wrong location, it will pick up incorrect readings that don’t match the average house temperature. These are known as “ghost” readings, and they will cause the HVAC system to come on and off at the wrong times. This means you’ll experience uncomfortable temperatures and end up paying more money because either the heater or AC will run longer than it should.

Places a thermostat shouldn’t be

There are three common location mistakes:

  • A thermostat placed where it receive direct exposure to the sunlight. The sun’s radiant energy will trick the thermostat into registering higher the temperature.
  • A thermostat near to windows or exterior doors. This will cause cold drafts to deceive the thermostat into reading temperatures that are lower.
  • A thermostat located too far from the center of the house. This will cause the thermostat to read temperatures that do not match the average for the home—either too warm or too cool.

Solving these problems requires calling professionals to either re-locate the thermostats or have new ones installed in better locations.

To arrange for thermostat services in Palm Desert, CA and the surrounding areas, call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning.

Why the Installation of Your Air Conditioning System is So Important

Getting a new air conditioning system installed in your home is a huge decision and one that you will have to live with for many years. You rely on your air conditioning system a lot—especially during the summer when it gets really hot here in the desert. One of the best things that you can do for the performance, consistency and efficiency of your AC system is to get it installed by a professional Palm Springs air conditioning technician. Here at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning, we offer a full range of air conditioning installation services and we wanted to share some of the benefits to getting your air conditioner installed by a pro. Give us a call if you have any questions or if you’re interested in getting help with your new air conditioning system.

Benefits of Professional Air Conditioning Installation Services in Palm Springs, CA

Here are a few of the potential benefits to getting your air conditioner installed by a professional Palm Springs, CA air conditioning installation specialist.

  • Faster service – When you call a professional contractor to install your home’s new air conditioning system you know that they have the years of experience and training to get the job done as fast as possible. They don’t need to spend time reading the manual, or running out to grab missing parts. They’ll be able to know exactly what to do from the moment they get to your home. When the temperature starts to rise you don’t want to have to wait to have your new AC system installed.
  • Better quality – One of the most common causes of air conditioning repair is bad installation. There are so many different calibrations and connections that need to be made and if one of them isn’t done properly it can cause years of poor and inefficient performance. Make sure that you call for professional Palm Springs air conditioning installation services when you need a new system installed.
  • Warranty on labor – Finally, make sure that you work with a contractor that offers some kind of warranty on their labor. If part of the equipment goes bad it might be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. But working with a professional company that guarantees their labor will go a long way if something goes wrong.

If you need air conditioning installation services, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. Our Palm Springs air conditioning technicians are highly trained and we offer a variety of warranties on our labor. Call us today to learn more.

Upgrades to Consider When Replacing Your Air Conditioner

When your old air conditioner gives up the ghost, you’re usually best off replacing it with a brand new one, rather than trying to cut corners by purchasing a used model. New air conditioners are more efficient than older ones and often offer numerous upgrades that can make your life more comfortable. Here in San Bernardino, air conditioning replacement is a serious matter: our triple-digit temperatures don’t leave any room for error when making your plans.

Here Are A Few Upgrades to Consider When Replacing Your Air Conditioner

A very easy and reliable upgrade is the addition of a new thermostat. If you’re using an older mercury-based system you should immediately upgrade it with a digital thermostat: they’re safer and more reliable while offering a number of extra features. Even if you have an older digital thermostats, new ones offer benefits you may have never considered before.  For example, modern thermostats offer remote activation, allowing you to turn it on and off automatically with an app on your phone. Many also offer “smart” programming, which allows them to adjust to your energy habits and help save you money.

Another option to think about is the addition of a zone control system to your ducts. This is the additional of valves and shutters at key points that divide your home into separate sections. Not only does it let you turn off the air in parts of the home you aren’t using – helping you save a great deal on energy bills – but it lets you tailor individual temperatures to individual rooms: increasing your family’s overall comfort levels.

For more upgrades to consider when replacing your air conditioner, or to set up an installation session with a trained professional, give Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning a call. We handle all kinds of systems for all kinds of houses and we have the know-how to make your new system a dream. Air conditioning replacement services in San Bernardino don’t come any more reliable. Contact us today to set up a consultation and let us show you what we can do!

How Do Cooling Towers Work in a Commercial HVAC System?

Commercial HVAC systems are designed for much higher use than residential HVAC systems, and as such must adopt slightly different qualities. In practice, however, the qualities are more a matter of sizing than technique. Commercial cooling towers are bigger, sturdier and built to handle higher loads than cooling towers in residential systems. In Redlands, CA heating installation services can provide more specific guidelines on cooling towers. But in general terms, how do cooling towers work in a commercial HVAC system?

Cooling towers work on the condenser coils, which can get very hot when the system goes through its cycle and cause problems with the air conditioning process. The tower moves cold water through the heated coils, and then into a heat exchanger, which pulls the heat out of the water and sends it back over the coils to continue the process. The results take pressure off the system and allow it to function at higher levels for longer than a unit could without the cooling tower.

It’s not hard to see how important this can be to a commercial HVAC system. Such systems need to work harder for longer, handling conditions in a much larger space for many more people.  Breakdowns are not an option in those situations, and cooling towers can help a great deal. They allow the HVAC system to continue to support a larger load which reducing the risk of repairs in the process. Cooling towers thus become much more desirable in commercial systems than in residential systems, since the need for them is much larger.

If you know how cooling towers work in a commercial HVAC system, and you think they may be a viable option for your place of business, then talk to the experts at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning for help. Installing heating systems in Redlands, CA is one of our specialties, and we know how to install cooling towers with precision and care.  We also put the customer first, and work overtime to make sure that you are completely satisfied with the process. Pick up the phone and call us today to schedule an appointment.

How Duct Sealing Can Improve Your Air Conditioning

Your ductwork is one of the unsung heroes of your home, allowing your central forced-air heating and cooling systems to keep your home comfortable year-round while simultaneously staying out of sight. While it’s a great thing that your ducts are so unobtrusive while playing so vital role, it also makes it hard for them to receive repairs when they need them. Many homeowners can’t tell what kind of condition their ducts are in, and thus can’t tell when they are in need of repairs. This contributes to one of the biggest problems that ducts are afflicted with: duct leaks. Let’s take a look at why you should have your ducts inspected and sealed, and how that can help keep you cool this summer.

Duct Leaks

The US Department of Energy has estimated that average forced-air systems lose between 20 to 30 percent of their output to leaks in the ductwork. That’s a very large chunk of the total output that you are paying for, but which goes to waste without ever benefiting you. Most duct leaks are present at the connection points between the system and the ductwork, and are caused by careless installation or wear and tear. Though duct leaks are often small, just a handful of them are enough to cause that large portion of your system’s output to go to waste.

Duct Sealing

Duct sealing is the process of finding and closing these leaks, improving the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems. The leaks are often sealed with mastic, which is a paint-like substance that dries into a semi-rigid, airtight material. By having your ducts sealed, you not only save money on wasted output but improve your home’s climate control. If you’re looking for ways to stay cool this summer, you should definitely consider duct sealing.

If you haven’t had your ducts inspected or sealed, call Russel’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide duct sealing services throughout Yucaipa, CA. 

Why Water Is Leaking from Your Air Conditioning

As we head into the warm temperatures of summer in San Bernardino, you may notice more water heading into the drain pipe of your air conditioner; this is normal, considering the higher rate of operation your air conditioner is experiencing. But leaking water from other parts of your air conditioner, including the condensate tray, is not part of normal operation and will need repair. Water leaks can do a great deal of damage to your home, so don’t let a water leak make your air conditioning repair larger than it has to be – call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning immediately.

Reasons Why Water Can Leak from Your Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner is a closed system, so if water is doing something other than draining from the condensate tray into the drain pipe, there is most likely an issue. Here are some tips to help you should you suspect a water leak with your air conditioning system:

Reason #1: Problems with the Condensate Tray

The condensate tray in your air conditioner is a metal tray with a slanted bottom that collects the condensation from your system. The bottom is slanted to allow for easy drainage of the excess water into a drain pipe that takes the water outside your home.

A few things can go wrong with the condensate tray that can disrupt the draining process:

  • The tray is not slanted properly
  • The tray is not connected to the drain pipe properly
  • There are holes or cracks in the bottom of the tray from which water can escape

In any of these scenarios, the water going into the condensate tray can drip onto your floor, causing leakage. While this kind of leaking can yield small amounts of water, if left to drip continuously for a long period of time, the damage that accrues can be serious.

Reason #2: Detached Drain Pipe

The drain pipe that is attached to the condensate tray is a simple piece of PVC that can detach from the tray. When this happens, the water from the tray will empty onto the floor below. During a routine maintenance appointment, the condensate tray and drain are inspected to ensure that the tray and drain pipe are securely connected.

Reason #3: Clogged Drain Pipe

The wet, cool environment of the drain pipe is the perfect place for things like mold, mildew and even algae to develop and grow. If the pipe isn’t cleaned, these items, plus any other type of debris, can clog the pipe. Once the drain pipe becomes clogged, the water can back-up into the tray, eventually causing the tray to overfill and spill water over the sides. This will continue until the clog is removed.

Regular AC Maintenance is the Key

With every routine maintenance visit, your condensate tray and drain are inspected and cleaned, adjusted or repaired as needed, helping you avoid the above-listed problems. Condensate problems can start out small but can do a great deal of water damage if left unrepaired for a long period of time. Don’t let your air conditioning repair needs turn into additional water damage repair needs – call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning for air conditioning repair service in San Bernardino today.

Why Does the Pilot Light in My Heater Keeping Going Out?

If you use an older natural gas furnace to provide heat for your house, it probably has a standing pilot light to ignite the burners whenever the system turns on. When the furnace is working as it should, the pilot light will remain burning steadily throughout the season.

But a common problem that people with furnaces run into is a pilot light that keeps going out. An unlit pilot light means that the burners can’t come on and the furnace won’t work. (A device called a thermocouple is designed to recognize when the pilot light fails and then shut off the burner as a safety precaution.)

Our customers often call us because of a pilot light they can’t keep lit. Below are some of the reasons this might happen:

  • Faulty thermocouple – The thermocouple detects when the pilot light is on, and sends an electric current to the gas line to keep a valve open. When the pilot light goes out, the loss of current shuts the valve and stops gas flow. But if the thermocouple has a fault, it may think the pilot light is out when it isn’t and shut off the gas—which will in turn cause the pilot light to go out. Repair technicians will need to replace the thermocouple.
  • Dirty pilot tube – The pilot tube brings gas to the pilot light. If it becomes dirty, it will block the gas and there won’t be enough to keep the pilot light burning. Repair technician can inspect the tube and clean it if necessary.
  • Aging furnace – In general, when a pilot light won’t stay lit, it’s a sign that the furnace is getting too old. Pilot lights are outdated technology, and if your furnace is more than 20 years old, a failing pilot light is usually an indication that you should have a new furnace—one that uses an electronic ignition system—installed in its place. Furnaces that don’t use pilot lights consume less gas and will help you save energy.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers furnace repair service in Palm Springs, CA.

Reminder: Heat Pumps Need Maintenance Twice a Year

This is the time of year when we remind homeowners in Southern California to prep for the coming heat (you know how intense the heat gets here in the desert!) by arranging for a regular maintenance visit from an HVAC professional. We offer superb air conditioning maintenance in Cathedral City, CA and the surrounding areas, so all you have to do is contact our office and we’ll be out to inspect and tune-up your home cooling system.

But I have a heat pump, and it was maintained in the fall

This is a common misunderstanding we run into, which is that heat pumps—systems that work as both air conditioners and heaters—only need maintenance service done once a year. Superficially, this makes some sense. A standalone air conditioner only requires maintenance once, during the spring, and a furnace only requires maintenance in the fall. Because a heat pump is a single system, it seems it would only need one maintenance inspection and tune-up a year.

But appearances are deceptive in this case. Instead of thinking of the heat pump as a single unit, consider how much work it actually does during the year compared to either an AC or a furnace. A heat pump uses the same components when in cooling or heating mode, and because it operates through most of the year to deal with the full range of temperatures here in the desert, those components undergo a great amount of strain—twice as much strain as a solo air conditioner or furnace. That amount of wear and tear on the heat pump over the year makes it necessary for it to have bi-annual maintenance. Your heat pump just put in a full season of work over the winter, and you don’t want it to head into the hot middle months of the year without an inspection, cleaning, and tune-up!

Call us today if you have a heat pump that hasn’t been maintained since the fall. We’ll see you have dependable comfort.

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

Why You Need to Change Your AC’s Air Filter (And Where to Find It)

Every year in the spring, you must arrange for a maintenance visit for your air conditioning system from an HVAC professional. This will prepare for the rigors of another hot Southern California summer. But there is an important maintenance task that you will need to perform yourself each month during the summer: changing (or cleaning) the AC’s air filter.

Why do I need to do this?

The air filter protects the interior of the air conditioning cabinet from debris that enters through the return air ducts. As the filter traps dust, dander, and other particles, it will start to become congested. After a month of steady work (the sort you can expect during a California summer) the filter will be fully clogged. Much the same way that a clogged filter in a dryer will make the dryer inefficient, a clogged filter in an AC will force it to work harder and drain extra energy. It could even lead to debris infiltrating the cabinet. Changing the filter once a month (or cleaning it off if it uses a permanent filter) will keep your AC working at its best.

So where is the filter?

That’s a tougher question to answer, since it varies from home to home. First look over your air conditioning cabinet and locate the air handler, which should be near where the ductwork connects to the AC cabinet. The filter may be in a slot on the intake side of the air handler where it can slide out. If you can’t find the filter near the air conditioner, check on the return vent inside your house. The filter may be located behind the grill of the vent.

If you need help with locating the air filter, check with a technician. It is a wise idea during annual maintenance to have a technician show you where the filter is and how to change/clean it.

If you require professional assistance with your air conditioning system this summer, call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve Yucaipa, CA and the rest of the Inland Empire and Desert Communities.

What Kind of Air Conditioning Should I Get for My New Installation?

There was a time when choosing a central air conditioning system for a home was straightforward, since there was little in the way of variety available. Professionals still needed to size the unit for the home and then take care of the actual installation work, but almost all ACs were split systems that used an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor evaporator and air handler connected to ductwork.

Today you have more choices when it comes to air conditioning. And with more choices comes some confusion. Which is the right unit for your home? Below are some of the air conditioning options available to you.

  • Standard split units: There’s nothing wrong installing a traditional central air conditioning system. If you have a home with an extensive duct network already in place, this is often the best of your choices.
  • Ductless mini splits: Rapidly gaining in popularity across the country, ductless mini splits offer energy efficiency, zone control, an increase in indoor air quality, and many other advantages that come with the lack of ductwork. A ductless mini split works especially well for older homes without room for ducts and for new home construction.
  • Package units: This is essentially a “non-split” air conditioner, in which the condenser and evaporator are housed within a single outdoor unit. These are popular with businesses, but can sometimes benefit homes.
  • High efficiency systems: Of course everyone wants an AC that works at high efficiency, but there are special units on the market today that can achieve remarkable levels of energy savings. But you need to be certain that these units are matched well to your home before deciding to install one.

To get started with selecting your new air conditioning system, contact HVAC professionals who will help you make the best choice that will fit with your comfort needs and budget.

If you are looking for exceptional customer service, call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer air conditioning installation in Cherry Valley, CA.

Why Air Conditioners May Start to Leak Refrigerant

In a post a few weeks ago, we discussed one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about air conditioning systems: that they will eventually run out of refrigerant. Your AC should retain the same charge of refrigerant for its entire service life, with no need to have professionals put in more.

But there is one exception: leaks along the refrigerant lines. When you notice signs that your air conditioner is losing refrigerant (frost along the evaporator coil, a drop in cooling power, a hissing sound from the cabinets) you need to call for repairs right away from HVAC professionals.

What causes these leaks to happen in the first place?

Well, it’s almost certainly nothing that you did wrong. Studies have shown that this problem stems from something called formicary corrosion, which is a type of corrosion that can affect the copper lines of an air conditioning system. Copper is primarily corrosion-resistant, which is one of the reasons that it’s so popular for plumbing systems. But this specific kind of corrosion, which is caused by formic acid developing along copper surfaces, is enough to open up small holes along the refrigerant tubing in an AC.

Where does this formic acid come from? The culprit is formaldehyde, one of the most common air pollutants found inside homes and a byproduct of a number of household chemicals. Although you can have air purifiers installed in your house to reduce formaldehyde levels, it’s almost impossible to thoroughly eliminate it.

Even though there is no fool-proof way of preventing refrigerant leaks, you can stay vigilant of their occurrences. Make sure that you always schedule annual maintenance for your AC from a professional (spring is the best time) so that technicians can detect leaks early on, and always call for repairs immediately after you notice warning signs of refrigerant loss.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers quality air conditioning repair and maintenance in Cherry Valley, CA. Call our offices for exceptional customer service.

In Southern California, March Means Prepping for the Heat

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningThere’s an old saying about March: “In like a lamb, out like a lion.” (And sometimes the reverse!) The earliest reference to this is from a 1732 volume of “wise sayings,” which means the phrase has been around far longer than that. It’s a cute way to say that March offers some of the most unpredictable weather of the year, sometimes acting like December, and at other times acting like July.

However, here in the deserts of Southern California, our unpredictability is a bit more… predictable. Winters are mild (it was wonderful that we got some much-needed rain this year) and warmer weather arrives early. March is the best time to start getting your home ready to face the extreme heat of the middle of the year, because that extreme heat can come roaring in at any moment.

How to Prepare Your HVAC Systems for the Coming Weather

You shouldn’t simply stop using your heater and start using your air conditioner and hope for the best. Making the change between seasons requires taking some additional steps and working with an HVAC professional on some of them. Here is our advice for shifting your home in Highland, CA to air conditioning season.

The Heater: See that the furnace is completely shutdown

If you use a gas furnace for heat—which the majority of homes do—then it needs to be completely shut off when it’s no longer needed. Turn off the gas valves to the furnace, including the pilot light. Change the furnace’s air filter. Check around the home to see that none of the air vents are blocked. Test all your carbon monoxide detectors.

The AC: Arrange for air conditioning maintenance service

Annual maintenance is the most important step to getting the heating system and the air conditioning system ready for their respective seasons: heating maintenance in fall, air conditioning maintenance in spring. Scheduling your AC maintenance during March will help you get on the schedule early so you’ll beat out the worst heat. You can contact our offices to find out about our regular maintenance program, which makes the job easy—both for the heater and the AC—each year.

Having this air conditioning maintenance visit annually provides you with a number of benefits:

  • It reduces the amount of work the air conditioner must do, improving its energy efficiency. A well-maintained air conditioning system will use 20% less energy than one that misses its regular inspections and tune-ups. That adds up to a great deal of money saved each year.
  • The inspection part of the maintenance checks over all the major components to find places where repair issues are developing. This way the technicians can schedule repairs before the problems become worse. For example, technicians check on the refrigerant level and pressure in the AC. This determines if refrigerant is leaking. Loss of refrigerant can cause permanent damage to the air conditioner if the system runs. Technicians can seal the leaks and restore the refrigerant to its proper level.
  • An AC that has its regular maintenance done each year will last longer than one that doesn’t. The standard lifespan of a central air conditioning system is between 10 to 15 years—but your AC won’t even reach half that if it isn’t tuned-up annually.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help whenever you need AC or heating assistance. We’re open 24 hours a day!

Are Gas Furnaces Dangerous?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningNatural gas is a common energy source used in homes and businesses around the country. If your home has a connection to a natural gas line, you probably use gas to power your oven, stove, water heater, and furnace.

Natural gas systems have a tendency to make people nervous. They’re concerned about toxic gas leaks, such as carbon monoxide, and combustion hazards. Most of these fears are exaggerated, but we do recommend people take caution when it comes to any natural gas appliance. We’re trained professionals in handling heating repair in La Quinta, CA and the surrounding areas, so we know a great deal about the safety level of gas furnaces—and how to keep them safe.

Let’s take a closer look at the safety of your home’s gas furnace.

Gas furnaces are built with safety features

Current manufacturers of gas furnaces design them with safety as the #1 concern. A contemporary natural gas furnace has a number of built-in safety features that will shut off gas flow in case of potentially hazardous malfunctions. Furnaces also have limit switches that will shut off the system in case of overheating.

Carbon monoxide detectors provide early warnings

Any home that uses natural gas, regardless of the appliance, must have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors placed around the various rooms. Most smoke alarm systems are also CO detectors. CO is a tasteless, odorless gas, so having a special system in place to detect it should it escapes from your furnace is an essential safety measure.

Routine furnace maintenance improves furnace safety even more

We can’t emphasize enough how vital it is to arrange for regular heating maintenance in the fall. This applies to alltypes of heating systems. With gas furnaces, the process takes on an additional importance. During maintenance, technicians check over the furnace to locate areas where safety issues might be developing, such as looking for cracked heat exchangers or leaks in the gas line. You can have repairs done before the cold weather arrives so the furnace works up to the highest standards of safety. Our regular maintenance program handles all the vital furnace safety checks.

Safety steps during the winter

You can take a few additional steps to help improve your furnace’s safety during the winter. Make sure the area around it is clear for about a foot, and don’t store anything flammable (such as paint thinner) near the cabinet. Change the furnace air filter every 1 to 3 months to prevent overheating. Keep all room vents free of obstructions.

Always arrange for prompt repairs when needed

You may noticed odd behavior from your furnace (strange noises, turning on and off rapidly) that don’t otherwise affect heating performance. You shouldn’t ignore these signs and put off having professionals check on them. Allowing a furnace to continue to run when it has a malfunction of any kind increases the risk of it turning unsafe. Plus, the faster you have the trouble fixed, the less costly the repair job is likely to be.

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

It’s Not Too Late to Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWe’re deep into spring, and the official start of summer is only three weeks away. If you haven’t already arranged for your spring air conditioning maintenance with our HVAC professionals, you might think that it’s too late. Maybe you can skip this year and have maintenance done next spring? What’s the worst that can happen?

Here’s the Worst That Can Happen…

Your air conditioner will break down on the hottest day of the year. That’s not something you want to happen, especially when you consider what hot is down in the deserts of Southern California. Although you can always reach our technicians for repair service—we’re here 24 hours a day to help—this is a situation you want to avoid if at all possible. A broken AC can even be a life-threatening situation for a home with young children or elderly people.

Maintenance Is Always Beneficial, No Matter When It’s Done

There really is no such thing as “too late” when it comes to AC maintenance. It’s “better late than never”… and it’s not even too late! The worst of the summer weather arrives in July, so you have time to schedule a visit from one of our technicians. During maintenance, the technician will give the air conditioner a thorough inspection to find places that might require repairs, and also handle tune-up tasks such as cleaning coils, recalibrating the thermostat, lubricating motors, and tightening electrical connections. If your air conditioner is approaching the end of its lifecycle, your technician will be able to give you a warning about it and help you to arrange for a system replacement before the major heat arrives.

To arrange for your air conditioning maintenance in La Quinta, CA, contact us today. Our maintenance program will have you set up for annual inspections and tune-ups for both your AC and heating system.

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

Do You Have Enough Air Filtration in Your Home?

Your air conditioning and heating system comes standard with an air filter that helps to clean the air, keeping contaminants from recirculating through your ducts. But these weren’t originally designed with health in mind. Air filters serve another key purpose: protecting your HVAC equipment from damage. While all filters are effective enough to block large debris from the AC unit, not all filters can reduce some of the main allergens common to most homes. If your indoor air quality is at stake, you may consider an electronic air filter or a UV air purifier as a supplementary device.

Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning to talk about your Yucaipa air filtration system’s effectiveness and to decide whether a new electronic unit can benefit your home.

Electronic Air Cleaners Supplement Your HVAC Filter

Your home filter has some level of effectiveness, but likely not very much. Filters are rated for effectiveness, and most home filters are given a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of about 1 to 7. The scale goes up to 16, and a higher MERV rated filter will remove more particles. In the best case scenario, your MERV 7 filter is able to remove dusting aids, dust mites, and pollen from the air, but not other contaminants like legionella, small bacteria, and mold spores. Larger filters are not recommended as they can block airflow to your HVAC unit.

Electronic air cleaners work with your HVAC system to charge the particles that pass using negative and positive ion charges. The particles are given a charge so that they can collect on metal plates in the device with an opposite charge. You’ll generally need to clean these plates every few months, but they should be able to eliminate many hazardous particles from the air.

Consider a UV Air Purifier for Additional Protection

UV air purifiers are installed at the air handler in order to protect against microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. These can lead to illness in your family members, especially those with compromised immune systems. The UV rays are strong enough to kill and sterilize these organisms, and may also eliminate mold and unpleasant odors from a home.

At Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning, we’re experts on installing air filtration systems in Yucaipa and we can help make your home a better environment for you and your family.