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

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

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

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

Air Conditioning System Age

Okay, so you think your air conditioner is getting old.… Read more

Some Additional Benefits of Regular Heating Maintenance

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

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

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

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

Yes, Furnace Maintenance Is an Annual Service

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

Do I Need Heating Maintenance—In the Desert? (Yes!)

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

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

Yes, it can get cool at night

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

3 Common Fan Problems

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

Common Fan Problems

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

 Motor Issues

Each fan has a motor that operates the fan array (fan, belts, etc.).… Read more

Dealing with Allergies with Indoor Air Quality Solutions

Allergies can be a problem around the year in a place like Southern California. Although there are many medical ways to treat mild to severe allergy problems, one of the best ways to meet the problem is to improve your home’s air quality. Because modern houses don’t allow much fresh air to circulate through them, it’s easy for many allergens to become trapped indoors and continue to move through the HVAC system and rooms.

But how do you boost your air quality, aside from throwing open the windows and doors and letting in the immense outdoor heat? It’s actually simple: you only have to get in contact with our IAQ experts. They’ll find the right service or installation to reduce the allergen count in your home.… Read more

Is It Time for Regular Duct Cleaning?

Winter preparation tends to be a somewhat… mellow… affair here in the deserts of Southern California. Yes, we can expect a bit of rain, and some nights when it gets cool enough to turn on the heater for a stretch. Hey, we can even enjoy a nice fire in the fireplace! But it is nothing like Minnesota or many other parts of North America.

So, with less of the really hard work of winter preparation to take care of, there are some tasks that may not have occurred to you that are great to schedule at this time: professional duct cleaning is one of them.

Air Duct Cleaning Frequency

Cleaning the air ducts in a home has often gotten a bit of a bad rap because disreputable door-to-door offers that are really nothing more than at too-expensive fast vacuuming job.… Read more

Common End-of-Summer Repairs

End-of-summer repairs are common, and you shouldn’t wait to make them. Problems with your AC rarely get better on their own, and they usually become worse over time. If it’s time for air conditioning repair in Palm Desert, call the people you can count on: Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning.

End-of-Summer Repairs

There are a lot of ways your air conditioner can malfunction, but there are a few problems we see a lot after a busy cooling season:

  • Refrigerant leaks – the refrigerant in your system helps facilitate the transfer of heat. Your air conditioner requires an exact amount of refrigerant in order to work properly. When there’s a leak, it causes an imbalance in the heat release/cooling process. Refrigerant leaks require immediate repair and can be hard to find, so it’s important to call a professional.
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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.… Read more

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.… Read more

Time to Look into Installing a High Efficiency Air Conditioner!

For much of the rest of the country, thinking about installing central air conditioning during mid-February sounds a bit nutty. But here in Southern California’s desert communities, it’s always a good time to investigate options for better cooling. Especially when that better cooling also comes with energy-saving performance!

Going high efficiency with your AC

Every year, air conditioning technology advances farther. New ACs in general use less power than older ones, thanks in part to the development of thinner aluminum refrigerant coils that helps them absorb heat faster and more effectively before. The SEER rating of air conditioners (a measure of how much cooling a system produces compared to the electricity it draws) is risen significantly, and you should aim to find a system with a SEER rating of 14.5… Read more

Is Duct Sealing Really Necessary?

We offer a wide range of services to help homes stay comfortable around the year. Among them are services to clean and repair the ductwork of HVAC systems. We’ve recently discussed the importance of regular duct cleaning. Today, we’re going to look at another service, duct sealing, that many homeowners don’t realize they need.

Why would my ducts need sealing?

You can’t see most of the ductwork that serves your house, so it’s hard to get a gauge on the condition it’s in, or how durable it is. Unfortunately, ducts are prone to a number of issues that can lead to them developing air leaks. Corrosion, insects, and simple wear from air pressure are all causes of air leaks, although the main cause is that the ducts were poorly installed in the first place.… Read more

Air Conditioner Efficiency: What Are EER and SEER?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWe’re in the middle of the time of the year when homeowners are often looking into replacing their air conditioning systems. Having a new air conditioning installation in Palm Desert, CA before the big heat of summer strikes is a good idea. If you have any suspicions that your current AC won’t make it through the coming season, make an appointment with our team to look over the air conditioner and offer you recommendations about whether to replace it or not… and what kind of system to replace it with.

The Question of Efficiency

When looking into the installation of a new air conditioning system, one of the key things to investigate is energy efficiency. Newer air conditioners have higher energy-efficiency ratings than ever before, and requirements of the U.S.Read more

Spring Is a Good Time for Duct Cleaning

Last week we talked about getting an early start on tuning-up your air conditioning sytem with professional maintenance. This is a job that needs to be taken care of each and every spring. Today, we’re going to look at another service you should have done regularly for your HVAC system, although not every year.

Professional duct cleaning

The ductwork in your home that carries heated and cooled air from your HVAC system to the various rooms will gradually pick up dust, lint, dirt, dander, and other debris. It takes about a year for a thin layer of dust to form inside the ducts, and after a few more years the build-up will begin to place resistance against air flow and can even contribute to a decline in indoor air quality.… Read more

Why Won’t My Electric Furnace Work?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningElectric furnaces are common in Southern California because they can provide sufficient heat for the mild winters and don’t require a house to have a full gas hook-up. Electric furnaces are also less prone to break downs than gas furnaces, and it’s nice not to deal with those types of hassles when the heating system doesn’t need to run often.

An electric furnace can still create headaches for a home. No heating system can ever work entirely free from malfunctions! You may turn on your electric furnace to warm up your home during one of our occasional cold spells and discover you’re not getting heat. What’s wrong?

Check the circuit breaker

The furnace may not be getting any power because a circuit breaker has tripped.… Read more

How Is Additional Refrigerant Put into an AC?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningBefore we attempt to answer this question, we’d like to know the reason you’re asking it in the first place. Are you curious about how professional HVAC technicians do the job of putting more chemical refrigerant into an air conditioner? Or are you wondering how to do it because you think you might as well know how since you’ll have to do it on occasion?

If it’s the second reason, then we need to have a discussion about refrigerant and how it works in an AC. This is important because what refrigerant does and how it does it are critical for system operation.

Air conditioners do not (usually) need additional refrigerant

Why people wonder when an air conditioner needs to have more refrigerant put in, is because they’re thinking of refrigerant as a type of energy source, like gas in a car or batteries in a remote control.… Read more

When Does AC Maintenance Season Start? It’s Always Hot Here!

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningAny quality HVAC company—one that cares about your family’s comfort—will recommend you have an annual maintenance inspection and tune-up for your cooling system. The same as with a vehicle, this regular maintenance is a way to prevent breakdowns and inefficient, costly performance.

There’s no season for vehicle maintenance, but when it comes to AC maintenance in Palm Desert, CA or the surrounding areas, the time usually recommended is spring. This is actually the recommended time across the country, from our roasting So. Cal. desert climate to the chills of a New England seaport. But when you consider how warm the weather here is for most of the year—including heat waves that can hit during the middle of winter—is there really any such thing as a “season” to arrange for AC maintenance?… Read more

Some Ideas if You Plan Air Conditioning Replacement This Fall

If you’re thinking about putting in a new air conditioning system for your home when the weather starts to cool down (October is an excellent month for it), it’s a good idea to start planning now. One of the big questions you’ll need to answer is what type of AC system you want as a replacement. This isn’t as simple a to answer as it once was, since there are more types of air conditioners than ever, as well as different options. Below we’ve put a guide for some model and extras to consider.

High Efficiency Air Conditioner

If you’d like to cut down on those high air conditioning bills during the long hot season in Southern California, look into installing a high-efficiency air conditioner.… Read more

To Heat Pump or Not to Heat Pump? That Is the Cool Question

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningAs you look toward the summer heat this year, do you think it’s time for a new air conditioning installation in Palm Desert, CA to keep your house cool? Temperatures are already rising into the 90s during the days, and if you think your current AC is no longer able to cut it, having professionals install a new air conditioner as soon as possible is the best planning. You don’t want to be caught on a 100°+ day with a busted AC.

But what if you don’t want a new air conditioning system? Maybe you want—a heat pump?

This is a big question homeowners in the area face when they plan to put in a new cooling system. They can have another central air conditioner installed, or they can opt for a heat pump, which is similar to the standard air conditioner and goes into the same space and uses the same ductwork and air handler.… Read more

What AC Choices Are There For Installation?

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

High-Efficiency Systems

When you replace your air conditioning system, look for a system with a high SEER as well as the ENERGY STAR label. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a calculation of how much energy an air conditioner uses to cool a space.… Read more

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

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

The ECM Motor

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

Haven’t Had Heating Maintenance? Now’s the Time!

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningThe nights are turning cooler now that it’s December, although the day time still enjoys highs in the 70s and 80s. We can soon expect even cooler nights, and that means heating systems will start to come on for comfort.

We understand that running a heater in your home isn’t often on your mind here in the deserts of Southern California. But you can take away almost all concerns about the heater for the season if you arrange for annual heating maintenance. Right now is the time to have this job done. In other parts of the country, it’s best to do heating maintenance in early fall, since cold weather could sweep in at any time. But heating maintenance in Palm Desert, CA and the surrounding areas can wait for a bit longer.… Read more

The Advantages of an APCO Whole-House Air Purifier

Spring is an excellent time to have air purification and filtration systems installed in your home. With the pollen count increasing and air conditioning systems turning on to send air around homes, there’s a higher chance of that your household’s air quality will suffer. Our indoor air quality specialists offer a number of quality purifiers and filters. One of our most popular installations is the APCO System.

What an APCO System Does

APCO stands for Advanced Photocatalytic Oxidation. This air purifier is installed into the ductwork of a central air conditioning system and cleans the air as it passes using a combination of UV-C light and activated carbon that eliminates both germs and odors. An APCO system is especially effective against one of the most common of all indoor air pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde.… Read more

Pay Attention to These Sounds Coming from Your Air Conditioner!

The central air conditioner has yet to be invented that has a smart system to analyze malfunctions and provide the homeowner with an exact rundown of repairs that need to be done, and how soon to have them done. Until the invention of this type of “genius AC,” you will have to make do with more ordinary warning signs that your home’s air conditioner is in need of professional repairs. One type of warning: unusual noises from the cabinets.

Some Common Warning Sounds from an Air Conditioner

  • Clicking: You might hear a repeated clicking sound when the air conditioner’s compressor attempts to come on. This is referred to as “hard-starting,” and could point to a number of issues—all of which require the work of HVAC technicians to repair.
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Don’t Neglect Any Commercial HVAC Repairs You May Need

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningBecause we enjoy warm weather through most of the year in the deserts of Southern California, it can be easy to take for granted the operation of heating and air conditioning equipment. There’s no hard line between the cooling season, when air conditioners put in the most work, and the heating season, when heaters turn on. The heating season is brief, and air conditioners still often have to put in work during the winter.

But if you own a business in the area, you can’t afford to ignore any possible issues with your commercial HVAC system, heating or air conditioning. A lot is at stake: comfort for employees, clients, customers, tenants, and protection for equipment. A home may be able to scrape past without heating for a few days if something goes wrong—but the impact on a business when the HVAC system falters can be immediate and severe.… Read more

Why Your Air Conditioner Might Overheat

An air conditioning system is supposed to work when it’s hot outside. That’s what an air conditioner is for, after all! HVAC manufacturers design these systems to operate in scorching temperatures so they shoulder the work that homeowners need from them.

But no matter how well an AC is built, the summer temperatures we experience in the deserts of Southern California are the definition of “unforgiving.” When our temperatures fly up into the 90s and 100s, the stress on an individual air conditioner can become extreme enough for the system to overheat and stop working. Obviously, you don’t want this to happen, so when you need Palm Desert, CA air conditioning services to get your cooling system working once again, don’t hesitate to call our technicians.… Read more

AFUE: The Furnace Efficiency Rating

When you are looking to have a new furnace installed for your home, you’ll have a lot of different stats to consider. Perhaps the most important to examine is the efficiency rating, which gives you an idea of how much a furnace will cost to run during the year. The efficiency rating for a furnace is AFUE, and we’re going to look a little closer at what it means and how to make a choice when picking a replacement furnace.

AFUE = Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The acronym A.F.U.E. stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” It is listed as a percentage, and that percentage is how much of a furnace’s fuel supply it converts into heating power when it’s running. So a furnace with an AFUE rating of 85% will output 85 BTUs of heating for every 100 units of fuel it burns.… Read more

Don’t Pay to Heat and Cool Your Attic!

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningIf you read the post headline and thought, “Of course I don’t pay to heat and cool my attic! Hardly anybody goes up there during the year, so why would I have it heated or air conditioned?” It’s true that, unless you’ve converted the attic into a living space of some kind, there’s no reason to have vents from the AC and heater opening into it. And when you consider how incredibly hotan attic gets here during much of our warm-to-roasting year, it would take an immense amount of air conditioning power to cool it down.

However, we’re not talking about intentionally heating or cooling the attic. You may be accidentally doing it, and wasting money.

How does this happen?

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Let’s Look Over Your Heating System for Repairs—Before You Need It!

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningYou might see the word heating in the title of this post and feel a laugh coming on. The temperatures outside are still hitting 100°F during the middle of the day! You’ve already got enough heat on your mind, and using your home air conditioning system as efficiently as possible so you can make it through this fall heat wave is priority #1.

However, much of home comfort is about planning: anticipating your needs so you can have them taken care of before they become actual needs. We do experience cool winter evenings here in the Southern California deserts, and if you want your heat pump, gas furnace, or electric furnace to work its best from the start, it’s a smart idea to use the time when you don’t need a heater to see if there are any problems with it.… Read more

Does Heating Maintenance Really Do Any Good?

A few weeks ago, when it was still officially summer, we posted about the importance of getting heating maintenance scheduled during October. It’s still hot here in the Southern California deserts, and that means you have time to arrange for maintenance if you haven’t done so yet.

You might think that this seems a bit extreme. Is this maintenance job that important, and does it have to be done every year? The answer is yes all around, as we’ll show below.

Here are ways heating maintenance makes a difference

  • Safety: If you have a natural gas furnace for a heating system, it must have an annual inspection from licensed HVAC technicians. This will uncover if the furnace has any repair issues that will lead to unsafe conditions if not corrected.
Read more