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Air Conditioning Tips and Advice

Air Conditioning Tips and Advice (98)

Thursday, 07 May 2015 13:14

Solutions For Uneven Cooling in the Home

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It's not uncommon for homeowners to tell us that their living room is perfectly comfortable while their bedroom is always too warm. If you have noticed that some rooms in your home are too warm while other rooms are comfortable, there are several things to check.
  • Ensure that air vents are not blocked by furniture or other objects
  • A central cooling system works best if all vents are open and doors are open to allow air to circulate evenly
  • Check the air ducts for excessive dirt and debris. If necessary, have the ducts professionally cleaned to restore airflow.
  • Your home should be properly insulated to prevent cool air from escaping. Inadequate insulation in your attic is a priary cause uneven cooling problems.
  • Install ceiling fans. Many times the solution to uneven cooling is just inadequate air circulation, especially in rooms with high ceilings.
  • Air duct leaks. It's not uncommon for air ducts to have significant gaps and holes that can let air escape. Taping the gaps or having professional duct sealing performed will help the conditioned air reach the farthest reaches of the home more easily. 
Have questions about air conditioning? Give ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call, we're here to help.

Most new air conditioners built within the last 5 years are designed to operate very quietly. When you hear unusual noises, it is usually the result of a lack of maintenance or a sign that a part has worn out and is about to fail. By being aware of these noises you can address the small problems before they leads to a breakdown.

When your air conditioner is working normally it will often make some noises. Subtle thumping and whining sounds are normal. By becoming familiar with the normal operating sounds that an air conditioner makes, you will be able to more easily recognize unusual sounds that could be cause for concern.

Malfunctioning Air Conditioner Noises

Air conditioners have many parts; there are fans, hoses, belts, compressor motors, coils and other components that work together to move cool air throughout your home. As air conditioners age belt often become loose, leading to thumping sounds. A clogged air filter reduces air flow and can cause the unit to whine as it cycles on or off. Loose hardware on compressor parts can lead to rattling sounds.

Preventative maintenance is the best way to minimize the likelihood of air conditioner repairs. An AC tune-up includes the following steps that keep your air conditioner operating quietly and reliably:
  • Inspection and lubrication of all moving parts
  • Inspection and replacement of worn belts and hoses
  • Replacement of dirty air filters
  • Ensuring that the unit cycles on and off properly
  • Inspection of electrical connections
  • Inspection of refrigerant levels
Have questions about your air conditioner? Need to schedule an AC tune-up? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning today.




Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:34

The Smart Thermostat Revolution

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Mobile technology has connected virtually every aspect of our lives and put a world of information at our fingertips. As our homes are becoming more and more connected, the thermostat is also become more hi-tech and capable. But how do the new smart thermostats work, and are they a good investment that will save you money?

Traditional thermostats adjust the indoor air temperature by working as a simple control input for a home's heating and cooling system. You simply set the temperature and the device keeps your home within that range near the thermostat's physical location.

With the arrival of programmable thermostats homeowners could tailor the temperature of their home by programming the thermostat to turn on and off based on the day and time when the house would be occupied. This meant the heating or cooling system could be off when you were away from home.

Today's "smart" thermostats take the programmable thermostats to the next level by learning a household's routine and allowing hoeowners to monitor and change the temperature remotely using mobile applications. They can also provide real time feedback on energy consumption, weather forecasts and even adapt the temperature based on conditions like humidity levels.

The Nest Thermostat

One of the first smart thermostats to market was The Nest thermostat. It combines sleek design with a bright full color display to provide homeowners with useful information, combined with convenient remote apps designed to help cut energy consumption. The Nest is a learning thermostat that senses if a home is occupied, whether the air is suddenly getting humid, and other factors that allow it to custom tailor the indoor environment.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Honeywell's Smart Thermostat offers convenience and style, letting you monitor your home's temperature and the weather. It features:
  • Simple set-up that adjusts temperatures to fit your daily life. Onscreen Help" button answers questions as you go
  • Know about extreme indoor temperatures. Stay up-to-date on local weather conditions.
  • Smart Response gives you the right temperature at the right time
  • Choose a color scheme that blends with your home's decor or adds contrast
  • Free app with no monthly fee
  • Simple set-up with one touch weather and smart alerts
Have questions about thermostats or other air conditioning systems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
The evaporator coil's job as part of the home's cooling system is to perform heat transfer by drawing out heat and moisture. The evaporator coil is located indoors and is either installed with your furnace or as part of an air handler. The inside of the coil contains refrigerant that evaporates as it absorbs heat from the indoor air that is blown across it it by a fan. The coil works as a “heat exchanger,” working as part of the heating system in the winter and the cooling system in the summer.

Maintaining the Air Conditioner Coil

A dirty indoor coil lowers the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system. Indoor coils often become dirty over time because they’re usually difficult to access. To keep your air conditioner operating at peak performance, your evaporator coil should be cleaned annually by a professional HVAC technician.

Have questions about your air conditioner? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.

Thursday, 09 April 2015 00:54

6 Solutions For Uneven Cooling in the Home

Written by
It's not uncommon for homeowners to tell us that their living room is perfectly comfortable while their bedroom is always too warm. If you have noticed that some rooms in your home are too warm while other rooms are comfortable, there are several things to check.
  • Ensure that air vents are not blocked by furniture or other objects
  • A central cooling system works best if all vents are open and doors are open to allow air to circulate evenly
  • Check the air ducts for excessive dirt and debris. If necessary, have the ducts professionally cleaned to restore airflow.
  • Your home should be properly insulated to prevent cool air from escaping. Inadequate insulation in your attic is a primary cause uneven cooling problems.
  • Install ceiling fans. Many times the solution to uneven cooling is just inadequate air circulation, especially in rooms with high ceilings.
  • Air duct leaks. It's not uncommon for air ducts to have significant gaps and holes that can let air escape. Taping the gaps or having professional duct sealing performed will help the conditioned air reach the farthest reaches of the home more easily.
Have questions about air conditioning? Give ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call, we're here to help.

Air conditioner problems typically fall under three categories:

1. The Air Conditioner Isn't Cooling Properly
When the unit is cooling properly the most common reasons are:
  • The refrigerant level is low or is leaking. A technician should repair the leak and recharge the unit
  • The Thermostat could be out of adjustment or is not located correctly in the room
2. The Air Conditioner Isn't Turning On
  • First, check the circuit breaker to see it the unit's electrical circuit has tripped and needs to be reset
  • If the air conditioner still won't turn on it could be from electrical controls that run the fan and compressor have worn out and need replacement. Have an HVAC specialist inspect the unit
3. There Is Insufficient Airflow
  • The most likely cause is a dirty furnace air filter that is restricting airflow
  • The air ducts may be leaking or clogged. Air duct cleaning and duct sealing can dramatically improve airflow and cooling efficiency
Need help solving your central air conditioner problems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.

For more air conditioner tips and advice, visit energy.gov


When a new central air conditioner is installed in a home one of the most important tasks the HVAC technician performs is matching the size of the unit to the amount of air being conditioned. If the unit is too large for the home, problems can occur.

Some of the symptoms of an air conditioning system that is sized too large for the house include the inability of the unit to adequately dehumidify the home and powering on and off too frequently. This occurs because an overly large system will cool the air so quickly that not enough humid air is allowed to flow over the cooling coil to remove the moisture from the air. The thermostat quickly reaches the set temperature and shuts off, leaving too much humidity in the air. The only practical solution is to install a properly sized condensing unit and coils.

Have questions about your home's central air conditioner? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.


How Much Can You Save With An Annual Tune-Up of Your Home's Air Conditioner?

Air Conditioner Maintenance ChicagoEvery 3,000 miles I take my car over to the neighborhood car dealer to have the oil changed and routine maintenance performed.  As I was waiting for my car to be serviced, I thought to myself “Do I really need to have my car serviced this often?”  Then it occurred to me that my customers probably wonder the same thing about their annual home air conditioner tune-up. How many of my customers, friends and neighbors even bother to have their air conditioning unit tune up?

To find out, I checked with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, other HVAC trade organizations and fellow heating and cooling companies. With a little research (thank you Internet!), I found over 55% of homeowners don’t schedule regular maintenance on their home air conditioning system – yet over half of all AC users express “dissatisfaction with the performance of their air conditioner and its cost to operate.”

So…55% of homeowners don’t get their AC tune up and their not happy with their Air Conditioning unit's performance?  

Here are some additional air conditioning maintenance facts I found:

  1. According to several studies 9 out of every 10 Air conditioning breakdowns occur due to nothing more than “a dirty unit.”
  2. According to a 2001 Louisiana State University study, the average homeowner spends $32.76 more a month on their energy bills by not have their heating and cooling unit maintained.
  3. Your Air Conditioning life span will be significantly reduced without maintaining your AC.



So how much can you save with an annual tune up of your home’s air conditioner?  Just like with your oil change, a lot more than a couple bucks.  Now when I go to have my oil changed, I will have a greater appreciation for the efforts I am taking to increase my car’s performance.  

Look for more information on this topic in our next blog where we will continue the discussion and address the local impact on the Chicago area.

Every 3,000 miles I take my car over to the neighborhood car dealer to have the oil changed and routine maintenance performed.  As I was waiting for my car to be serviced, I thought to myself “Do I really need to have my car serviced this often?”  Then it occurred to me that my customers probably wonder the same thing about their annual home air conditioner tune-up. How many of my customers, friends and neighbors even bother to have their air conditioning unit tune up?

To find out, I checked with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, other HVAC trade organizations and fellow heating and cooling companies. With a little research (thank you Internet!), I found over 55% of homeowners don’t schedule regular maintenance on their home air conditioning system – yet over half of all AC users express “dissatisfaction with the performance of their air conditioner and its cost to operate.”

So…55% of homeowners don’t get their AC tune up and their not happy with their Air Conditioning unit's performance?  

Here are some additional air conditioning maintenance facts I found:

  1. According to several studies 9 out of every 10 Air conditioning breakdowns occur due to nothing more than “a dirty unit.”
  2. According to a 2001 Louisiana State University study, the average homeowner spends $32.76 more a month on their energy bills by not have their heating and cooling unit maintained.
  3. Your Air Conditioning life span will be significantly reduced without maintaining your AC.


So how much can you save with an annual tune up of your home’s air conditioner?  Just like with your oil change, a lot more than a couple bucks.  Now when I go to have my oil changed, I will have a greater appreciation for the efforts I am taking to increase my car’s performance.  


Your home's air duct system serves to distribute cooled air throughout the home. A series of metal or composite tubes branch out from the supply room and exit through room vents, delivering air from the air conditioner throughout the living space.

Here are some common terms used to describe the home air duct system, or air delivery system.

HVAC: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

Supply: The air ducts that send heated or cooled air to rooms and out through registers (also called vents).

Supply Register: Vent units in walls, floors, or ceilings where the conditioned air blows out.

Air handler: The unit that moves the air through the heating and cooling system.

Return Register: An opening that draws the air back through through to the air handler to be heated or cooled again.


Have questions about your home's cooling system? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
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