Author Archives: West-o-plex

What Does HVAC Maintenance Include?

pair of residential HVAC units

The Importance of HVAC Maintenance

 When asked if they’d like to take an HVAC maintenance contract, many homeowners will ask, “Is HVAC maintenance necessary?” The answer is yes, because the HVAC system in your home is crucial in your family’s comfort year round. This makes HVAC maintenance crucial too to ensure that it is working properly at the maximum capacity. 

There are two types of HVAC maintenance. One type is you, the homeowner, and it is a matter of being proactive as a preventive measure. The other type of HVAC maintenance is by a professional HVAC technician.

What maintenance is required for HVAC?

There are several things that could happen to an HVAC system. With a routine pattern by you and with a professional technician of HVAC maintenance, these things can be caught before they get too bad or expensive. From corrosion and leaks to the distribution of the air and clogged coils and filters. 

Three HVAC problems that require regular attention by you as part of an HVAC maintenance routine are: 

  1. Leaks: All HVAC systems have connectors and drain lines that are susceptible to developing leaks if not maintained. As a homeowner, your part of HVAC maintenance is to keep a watch for any leaks from the drain line or the refrigerant lines as you perform the monthly HVAC maintenance steps we’ll discuss later.
  2. Corrosion: Moisture can be a good thing and it can also cause corrosion if the wrong surfaces have moisture, like terminals and wires within your HVAC. This usually happens because there is a leak within the system. This makes the system work harder and less efficient, eventually leading to a breakdown. When you notice any corrosion during your monthly HVAC maintenance steps, you’ll need to call a professional technician for inspection. 
  3. Debris and Dirt: Every component of an HVAC system needs to be kept clean and free of debris and dirt. This includes the electrical parts, the air filter, and everything around and in between. A dirty and dusty HVAC has to work hard, making it less efficient and compromising the quality of the air in your home. Your monthly part of HVAC maintenance is to keep the unit as clean and dust free as possible, starting with changing or cleaning the air filter.

What should be included in HVAC maintenance?

A professional HVAC maintenance should include the following:

  • Cleaning condenser and evaporator coils
  • Check the refrigerant and test for leaks
  • Adjust and clean blower components 
  • Examine burners, heating elements, and pilot light as applicable
  • Check all electrical components, wiring, and voltage
  • Lubricate any moving parts
  • Check the thermostat reading
  • Check the system is shutting off/on correctly with thermostat
  • Check fan belt and motor are working smoothly
  • Check the filter
  • Inspect the outdoor component

How do you do preventive maintenance on HVAC?

The following HVAC maintenance tasks will mitigate the possibility of any issues or problems with an HVAC system for a homeowner:

Monthly

  • Inspect the system for leaks around the refrigerant and drain line.
  • Check that all visible indoor and outdoor components are free of debris and dust. 
  • Make sure there is 2 feet of open space around all the components, indoor and outdoor.
  • Clean or replace the air filter. Consider upgrading to a high-efficiency filter. 

Seasonally

  • Turn the water to the furnace humidifier off at the start of summer.
  • Replace the humidifier filter then turn the water back on at the start of fall.

Annually

  • Replace the batteries in the programmable thermostat and CO detectors.
  • Lubricate the HVAC motor and check the fan belt, if worn, replace it. 
  • Clean the condensation drain line with a mixture of bleach/water. 
  • Check that the outdoor component is clear of any debris, grass, or leaves, and is sitting level.

Is annual HVAC maintenance necessary?

And how often does HVAC need maintenance? The manufacturers of most HVAC systems suggest HVAC maintenance be taken care of once a year, some will suggest twice a year. However, most HVAC contractors will recommend and offer an HVAC maintenance agreement for every 2 years until the system reaches 10 years. Then an annual professional inspection is recommended, more if it is beginning to need repairs.

If you have an older system or you don’t know how old the system is, have it professionally inspected now. Then follow the advice of the technician for future HVAC maintenance schedules. 

How long does HVAC maintenance take?

A professional HVAC maintenance appointment will typically take one to two hours. There are some factors that can cause this to take longer such as the type of HVAC system, the size of your home, and how long it has been since you’ve had an HVAC inspection and maintenance. If it has been a while, the first appointment could take up to three hours. Thoroughness is important to have a well-operating HVAC system. 

close-up of a technician checking an HVAC unit

At The End of the Year

A question that many homeowners will wonder is an HVAC maintenance plan worth it?

The cost of individual maintenance and repair visits can add up over time. With an HVAC maintenance contract, the areas and components that frequently need repairs are inspected and maintained with the intention of not needing those individual maintenance and repair service calls. 

An HVAC maintenance service contract will usually be offered in the following manners: 

  • An HVAC maintenance contract that covers labor only with any parts being extra. This type of contract is typical of an annual or semiannual program and includes overall checkups, cleaning, and adjustments to the equipment.
  • An HVAC maintenance contract that covers labor costs for planned and unplanned inspection, maintenance, and repairs.
  • HVAC maintenance contracts that cover labor costs for maintenance and repair visits and include the costs of most parts.

Coverage will vary within these categories with each company and may or may not include both air conditioning and heating, or they may include both. You want to clarify what the contract is offering before signing on the line. An HVAC maintenance service contract should provide you a peace of mind with the preventive maintenance steps, priority service for breakdowns, and a reduced cost for any sizable repairs needed. 

What Do I Need to Know Before Installing an Air Conditioner?

Heating and air conditioning inverter used to heat and cool condos

Get Assisted

If you live in Fort Worth, Texas and you don’t have air conditioning, now is the time to consider an air conditioning installation!  Or maybe your current unit didn’t keep up with the heat last summer, consider replacing it with a new air conditioning installation

What is the cost of a new air conditioning system?

The average cost for a new air conditioning installation can range between $5,000 and $8,000 depending on which brand, size, and which of the many types of air conditioning systems you choose.

What size air conditioner do I need?

There are a few basic rules and theories to follow when choosing the best air conditioner for your home, such as the 20 BTU (British Thermal Unit) for each square foot of living area. BTU is a unit of measurement for energy an air conditioner is using. 

In addition to the square footage of the living area in your home, other factors need to be considered like the ceiling height and the size of the doors and windows. The higher the ceiling and the more exterior doors and windows, you’ll need a bigger air conditioning installation (more BTU).

1 ton = 12,000 BTUs / hour, meaning a 1-ton air conditioning system will remove 12,000 BTUs per hour. A professional air conditioning installation team will get the exact measurements of each room and the complete house to help you find the system size. Some examples are: 

  • 100sf to 300sf should have 5,000 to 6,000 BTUs
  • 350sf to 650sf should have 9,000 to 13,000 BTUs

 The team will take each room measure in square footage and add them together to determine the BTUs needed.           

If I have existing air conditioning, do I need new air conditioning ductwork?

A new air conditioning installation is expensive, that is a fact that nobody can argue. So, it may be tempting to cut corners where you can, and the air duct system is often the first place a homeowner will ask about not replacing. 

A new air conditioning installation should be expected after 15 to 20 years. Each time, the ductwork should be inspected, and it should be inspected and cleaned every 3 to 5 years.

Experts in the air conditioning installation business will recommend having new ductwork installed at the same time. No, this isn’t an upsell like adding fries to your hamburger order. While the existing ductwork can be retrofitted to the new air conditioning installation, it isn’t recommended because a mismatched system will often be inefficient. 

New ductwork with the new air conditioning installation is as much as 30% more efficient, saving you money each month on utility bills.  With the old ductwork, you’ll only see around 15% more efficiency. Still, savings yes, but not as much, and new ductwork is one of the least expensive parts of a new air conditioning installation. 

When should I replace my air conditioner?

If you pay attention, your air conditioning system will begin showing signs of failure, as a car does! If you pay attention to those signs, you can be prepared instead of going into panic mode when it does die. Four signs that you need to prepare for a new air conditioning installation are: 

  • A Ten-Year-Old System

When the air conditioning system is 10 years old, it is time to start shopping for a new air conditioner installation. An air conditioner today will last 20 years with proper care and maintenance versus the 12 years of an older air conditioner’s lifespan. 

The are several factors that affect the lifespan of an air conditioner in addition to proper routine maintenance.  That maintenance includes an annual inspection and tune-up by a professional technician. Maintenance also includes changing or cleaning the air filter, keeping debris and grass off the exterior component, the brand and quality of the unit, and how much the system is used. 

  • Frequent Break Downs

If your air conditioner needs frequent repairs, it may be that you’re not following through with the maintenance recommendation. If you’ve had a repair technician out twice a year in the last 5 years, you should consider a new air conditioning installation. 

  • Energy Bills Increased 

The cost of power, electric or gas, will increase annually, but if your electric power has a large sudden increase, you should have your air conditioning inspected. 

  • Freon Usage

If your air conditioning system is low on freon, (aka refrigerant), then you need a new air conditioning installation because they do not “use” the freon up. This would be it is leaking and while the technician may be able to stop a leak by tightening a line, chances are it will leak again. 

How can I tell if my air conditioner is broken?

The following are five signs that it is time for a new air conditioning installation: 

  1. Hot Air Blowing: An air conditioning system that is blowing hot air could be a broken compressor or a refrigerant leak. Both are fixable, but both could be beyond repair, and a new air conditioning system could be the better solution financially in the long run. 
  2. Moisture Near the System: If you notice moisture leaking around the system, it could be as simple as the drain pan needs to be emptied and the drain lines cleaned out. This should be addressed immediately to avoid mildew and mold from forming and spreading throughout your home. 
  3. Unusual Noises: An air conditioning system should be fairly quiet, so when you can hear grating, grinding, or squealing, it could be a belt is loose, the fan needs oiling, or you need a new air conditioning installation. 
  4. Unusual Odors: If you notice a strong, pungent odor, it could be a wiring issue that is usually fixable. If you’re smelling mold and must, you have a moisture build-up somewhere. Either way, have the system inspected by a professional and be prepared to need a new air conditioning installation. 
  5. High Humidity: An air conditioner pulls humidity from your home, so if you notice a pool of water around the windows or the air feels sticky inside your home, you need to have a professional inspect the system.
Portrait Of Mid-adult Male Technician Repairing Air Conditioner

What should I check after air conditioner installation?

With a professional air conditioning installation service, the technicians should walk you through the job and provide instructions on how to use the system to get the most comfort and efficiency.  That walkthrough should include: 

  • Checking the ductwork is clear and free of any obstruction
  • Allow the system to run through a complete cycle that will ensure everything is in proper working order
  • Check each room for balance and effectiveness of cooled air
  • Pick up any debris or trash from the air conditioning installation

In Closing – Making It Legal

Do you need a permit to install air conditioning? Unless there is new construction to your home, a permit typically isn’t needed.  A professional air conditioning installation team will know the local laws and regulations when it comes to permits.

West-O-Plex Air Conditioning and Heating provides professional air conditioning installation in Fort Worth, TX. Contact 817-244-2511 to get assistance.

How Can You Tell If Your Furnace Is Broken?

Technician working on a furnace

The Need For a Furnace

Here in North Texas, we don’t have the blustery, snowstorms they have in the furthest northern part of the country. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need heat during the winter! Routine inspections will keep a furnace in good condition, but occasionally, furnace repair service is needed. 

But that starts when you know who to call for furnace problems. There are some things you can do yourself, but other times when you need a licensed professional for safety. By scheduling a licensed professional for inspections and maintenance, you’ll minimize the chances of needing a furnace repair service. 

How do you repair a broken furnace?

Yes, there are some things you can do yourself that could keep you from needing to make that phone call to a professional furnace repair service. So, you’re asking, “How to repair my furnace?” and we offer these tips to try:  

1. Check the air filter

A dirty filter doesn’t allow the air to flow through your home. If your furnace is turning off and on frequently, before you call for a professional furnace repair service, this is the first thing to try. A routine of changing the air filter every 30 days is recommended. 

2. Furnace keeps running

If the fan blows constantly, it could be any the fan isn’t set at the right setting.  Check this by setting the thermostat down 1 to 2 degrees from the current temperature. After a few minutes, the heater should cut on to reach the new temperature setting. If it doesn’t turn on, then check that thermostat is sitting on at “auto”.  

3. Funny odor when first turned on 

After a spring and summer off, a furnace accumulates dirt and dust. When the furnace first turns on, it may smell like it’s burning. This doesn’t need a professional furnace repair service – give it some time to burn off and the small should quit.

How much do furnace repairs cost?

An HVAC repair professional typically charges between $75 per hour and $150 per hour. Depending on the age, brand, model, and problem with your furnace, the average furnace repair service can cost between $300 and $1,200 for a gas furnace and $130 to $500 for an electric furnace. 

How long does it take to repair a furnace?

The age, brand, model, and problem will deter determine how long it takes the technician.  The time can average between four and ten hours. After inspecting the unit and assessing the problem, the technician may if you need a furnace repair vs replacement. Up to a certain age, replacement is the better option. 

How long do furnaces usually last?

With proper maintenance and upkeep, a furnace can last up to 20 years, with an average lifetime of around 15 years. When a furnace is 12 years old, experts recommend increasing the frequency of professional inspections to every year. 

A telltale indicator that your furnace needs to be replaced is when furnace repair service calls become more frequent. Begin looking for a more energy-efficient option on the market, and while that is an expense you aren’t planning, the savings you’ll get from better energy will help pay for the expense. 

How much does emergency furnace repair cost?

Like any type of emergency service, an emergency furnace repair service call will typically be two to three times more than a basic furnace repair service call. Try to check the things we’ve mentioned earlier, if you can do your own furnace repair, you’ll save that money. If you have other means of keeping warm until a business day during business hours, hold off making that emergency furnace repair service call. 

However, if you have a gas furnace and smell gas, this is an emergency that shouldn’t wait. Leave the house immediately, making sure everyone is safe, then call the gas company to cut the gas off to your home. 

How much does it cost to replace a furnace?

The brand and model you choose for a new furnace replacement will affect the cost. There are various models within each brand, some more elaborate than others. Whether you need an electric or gas furnace will have an impact as well. With the new unit, parts needed for the installation, and the labor, you can expect to pay between $3,000 to $8,000. 

man's hand fixing furnace connections

In Closing

Take the opportunity to ask about a maintenance agreement with the company that installs your furnace.  A professional furnace installation should include training on maintenance and how to use the furnace. 

 With annual inspections for the first 10 years, you can expect your furnace to last an estimated 20 years. Proper maintenance is key to the longevity of a furnace. Follow the recommendations of changing the air filter every 30 days and have the air ducts cleaned every 12 to 18 months. 

Your AC Maintenance Checklist

technician working on an air conditioner

Dealing With a Broken AC

What could be the worst thing to happen during the middle of a Texas summer? Yup, the air conditioning has quit working. By July and August, the humidity is higher than the temperature and it is downright miserable. So, to keep that from happening, the best thing a homeowner can do is keep their ac maintenance up each month and have professional ac maintenance and inspection every year. 

What is AC maintenance and why is AC maintenance important?

AC maintenance for the homeowner consists of changing the air filter every 30 days, checking and emptying the drain pai every 30 days and cleaning the air return vents every day. AC maintenance by a professional ac technician will consist of voltage testing the system, checking the thermostat, and inspecting the air ducts, belts, and vents. 

Professional ac maintenance will also include checking the drain pan and drain lines, checking the refrigerant level and recharging it if necessary, lubricating any moving parts and making sure the blower motor and fans are working properly.

These ac maintenance steps are necessary now as the humidity and temperatures are getting higher because we are using our air conditioning almost non-stop! The ac maintenance described above are important for the following reasons: 

  • Protecting Your AC Equipment

Yes, a professional ac maintenance call will cost some money, but not nearly as much as it would be to replace your air conditioner! Keeping the ac maintenance on a schedule will extend the life of the ac system and gives the technician the opportunity to find small issues before they become a bigger and more expensive problem. 

  • Energy Saving

Preventative ac maintenance will keep your air conditioner working at optimum capacity which will help your energy bill because you won’t be adjusting the thermostat constantly. AC maintenance will include cleaning and oiling all the important parts like the blades, cooling coils, and other important components. When these components are clean and oiled properly, it maximizes the energy efficiency and that is a money saver with the utility bills.

  • Comfort and Peace of Mind

With routine ac maintenance by you and the annual checkup and ac maintenance by a professional, you can have peace of mind your ac system is working properly and keeping your family comfortable. 

Is it necessary to service AC every year?

In answer to the question of how often ac maintenance is needed for a brand new ac system, every two years is sufficient. After the fifth year, once a year is recommended and by the eighth year, twice annually. Having AC maintenance service at these recommended frequencies will ensure that it is always working correctly and efficiently. AC maintenance for summer weather is a good idea once in the spring and once in the fall in preparation for winter use.    

How much does AC maintenance cost?

If you haven’t had any professional ac maintenance, you can expect the initial appointment to cost around $200.00. This will include a thorough inspection, cleaning, and tune-up that will bring your air conditioning system up to standards. 

If you have a routine of ac maintenance without a maintenance agreement, it cost around $75 or more for a basic cleaning and tune-up. To purchase an extended service contract that will include an annual ac maintenance check-up, the cost can vary between $150 and $500 depending on the size and type of HVAC system you have and the size of your home. 

Once you have an AC maintenance program in place, the technician can answer the question of how often you should have your air conditioner serviced. The older a system gets, the more frequent professional AC maintenance will be needed. Then, at a certain age, the technician will start talking to you about replacing the unit to be more cost-effective. 

What are the AC maintenance benefits?

There are ten reasons why you need to establish a professional ac maintenance program: 

  • Extend Your AC System’s Life

With a professional technician performing ac maintenance and inspection, they will often find and identify minor problems, fix them and save you an emergency ac phone call and repair. This will also keep your ac system running well and give it a longer lifespan. 

  • Better Air Quality and Health

An ac maintenance program will keep your air conditioning system running better and cleaner, making the air quality in your home better and healthier. 

  • Reduces Humidity 

Keeping the ac maintenance up will keep the humidity lower inside your home. As the air moves through the ac cooling and filtration system, it is pulling excess water out of the air. When that moisture isn’t pulling out, it is creating a mildew and mold environment that your family is breathing. 

  • System Upgrades

With the ac maintenance appointment, the technician can advise you of changes and upgrades in temperature control technology. These are things that will make your system run better like a smart thermostat or electrostatic air filters. 

  • AC System Efficiency Increased

An air conditioning system that is ineffective isn’t just keeping your home warm, but it is working harder and that is costing you more each month on the utility bills. With routine ac maintenance, repairs are made a soon as they are needed and that will keep it all running smoother, cooler, and be less expensive. 

  • Removal Of Unwanted Pests

During the summer, not only do humans want to be comfortable, so do critters and insects. With routine ac maintenance program, the technician will find where these critters and insects are taking residence and remove them, block where they are entering, or advise you where structural repairs are needed, like the roof.

technician working on an air conditioner

In Closing

So, are you thinking an AC maintenance contract may be an expense you can’t afford? Do you know how much a new AC system will cost you? Depending on the size of your home will determine the size of AC unit you’ll need, along with the brand and the model of the unit you choose. Pricing for a new HVAC system can start around $3,500 and go to upwards of $8,000. When you look at those costs, a $200 AC maintenance contract may not be so bad! You can learn more about this by reaching out to the West-O-Plex Air Conditioning and Heating team at 817-244-2511.

Furnace Maintenance Checklist

technician inspecting a gas furnace

Getting Ready for Winter

Here in Texas, winter is knocking at our door ya’ll… are you ready? It isn’t quite time to wrap the exterior pipes, but making sure the pipes under the house, under the sink, and in the walls are insulated should be done. Don’t forget your furnace maintenance, either!

What is furnace maintenance?

Furnace maintenance includes furnace inspection and tune-up. This is a preventive measure that will keep you from having to make that emergency furnace repair phone call the first night the temperature drops to below 32 degrees. So what do furnace maintenance, inspection, and tune-up include? 

The essential components of your furnace are inspected, cleaned, and adjusted as necessary. This may include lubricating and testing specific components, along with taking care of the items on this checklist: 

  • Inspect the air intake grills and vent system, clearing any blockage
  • Check for any corrosion or damage to the heat exchanger 
  • Examine and clean the blower 
  • Check and test the blower motor
  • Inspect, repair, replace, and tighten all electrical connections
  • Check and clean the burner and flame sensor
  • Examine the belts for breaks, cracks, or damage
  • Repair or replace belts as needed
  • Inspect the thermostat and calibrate as needed
  • Lubricate all moving parts within the heating system
  • Check, change, or clean the air filter 
  • Check and test the system’s safety controls
  • Check and test the startup cycle

A gas or oil furnace will need the following additional steps performed with the furnace maintenance and inspection: 

  • Examine fuel lines
  • Repair or replace any fuel lines with leaks
  • Check and test the burner, gas pressure, and the pilot
  • Inspect the thermocouple
  • Repair or replace the thermocouple if needed

Should I get a furnace tune-up?

Definitely! A furnace or heater tune-up is essential in getting the best efficiency possible and making sure it is safe to use. The older your furnace is, or if you have had multiple service calls over the past few years, the more important furnace maintenance, inspection, and tune-up become. 

How often should you have your furnace serviced?

Annual furnace maintenance is recommended, but if you have a brand new system, you can go between inspections and tune-ups every two to three years for the first eight years. After that, annual furnace maintenance is recommended to assure it is working properly and safely.

How long does furnace maintenance take?

The average varies, depending on factors such as whether you have an electric, gas, or oil-fueled system, the age of the furnace, and the complexity of the work needed. However, furnace maintenance will usually take between 45 minutes to 2 hours, with an hour being a common timeframe. 

What can go wrong with a furnace?

Here are the most common furnace issues that homeowners experience: 

Not Enough Heat

The furnace has one job: keeping your home warm by distributing warm air. When that isn’t happening, it can be cause for alarm, but that doesn’t mean it is a huge problem. Check the thermostat is on heat and not fan. The appropriate furnace setting should be the first thing you check with your furnace maintenance steps. 

Next, check the pilot light if you have a gas furnace. If the pilot light is out, the furnace is only going to have cool air to blow. If these things haven’t got warm air blowing, call a technician. 

Turning on and Off

Your furnace should cycle on and off, maintaining a comfortable temperature according to the thermostat setting. Depending on the temperature you have it programmed to and the outdoor temperature, your furnace might cycle off and on several times within an hour.

If a furnace doesn’t reach the temperature setting you have and begins short cycling, check the safety switch. The safety switch is a built-in feature that shuts a system down when it has gotten too hot. Next check the air filter and change or clean it to make sure it isn’t causing a blockage. When the air filter is blocked, it can cause the furnace to overheat, and the safety feature will do its job. This is why an important step in your furnace maintenance is changing the air filter. 

Automatic ON Isn’t Working 

If your furnace isn’t switching on automatically to produce heat as the thermostat signals it to, some things to check are: 

  • The circuit breaker is on
  • The thermostat is at the right setting
  • The air filter isn’t clogged
  • The ignition and pilot light are on
  • There is ample fuel for oil-powered furnaces

Each of these things should be checked during regular furnace maintenance checks by you or a technician.

Stopped Working

Has your furnace started a cycle then suddenly shut down before the desired temperature setting was reached? Check the items we listed above and if all of those are okay, call a technician. 

Excessive Noise

Every furnace is going to make some noise like clicking when the thermostat reaches the right temperature and signals the furnace to turn on. You may even hear a whooshing sound as the warm air travels through the ductwork. As your furnace ages, the blower will get louder. However, some noises like loud knocking or rattling are unusual and indicate something is wrong. These noises should be inspected by a professional.

Leaking Water

Like your air conditioning, your heater can develop a condensation leak and water will pool up around the base. With routine furnace maintenance, this won’t happen. When it does happen, check the condensation pan and drainpipe. Empty the pan and make sure the drainpipe is clear. If water still pools up, call a technician. 

man removing a dirty air filter

In Closing

Furnace maintenance isn’t something to forget or ignore. If you aren’t comfortable with your own ability to perform the maintenance, then schedule a furnace maintenance appointment with a professional at least once a year, just before winter. They can light your pilot light and make sure you’re good for that first cold snap. 

Your AC Maintenance Checklist

Air conditioning units outside a residence.

Dealing With Broken AC

What could be the worst thing to happen during the middle of a Texas summer? Yup, the air conditioning has quit working. By July and August, the humidity is higher than the temperature and it is downright miserable. So, to keep that from happening, the best thing a homeowner can do is keep their ac maintenance up each month and have professional ac maintenance and inspection every year. 

What is AC maintenance and why is AC maintenance important?

AC maintenance for the homeowner consists of changing the air filter every 30 days, check and emptying the drain pain every 30 days and cleaning the air return vents every days. AC maintenance by a professional ac technician will consists of voltage testing the system, checking the thermostat, inspecting the air ducts, belts, and vents. 

Professional ac maintenance will also include checking the drain pain and drain lines, check the refrigerant level and recharge if necessary, lubricate any moving parts and make sure the blower motor and fans are working properly.

These ac maintenance steps are necessary now as the humidity and temperatures are getting higher because we are using our air conditioning almost non-stop! The ac maintenance described above are important for the following reasons: 

  • Protects Your AC Equipment

Yes, a professional ac maintenance call will cost, but not near as much as it would be to replace your air conditioner! Keeping the ac maintenance on a schedule will extend the life of the ac system and gives the technician the opportunity to find small issues before they become a bigger and more expensive problem. 

  • Energy Saving

Preventative ac maintenance will keep your air conditioner working at optimum capacity which will help your energy bill because you won’t be adjusting the thermostat constantly. AC maintenance will include cleaning and oiling all the important parts like the blades, cooling coils, and other important components. When these components are clean and oiled properly, it maximizes the energy efficiency and that is a money saver with the utility bills.

  • Comfort and Peace of Mind

With routine ac maintenance by you and the annual checkup and ac maintenance by a professional, you can have a peace of mind your ac system is working properly and keep your family comfortable. 

Is it necessary to service AC every year?

In answer to the question of how often ac maintenance is needed for a brand new ac system, every two years is sufficient. After the fifth year, once a year is recommended, and by the eighth year, twice annually. Having AC maintenance service at these recommended frequencies will ensure that it is always working correctly and efficiently. AC maintenance for summer weather is a good idea once in the spring and once in the fall in preparation for winter use.    

How much does AC maintenance cost?

If you haven’t had any professional ac maintenance, you can expect the initial appointment to cost around $200.00. This will include a thorough inspection, cleaning, and tune-up that will bring your air conditioning system up to standards. 

If you have a routine of ac maintenance without a maintenance agreement, it cost around $75 or more for a basic cleaning and tune-up. To purchase an extended service contract that will include an annual ac maintenance check-up, the cost can vary between $150 and $500 depending on the size and type of HVAC system you have and the size of your home. 

Once you have an AC maintenance program in place, the technician can answer the question of how often you should have your air conditioner serviced. The older a system gets, the more frequent professional AC maintenance will be needed. Then, at a certain age, the technician will start talking to you about replacing the unit to be more cost-effective. 

What are the AC maintenance benefits?

There are ten reasons why you need to establish a professional ac maintenance program: 

  • Extend Your AC System’s Life

With a professional technician performing ac maintenance and inspection, they will often find and identify minor problems, fix them and save you an emergency ac phone call and repair. This will also keep your ac system running well and give it a longer lifespan. 

  • Better Air Quality and Health

An ac maintenance program will keep your air conditioning system running better and cleaner, making the air quality in your home better and healthier. 

  • Reduces Humidity 

Keeping the ac maintenance up will keep the humidity lower inside your home. As the air moves through the ac cooling and filtration system, it is pulling excess water out of the air. When that moisture isn’t pulling out, it is creating a mildew and mold environment that your family is breathing. 

  • System Upgrades

With the ac maintenance appointment, the technician can advise you of changes and upgrades in temperature control technology. These are things that will make your system run better like a smart thermostat or electrostatic air filters. 

  • AC System Efficiency Increased

An air conditioning system that is ineffective isn’t just keeping your home warm, but it is working harder and that is costing you more each month on the utility bills. With routine ac maintenance, repairs are made a soon as they are needed and that will keep it all running smoother, cooler, and be less expensive. 

  • Removal Of Unwanted Pests

During the summer, not only do humans want to be comfortable, so do critters and insects. With a routine ac maintenance program, the technician will find where these critters and insects are taking residence and remove them, block where they are entering, or advise you where structural repairs are needed, like the roof.

Technician working on an air conditioning unit.

In Closing 

So, are you thinking an AC maintenance contract may be an expense you can’t afford? Do you know how much a new AC system will cost you? Depending on the size of your home will determine the size of AC unit you’ll need, along with the brand and the model of the unit you choose. Pricing for a new HVAC system can start around $3,500 and go to upwards of $8,000. When you look at those costs, a $200 AC maintenance contract may not be so bad! You can learn more about this by reaching out to the West-O-Plex Air Conditioning and Heating team at 817-244-2511.

How Long Does It Take to Install a Split System Air Conditioner?

ac system

How long does it take to install a split system air conditioner?

Here in Texas, there are certain things you don’t do. You don’t touch another man’s cowboy hat, you don’t take away our Blue Bell or Dr Pepper, and you don’t mess around with our air conditioning. Now, if you’re new to The Lone Star state, you may not realize how important those things are, but you can be certain by mid-June, you’ll know how important air conditioning installation is for survival here. 

If you’re going to go to the expense of having air conditioning, go that extra few dollars and have a professional that knows how to install an air conditioner system to the work. Why is that recommended?  The air conditioning installation process isn’t just a matter of setting it in place then plugging it in. The wiring needs to be correct, or you could short-circuit the air conditioning and all the wiring in your home.  Then there is the refrigerant. Extreme care needs to be used when installing this chemical, and in most cities and states, it has to be done by a licensed contractor. So, go with a professional air conditioning installation contractor and have it done right from the beginning. 

A split air conditioning system is a unique type of air conditioning. The condensing unit and the evaporative coil unit are separate and connected by a copper tube. That copper tube  carries the refrigerant between the different units.

In most cases, a professional split air conditioning installation can be completed in one day. For a DIY homeowner with no experience, it can up to two days. 

Can I install a split system air conditioner myself?

Yes, maybe.  A ductless mini split system has refrigerant lines and high-voltage electrical connections and wiring. These can be tricky to work with and as we stated earlier, there are some cities and states that require the refrigerant to be installed by a licensed contractor. The same is to be said with the electrical components as well. 

So, before you pass on the air conditioning with installation to do your own, air conditioning installation, check the local building code and ordinance. If you are having it professionally installed, you need to inquire about any necessary permit requirements as well. 

If all is a go for your do your own air conditioning installation, each manufacturer provides instructions with the unit, or you can download them from their website. Be sure to follow those instructions step-by-step for the specific details. Any short cuts on the refrigerant or the wiring, you could find yourself with a burned out mini split air conditioner system.

How long do reverse cycle air conditioners last?

Reverse cycle air conditioning is an air conditioning that cools and heats. Experts recommend  having these service in the autumn and again in the spring, like you would an HVAC system. However, if you use your reverse air condition system 24/7, you may need to have it inspected and service 3 to 4 time a year. 

Can an electrician install an air conditioner?

Yes, but just as we have warned the city and state where you live may require the electrician to be licensed in his given profession and have a license for install the refrigerant. Being certified and licensed as an electrician doesn’t necessarily mean they are licensed for refrigerant too. 

ac system outside

How long can you run an air conditioner continuously?

In general, central air conditioner unit will run between fifteen and twenty minutes for 15-20 minutes, enough to cool down the house. However, in extreme heat, typical of Texas, if may run longer because it is working against those high temperatures. If you’re not feeling anything cooler after that time frame, you need to have a professional air conditioning professional inspect your air conditioning system.  

Once your air conditioning installation for home has been completed, you need to maintain a regular maintenance routine that will ensure it keeps working as it should. As we stated, experts recommend twice a year, more if you run the air conditioner 24/7. 

In addition to having it professional inspected and serviced, there are things you can do to keep your air conditioner working. 

  • Change or Clean the Air Filter – This is the easiest thing a homeowner can do to extend the life and service of their air conditioner. No less than every 30 days is recommended. 
  • Clean the vents and clean the outside unit – By keeping the vents and outdoor unit clean of debris, dirt, leaves, and trash, you’ll ensure its longevity. 
  • Do visual inspections of the pipes at the outside unit. 
  • Empty the condensation pan weekly. 

When an air conditioning system is neglected, it will quit working as efficient as it should. This results in two things:  Higher utility bills and the need to replace the unit sooner. Call 817-244-2511 today for split AC installation in Fort Worth, TX.

How do you know if a house thermostat is bad?

old broken thermostat not responding

Signs your thermostat needs repair

Well, we got through a winter like many Texans have never experienced! Whew, there are part of this Lone Star State that have never seen snow and don’t care to ever see it again thank you.  Now, our kind of weather is around the corner, summer. Now is the time to make sure your air conditioning and thermostat are in working order.

If you already went through your furnace or thermostat not working earlier this year, then you’re probably all set for summer. For central cooling and heating, generally the thermostat for HVAC all work within the same setup with the hvac thermostat controlling both the air conditioning and the thermostat.

But then, what if your cooling and heating aren’t like that? How do you know if your thermostat is bad? What are the symptoms of a bad home thermostat? A wall thermostat can last 30 years before they need to be replaced, but they can also quit working as well as they should during that time. How do you know your thermostat needs replacing? Here are 4 indications you need to replace your thermostat:

1. System Runs Constantly

If the air conditioning is running all the time, even after you adjust the thermostat up or turned off the unit, you probably have a malfunctioning thermostat. It may be the wiring or some other malfunction with the signal relaying between the thermostat and the HVAC system. Sometimes the thermostat simply needs to be recalibrated or reset.  How do I reset my thermostat?

Most thermostats can be reset by holding the reset button down for five seconds. If your thermostat is battery powered, flip the batteries direction for five seconds, then flip back. One last option is to turn the breaker off for 2-3 minutes then back on. If none of these work , you need to replace your thermostat.

2. The Air Conditioner Or Heater Won’t Turn On

If your HVAC system isn’t turning on at all, there is likely a wiring issue with the thermostat to the HVAC system. The internal part of the thermostat is malfunctioning, or it could be something with your HVAC system.  Replacing the thermostat would be the least expensive thing to try and if that doesn’t get the HVAC system turned on, call your repairman.

 Of course, if you have a maintenance agreement, call them first before replacing the thermostat because it may be covered. Same if you have a home warranty policy, call them first before replacing the thermostat.

3. Room Temperatures Vary

If one room is ice cold and another room isn’t getting any cooler, this could be the thermostat malfunctioning. Your HVAC system depends on the thermostat to tell when the house is cool or warm, and if the room furthest away isn’t getting cooled or warmed as needed, replace the thermostat. If that doesn’t help, call your HVAC repair company.

4. Thermostat Has No Power

A battery powered thermostat that has no power, simply replace the batteries.  A wired thermostat that won’t turn on after pressing all the buttons needs to be replaced.

Can low batteries affect thermostat?

Batteries in your thermostat have a primary function of saving any programmed information should there be a temporary power outage. This allows the cooling and heating system to continue operating uninterrupted. So, now, low batteries won’t affect the operation of the thermostat or HVAC system.

However, when the batteries dies, the screen will go black, the thermostat will quit working, and your HVAC system won’t cool or heat because the thermostat isn’t telling it what to do. Here are three tips that your thermostat batteries should be changed:

  • The low battery indicator light comes on, some will have a beep too.  
  • The air conditioning or heat won’t turn on.
  • The thermostat screen is blank, and you can’t set the thermostat or turn the HVAC system on.

Many homeowners have set up a system where they replace the batteries in the smoke detectors and the thermostat at the same time, then buy replacement batteries to have on hand.

How do I fix my thermostat?

With the following tips, you may be able to get your thermostat working again:

  • Circuit breaker panel: Even if there is a display on your thermostat, it doesn’t mean the HVAC system is working. Check the breaker, if it is off, flip it on. If resetting it doesn’t work or it trips again, call a HVAC repair service.
  • Thermostat Setting: Set the thermostat to the opposite setting you want. If the system doesn’t turn on, then replace the batteries in the thermostat. If this doesn’t work, then call a HVAC repair service.
Themostat replaced for newer model

Can you replace your own thermostat?

Yes, you can but it is recommended to try this only if you have some basic electrical knowledge and basic, general knowledge of the tools you’ll need to use changing your thermostat.  If you’re going with hardwired, it would be best to have a professional electrician or HVAC tech do the switch for you.

If you’re upgrading to a battery operated, programmable thermostat, consider getting an  hvac thermostat with humidity control.  By controlling the humidity, it will ease the strain on your HVAC system which will save you money too. Need help with your thermostat in Fort Worth, TX? Call 817-244-2511 today.

How to Do HVAC Maintenance

hvac system

What is HVAC preventative maintenance?

What does HVAC maintenance mean? HVAC is an acronym for , heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This is a mechanical system that maintain a comfortable temperature level in your home. The HVAC system also maintains an optimal air quality and provides a level of energy efficiency too. 

There are many things that can go wrong with an HVAC system, including corrosion, leaks, and issues with distributing cold or hot air. Things like clogged filters, dirty coils, and more  can lead these problems, which where HVAC maintenance is important. HVAC maintenance is being proactive and preventative in making sure your HVAC system is running in proper condition and minimizing future issues and problems. 

What is preventive maintenance checklist?

For you, the homeowner, your maintenance checklist  should include the following tasks to help keep your HVAC equipment running smoothly in between the professional HVAC maintenance and tune up appointments by a trained HVAC technician:

  • Change or clean the HVAC filter every month. Most new HVAC systems today have an indicator light to remind you the HVAC filter needs attention. 
  • Keep debris cleared away from the outdoor unit. Things like leaves and trash get sucked up against the unit affecting its efficiency. 
  • Once a month clean the outdoor unit by spraying it down with water hose. 
  • Keep foliage trimmed back a minimum of 18 inches away  from the outdoor unit.
  • Keep return and supply registers clear of drapes, furniture, or rugs.

How often should I replace HVAC filter?

It is recommended by HVAC manufacturers and professionals that a HVAC filter should be replaced every 30 days. If you have a reusable filter, cleaning it every 30 day is recommended. Exceptions to this is for households with occupants with breathing issues, has indoor pets, or live on a dirt, dusty road.  In those instances, changing or cleaning the HVAC filter should be done twice a month.

What is involved in HVAC maintenance?

There are some preventative HVAC maintenance steps that can’t be or shouldn’t be done by the homeowner. There are skills learned by training and experience, and specific tools that trained HVAC technicians have access. This is the purpose of taking an HVAC maintenance contract with the company that installs your HVAC unit.  Care for your HVAC system should be taken seriously in order to get a longer lifespan from the unit. It will also save you money over the year and minimize the chances of your system breaking down on a cold winter night or in the middle of a hot summer day. 

Here is a list of what HVAC technicians will do when they arrive for a HVAC maintenance and tune-up: 

  • Check the system controls to ensure they are in proper and safe operating condition.
  • Clean and adjust dampers.
  • Inspect area surrounding air intake.
  • Ensure air flow is proper volume.
  • Check air filters, clean or replace.
  • Check air duct system .
  • Check refrigerant.
  • Inspect electric terminals and apply non-conductive coating.
  • Verify correct electric control.
  • Check heat amps.
  • Lubricate motors and other moving parts.
  • Clean blower motor.
  • Inspect fan, belts, and bearings.
  • Test thermostat is cycling on and off properly.
  • Check drainage of condensation system. 
  • Check outdoor unit fins are straight.
  • Clean exterior and  interior of outdoor unit.
  • Check defrost board, aka heat pump.
  • Inspect the gas piping and pressure.
  • Check flue vent.
  • Check burner combustion and heat exchanger.
  • Check fuel lines.
  • Clean and inspect the condenser coils and evaporator for any dirt or  obstructions.

How often should your HVAC be serviced? 

As the homeowner, your HVAC maintenance tasks should be done monthly, especially the changing or cleaning of the air filter.  In keeping the outdoor unit clear of debris like leaves, any time you’re walking by, remove anything that has blown up or sucked up by the unit. 

For a professional HVAC maintenance plan once a year minimum is recommended by manufacturer and HVAC experts. This will keep your HVAC system is proper working order or if any small issues have occurred, the technician will catch them and be able to repair or correct them before they become a major and costly problem. 

What is included in a HVAC tune up?

The common HVAC tune-up by a professional HVAC technician should include the following: 

  • Clean condenser coil.
  • Calibrate thermostat.
  • Check refrigerant level. 
  • Check for refrigerant leaks.
  • Inspect and tighten electrical connections and parts.
  • Check blower belt and motor. 

How long does an HVAC tune-up take?

A professional technician will take between thirty and forty-five minutes to perform a thorough tune-up. In some cases, the size of the house or if there are multiple HVAC units, the tune-up could take as long as an hour. If the system(s) need refrigerant added, the job can take additional 30 minutes. 

Two exterior HVAC units

Are HVAC tune ups worth it?

Definitely!  There are several benefits with regular HVAC maintenance by the homeowner and professionally scheduled appointments. Among those benefits are: 

  • Less Repairs: With routine HVAC maintenance by you or a professional, anything that is common or ordinary will be caught and repair or replacement can take place before the system fails. 
  • Safe Operation: A routine HVAC maintenance place will save you money by keeping the HVAC system in proper working order, saving you money on repairs. 
  • Longer Lifespan: With a routine HVAC maintenance schedule, malfunctioning parts can be replaced and eliminate possible domino effect of other components breaking down. This will keep the equipment in proper working condition which will extend its lifespan. 
  • Lower Energy Costs: When your HVAC system is operating correctly in at full capacity, it will save you money each month. When HVAC maintenance is neglected, the system will get bogged down and have to work harder. The harder it works, the more this will cost you each month in utilities.

Need help with your HVAC today in Fort Worth, TX? Call 817-244-2511 today.

How bad is indoor air quality?

dusty filter

Discovering indoor air quality

When you look around your home, does it look clean, smell clean? Do you give the indoor air quality and health of your family any thought when you look and smell your home? If your home is clean and unless you cooked fish or turnup greens last night, and nobody is apparently sick, you probably aren’t concerned about the indoor air quality

You may not be aware of what your home’s indoor air quality is affected by, but it may not be as clean and healthy as you think. Even without the fish, turnup greens, wet dog, or anyone being sick. Today, the indoor air quality of our homes isn’t much better, maybe not as good, as the outdoor air quality. 

What causes poor air quality in home?

According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency, indoor air pollution is caused by gases or particles being released into the air inside our homes and businesses. Because most structures have inadequate ventilation, the indoor pollutants aren’t being diluted and carried outdoor. 

Those gases and particles that are creating poor indoor air quality primarily come from the following five things, most of which are found in every home or business: 

  1. Household Cleaning Supplies: While these help you keep your home or business clean, they also cause indoor air pollution. As you use those cleaning supplies, they are circulated in the air that everyone is breathing, many of them are toxic as the warning labels advise.
  2. New Carpet: The adhesive used for installing and the vinyl backing of new carpet can sometimes release chemicals, referred to as off-gassing. Some of those chemicals create poor indoor air quality, causing breathing issues, dizziness, headaches, and more. Most of that off-gassing has dissipated during the first month or so after installation, but the chemicals that they are made from can have an effect on the indoor air quality for up to five years. If you’re getting new carpeting, make sure your home or business has extra ventilation for three to five days after installation.
  3. Paint Compounds: Household and indoor paint have an abundance of VOCS (volatile organic compounds). So, when you’re getting the house or office repainted, some may start experiencing headaches. Those VOCs are gone by the time the paint dries, but there may still be some lingering, affecting the indoor air quality. Again, make sure there is extra ventilation in the house or office for three to five days after the painting is completed.
  4. Mildew and Mold: Mold forms in homes and businesses from too much moisture in the air, and this creates poor indoor air quality from the microscopic spores of that mold. The humidity levels need to be maintained even so that they aren’t too high, even using a dehumidifier if needed is recommended. 
  5. Inadequate Ventilation: When there is an inadequate ventilation system, the indoor and outdoor air can’t circulate properly. The air intake and exhausts for every room in your home or business should be checked and cleaned, removing any dust or pollutants. With a proper ventilation system, indoor pollutants are reduced. Upgrading the air conditioning system with a built-in dehumidifier can help the humidity levels and indoor air quality of your home or business. 
  6. Cigarette Smoke: One single cigarette has hundreds of toxic substances, the biggest contributor to poor indoor air quality. Requiring smokers to go outside helps keep the indoor air quality healthy and adding air purifiers inside the home or office can help with any lingering smoke that follows the smokers inside. 

What are the symptoms of bad air quality in the home?

Here are a few indication that you may have poor indoor air quality in your home or business: 

  1. Allergies: Yes, the change in the seasons and weather can irritate allergies, but so can poor indoor air quality. There is a wide range of materials that can irritate allergies like dust, pollen, and more. Any excessive coughing and congestion, headaches and sneezing, watery eyes, or bloody noses are typical symptoms. 
  2. Symptoms: When contaminants like asbestos, mold, or hazardous chemicals are in the air, mild ailments and health symptoms will worsen as they affect the occupant’s health. When there are new complaints or an increase in complaints from anyone with breathing issues, chills, dizziness, fever, hearing issues,  muscle aches, nausea, or rashes, there could be something extremely wrong with the indoor air quality that should be checked out by a professional. 
  3. Lungs: When the chemical used in a home or business is left unaddressed, it can affect the lungs of everyone living or work inside quickly. In an extreme situation, severe health issues can develop like bronchitis or pneumonia from the airborne particles creating poor indoor air quality. 
  4. Environment: When there is an increase in family members or employees with health issues, it is time to have the indoor air quality checked and take the steps needed to improve the environment.  
  5. Improvements or Repairs: If there are improvements or repairs going on inside your home or business, like flooring, painting, or even new furniture being brought in, they can have an effect on the indoor air quality. There are chemicals in all of these things and the particles from them collect in the HVAC system and are circulated throughout the home or office,  causing a negative effect. Your home or business’s indoor air quality and HVAC systems are intricately connected and should be watched. 
  6. Air Distribution: Another issue that can cause poor indoor air quality are inconsistencies throughout your home or business. When the air is cold in area and warm in another, then the air from your HVAC system isn’t being distributed evenly. Have the HVAC system inspected and attended to by a professional contractor and the air duct system professionally cleaned will usually eliminate this problem. 

What is acceptable indoor air quality?

From smoking to vehicle exhaust, the  sources of things that have an effect on our indoor air quality, like NO2, PM2.5, and  VOCs.  While the government can put limits and standards on businesses to maintain healthier indoor air quality, there isn’t much they can do for private residences.  Some of the limits imposed to create acceptable indoor air quality are: 

  • PM2.5: A particulate matter has a threshold limit of 25 μg/m3.
  • CO: This colorless and odorless lethal gas, CO, (carbon monoxide) has an exposure recommendation of  35 ppm.
  • CO2: A natural airborne compound has an average of 300 to 400ppm of outdoor concentration and an occupational limit of 5,000 ppm TLV-TWA, 30,000 ppm TLV-STEL.
  • Radon: This radioactive gas is created from the decay of Uranium is carcinogenic with no safe exposure levels, but the EPA has set the level at 4 pCi/L.
  • PAHs: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons contains organic compounds that are semi-volatile  with a threshold limit of 10 ppm.
  • Formaldehyde: A common VOC that emits from cooking, furniture, and incense burning, has a threshold limit of 0.1 ppm TLV-TWA, 0.3 ppm TLV-STEL.
  • Methylene chloride or dichloromethane: Both are found in solvents and has a threshold of 250 ppm with warning that exposure for a long-term and central nervous system problems are related.
  • Nitrogen dioxide: (NO2) has a one hour standard of 100 ppb limit.

Who regulates indoor air quality?

While the outdoor air quality is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, they have no governing over the indoor air quality. However, what they do to help with indoor air quality is advise the public and businesses on what affects it and how it can be improved. The EPA also governs the chemicals and other factors that make up the things that are used inside homes and businesses, such as carpeting, paint, and more.  

clean air filter

What are the four most dangerous indoor air pollutants?

Construction materials, furnishings and other materials or products release pollutants on a continuous basis, creating poor indoor quality. Add activities like cleaning,  hobbies, redecorating, or smoking, and the indoor air quality goes down more.  Appliances that are malfunctioning or unvented, improper use of products add to the degrading of indoor air quality. Four pollutants that are found in these things are: 

  • Asbestos.
  • Carbon Monoxide 
  • Nitrogen Dioxide 
  • Radon 

After reading this piece, you may wonder when it comes to indoor air quality vs outdoor, is the indoor air better? Surprising, telling somebody to go outside and get some fresh air is good advice. The indoor air quality is more often worse than the outdoor air, which could be in part due to the EPA guidelines on the things they have control over. Call 817-244-2511 today for your indoor air quality testing in Fort Worth, TX.