Category Archives: Air Conditioning

Everything you need to know about air conditioning, like the benefits of ductless mini splits and how old ductwork can raise your air conditioning costs.

If you need service, visit our air conditioning repair and installation page or just give us a call.

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Pros and Cons of a Ductless Wall Mounted Air Conditioner

Pros and Cons of a Ductless Wall Mounted Air Conditioner

Ductless wall mounted air conditioners (also called mini-split systems or heat pumps) have been extremely popular in Japan and China for decades, mainly because they are highly efficient at cooling off small spaces without wasting energy. Recently, ductless wall mounted air conditioners have gained popularity in the United States, namely for their energy efficiency. If you’re considering a new air conditioner, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of a ductless wall mounted air conditioner.

Pros of a Ductless Wall Mounted Air Conditioner

  1. Lower lifetime costs. Ductless wall mounted air conditioners allow you to cool just the rooms that you are using at the time, rather than worrying about the entire house. This allows you to cut down utility bills drastically.
  2. Versatile application. Because no ductwork is required, ductless AC systems are great for all sorts of buildings, including offices, apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes.
  3. Easy installation. While installation time depends on how many indoor units you need, the process is generally less invasive (and quicker) than installing a traditional air conditioner and corresponding ductwork.
  4. Improved air quality. Because you don’t have to worry about dirty ductwork, you can quickly experience better indoor air quality with your ductless wall mounted air conditioning system.
  5. Energy efficient. This is probably the most important feature of the ductless wall mounted AC system. Not only are you saving money, but you’re also helping the environment by consuming less energy and leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

Cons of a Ductless Wall Mounted Air Conditioner

  1. Initial cost. Ductless wall mounted air conditioners might cost you a bit more cash up front to install – especially if you need more than one unit for your home.
  2. Maintenance costs. Since ductless ACs are relatively new technology in the U.S., they require more specialized service. This could mean more expensive maintenance costs over the years, especially if your unit breaks down.
  3. Location is tricky. You’ll need a professional HVAC technician to advise you on the proper location for your ductless wall mounted air conditioner, since placing your ductless wall mounted AC unit in the wrong spot can render it virtually useless.
  4. Aesthetic appeal. Quite simply, some homeowners prefer the unobtrusive look of a traditional HVAC system, as opposed to the visible air handlers required by a ductless wall mounted AC system.
  5. Big home = more required units. Ductless wall mounted air conditioners are designed to cool off specific areas or zones. If you have a large house or building, you’ll need one unit for each zone. While this gives you more control, it also means more installation costs and more maintenance costs.

Ductless Wall Mounted Air Conditioners: the Verdict

In sum, whether or not you get a ductless wall mounted air conditioner depends on the size of your home, how much you are willing to spend on initial installation fees, and whether or not energy efficiency is important to you. We’ve heard many great things about ductless AC units, and it all depends on what exactly the customer is looking for and willing to spend.  If you are ever in need of air conditioning repair and installation in San Diego give us a call today.

Do you have a ductless wall mounted air conditioner in your home? Then we want to hear from you. Share your thoughts and opinions below.

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Effects of Humidity on Your Indoor AC

Effects of Humidity on Your Indoor AC

As the summer months move into view, many of our San Diego customers are wondering about the effects of humidity on their indoor AC units. Because San Diego is near the ocean and we are in the midst of an El Niño season, humidity levels will likely be slightly higher than normal this summer. It’s best to know beforehand what effect humidity will have on your air conditioner and how you can best notice (and prevent) them.

  1. Your AC Bill Spikes

One big effect of humidity on your air conditioner is that your AC bill will spike. Why? This is because your AC will try harder to remove the increased moisture in your air, resulting in higher cooling bills. Your wallet might not be very happy about this, and your AC will suffer as well.

  1. Your Home Never Feels Cool

Another unfortunate effect of humidity on your indoor AC is that, although your AC is working harder and constantly turned on, your home will never feel quite cool enough. This is because at some point, your AC just won’t be able to keep up with the humidity. While your AC can remove some moisture from the air, it just can’t remove it all. This means that your indoor air will have more moisture, leading to the feeling of higher indoor air temperatures even with the AC at full blast.

  1. Your Indoor AC System Gets Overworked

You might have noticed a common theme here – your AC gets drastically overworked as your indoor humidity levels rise. This leads to excessive wear and tear on your AC, and could lead to a full-system breakdown if you don’t keep a good eye on your unit. Rather than cranking up the AC when you notice increased humidity levels, you should try another strategy to prevent high indoor air humidity in the first place.

Signs of High Indoor Humidity

Alright, so you suspect that you have high indoor humidity levels. But how can you tell for sure? Here are a few tell-tale signs of high indoor air humidity.

  • A musty smell. Humidity means moisture, which also means an increased chance of mildew or mold growth in your home.
  • Windows that fog easily. As your indoor humidity builds up, the water vapors cling to your windows and fog them up easily.
  • Your skin feels wet or clammy. This unpleasant feeling is one of the major complaints we hear about humid weather.

How to Combat High Indoor Humidity

  • Get a standalone dehumidifier. These can be purchased from a variety of department stores for $100-300 depending on your needs.
  • Install a dehumidifier on your central AC. If you want a more permanent solution, you can as your local HVAC technician about installing a dehumidifier on your central AC itself.

Invest in a Yearly AC Tune-up

If you suffer from high indoor air humidity, then it’s important to understand the importance of a yearly AC tune-up. This will help to combat the effects of humidity on your indoor AC, as well as allows your HVAC technician to spot any other underlying issues before they become disastrous. Annual AC tune-ups in San Diego are usually inexpensive and a great way to prolong the life of your air conditioner.  Give us a call for any San Diego HVAC needs.

 

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Is My Air Conditioner Causing an Allergy Cough?

Why is My Air Conditioner Causing an Allergy Cough?

Air Conditioning cost reduction in San DiegoAllergies are no fun. They’re less fun when you experience them indoors – a place that you would usually expect to be safe from the allergy-inducing pollens and dander of the outside world. If you’re sneezing, coughing, and hacking away, you might be wondering: “Is my air conditioner causing an allergy cough?”

The short answer? Possibly.

If you are experiencing an allergy-related cough indoors when your air conditioner is running, it’s time to find out the source of the issue.

Check Your Air Filter

Got a nasty allergy cough from your air conditioner? The first step, and perhaps the most obvious, is to check your air filter. When your air filter becomes overladen with dust and microparticles, it is no longer performing its function – to catch allergy-causing parfurnace maintenance in San Diego by My Plumber CAticles in your indoor air.

Your AC air filter should be changed every three months – at the least. Change your air filter every month if you feel that your air conditioner is causing an allergy cough. This will ensure that you have optimum indoor air quality and no nasty coughing fits.

Check Your Air Ducts

Checked your air filter and still no luck? Then it’s time to check your air ducts. If any moisture or debris has gotten into your ductwork, it can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Invest in duct cleaning for your home at least once every 10 years or so.

Duct cleaning not only removes allergens from your home, but it also increases your AC’s efficiency. Many professional HVAC techs will also perform a leak inspection when they clean out your ducts, which can improve efficiency even more.

Check for Mold or Fungus

If you suspect that your air conditioner is causing an allergy cough, it’s important to check for mold, mildew, or fungus in your home. If you’ve experienced a leak or toilet overflow, make sure that the surrounding floor and carpet are not damp, smelly, or discolored. If they are, they are likely a breeding ground for mold and subsequent mold spores.

Despite having changed your air filter and cleaned your air ducts, every time your ac turns on it will stir up air – and those nasty mold spores. Have a professional disinfect the area and remove or replace any mold-infested carpet or drywall ASAP.  And give My Plumber CA a call for any air conditioner repair needs.

Why You Need an AC Tune Up Each Year

Your air conditioner is probably the most important piece of machinery in your home. If you’re not convinced, just think about how you’d feel if your AC unit puttered out on the hottest day of the summer. Opening windows and turning on fans just won’t cut it. You’ll be sweating and miserable in no time.

To make sure your air conditioner is humming all season long, you need to get it serviced each year. A San Diego AC tune up will make sure that everything is working properly, the air filter and condenser coils are cleaned, and the refrigerant is at a healthy level.

Even small problems with your air conditioner, such as a dirty air filter, can reduce its efficiency. The unit will have to work harder, and you’ll start getting bigger energy bills. The energy savings alone will pay for the cost of the tune up and then some.

Protect Against AC Repairs

In addition to lowering your energy bills, a yearly AC tune up can protect you from potentially expensive Air Conditioner repairs or replacement. Your technician will be able to identify small issues before they become major problems, saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

San Diego Air Conditioning Tune Up, Repair, and Instal

My Plumber provides a comprehensive yet affordable tune up that will keep your air conditioner in top shape all season long. Our basic tune up includes:My Plumber CA HVAC Tech does AC Tune Up in San Diego

  • Checking the refrigerant levels and pressure
  • Checking and cleaning air filters
  • Diagnosing the source of leaks (if leaks are present)
  • Cleaning the condenser coils
  • Inspecting the fan blade
  • Measuring the temperature difference from the supply to the return

We also offer a full HVAC tune up that includes 21 points of inspection. In addition to the services provided in the basic tune up, you also get:

  • Full check up of all electrical connections
  • Complete inspection of all coils, drains and duct work
  • Full inspection of the capacitor
  • Calibration of the thermostat
  • Lubrication of all moving parts

The experienced professionals at My Plumber will make sure that your air conditioner is in fighting shape for the summer. We’ll identify any issues before they become major problems, helping you to save money and ensuring uninterrupted service all summer long for your San Diego AC.

Call us today to find out about our current specials and learn how we can save you even more money.

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Why Zoning May Not Be the Best Option for Your Home

With humidity and temperatures on the rise each summer, it’s important to stay cool and hydrated. Your home may be difficult to cool down, especially if you live in the inland or desert areas of California. Luckily air conditioning, better known by the acronym AC, allows for the ventilation of cool, clean air throughout your home with a touch of a button. Most air conditioning units allow you to control the temperature, intensity, and duration of operation. The EIA reported that air conditioning systems are present in 87% of homes in the United States alone. Certainly, AC has become a luxury many people aren’t willing to forgo.

What is Zoning?

Replacing an air filterEver since modern air conditioning systems were invented in 1902, manufacturers have attempted to modify units to be energy efficient and friendly to the environment, with relative success. The Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling amount to 40 percent of the average home’s utility costs, so energy efficient air conditioning systems will not only help the environment, but your wallet too. Some energy saving features that are present in current air conditioning systems are being able to detect when a set temperature is reached, powering off automatically to reduce energy waste, and running for a certain time period, which eliminates the problem of overuse.

A popular method that companies advertise will save you money is called zoning. Zoning involves the installation of multiple air vents and thermostats that wire to a universal control panel. The consumer can determine what rooms or zones (depending on the home’s layout and needs) receive cool air. This system may be attractive to people who feel some rooms in their home are stuffier than others and wish for more ventilation in those rooms as opposed to their entire house. For example, you may not want to waste money and energy air conditioning the guest room in your home if that room is empty. Depending on the size of your home, multiple air conditioning units may be necessary to keep up with the energy demand and delegate air to the different zones. Essentially, zoning does allow for more control over the distribution of air conditioning throughout your home, but may also require a costly installation and energy bill, if not used properly.

Zoning in on Energy Inefficiency

Woman needs more air conditioningWhile the concept of zoning is certainly a step in the right direction for energy efficiency, the way zoning is currently being implemented in homes is contradictory to the promise of energy efficiency.  The main problem with zoning is the need for multiple AC systems. Having multiple air conditioning units responsible for cooling one home is excessive and will result in a costly upfront installation fee. Furthermore, what happens if one unit breaks before the other? Do you only fix one unit or replace them both at the same time? It’s a vicious cycle of replacing and reinstalling that will eat up your wallet. Instead of adding more air conditioning units to cool your home, it may be more effective to update other areas of your home to allow better ventilation and circulation. For example, poor ductwork and insulation in your home prohibit the cool air to flow from your AC system and through your vents. In other words, the route that the cool air travels through is not adequately sealed to allow the air to flow through your vents and reach you. Updating the ductwork and insulation is usually a one-time expense that can have a major impact. An alternative to multiple units is installing adjustable vents that you may close in certain rooms. These vents will prohibit air from flowing into rooms you don’t want and allow more air to flow in the rooms you do want. Finally, something as simple as closing your blinds and windows while running your air conditioning will allow the air to stay in your home more effectively. Zoning may not be the best option for every consumer, so be sure to investigate other options before purchasing or updating your current AC system.

 

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Keep Your A/C Running Cold This Summer With a DIY A/C Checkup

It’s August, the hottest month of the year in the San Diego area. Don’t be one of the unlucky residents to suffer an air conditioning failure. Follow these few steps to make sure your A/C keeps you cool the rest of the year.

Check Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter is the number one cause poor air conditioner performance. As the filter collects dirt and debris the air flow to your unit is restricted. The evaporator coils fail to get enough circulation around them and eventually ice up. Simply changing out your filter (or cleaning it, if you have an electrostatic model) every few months will prevent this from happening.

Remove Obstructions from the Condenser Unit

Another potential reason for poor air circulation in your outdoor condenser unit is exterior obstruction. This could be debris that has blown in against the unit, items like pallets leaned up against it or even vegetation growth surrounding the unit. Make sure that the area surrounding your unit is clear so it is able to get the air it needs to prevent coil freeze and poor overall performance.

Clean the Condenser

Dust and dirt can build up on the coils and fins of your condenser. This problem can be quickly remedied with a wet rag, some cleaning solution and garden hose. Disconnect the power to your A/C unit by switching it off at the breaker. Using a commercial air conditioner cleaner – available from us – spray the coils. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then rinse it down with your hose. Wipe the coils and fins gently with a clean rag to remove any remaining dirt. Let the unit dry and then turn the power back on at the breaker.

Get an A/C Check-Up

Electricity isn’t getting any cheaper. The best way to make sure your unit is running efficiently and cooling you without breaking the back is to have an annual AC service checkup. It’s never too late to make sure that you have the proper refrigerant levels and your unit is working at its peak. The A/C checkup will also identify small issues with your system before they balloon into expensive fixes.

Prevent AC failure by taking a few small steps now to ensure a cool and relaxing summer!

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The Ductless Mini Split – Heating and Cooling for the 21st Century

If you are looking for a way to bring your heating and cooling into the 21st century, the ductless mini split might be exactly what you are looking for. It is a great solution for those of you who are putting on additions or looking for a way to turn a sun room into a year round paradise.

What is a Ductless Mini Split?

A ductless mini split system is composed of both an outdoor compressor and condenser system and one or more indoor evaporator and blower units. The indoor units may be mounted on any wall or in the ceiling. There are even hidden units available that fit in seamlessly with your décor.

How is it different than a window or portable air conditioner?

Mini splits don’t have to be mounted inside a window casing or through an exterior wall. They can be mounted anywhere within the living space. Additionally, because the compressor is located outdoors, the mini split is much quieter than a window or portable air conditioning system.

Why is it better than a central air system?

Most central air units are set to cool an entire home. Unless you have a zoned system, ductless mini splits are the best way to condition individual portions of the home as needed. Multiple indoor blower units allow you to only cool the areas that are occupied and not waste cooling power on vacant spaces.
Ductless systems also save energy by putting the cooling source directly in the room instead of in a centralized location. Up to 30% of all cooling energy can be lost in the ductwork of a traditional system. This waste is eliminated in the ductless system. This has made it possible for some ductless units to achieve SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) values of 27 and higher, making them some of the most efficient HVAC options available.

Do I Need an Inverter System?

Units with an inverter system run a variable speed motor. This allows them to deliver cooling at the rate necessary for the conditioned area. This can lead to a saving of up to 30% over older units without an inverter system. Inverters aren’t necessary, but they will lower your cooling bill significantly while also keeping the humidity in your home at a comfortable level.

What About Air Filtration?

One of the first questions we get about ductless systems is “where is the air filter?” The answer – there is an ion filer in each blower unit. These ion filters are similar to those on window air conditioners and remove odors, pollen, dust and dander just like traditional filters.

Can a Ductless Mini Split Be Used for Heating?

Since it doesn’t get too cold here in San Diego, units with electric heaters are often the mini splits of choice. There are also heat pumps that work with mini split systems. These forced air systems are often used instead of older baseboard heaters in the area.

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Summer Air Conditioning Costs Too High – Old Ductwork Could Be Blowing It For You

How old is your ductwork? No, really, it’s important to know. If your ducts were installed before energy efficiency was a key concern for home buyers (mid 1990s), your ducts could be leaking live a sieve. Ductwork used to be tossed in at the last minute and secured into place with a few metal screws. You’d be lucky if they met minimum building code. This fast and cheap builder mantra could be costing you hundreds of dollars every year.

With Old Ductwork Failure is an Option

Your cheap, old ductwork may be starting to fail if it even worked right in the first place. Your ducts could be rusting out, have significant air leaks, or a complete run may have already fallen and disconnected from main system. This is because the metal joints were often held together with six hex-head screws. That’s it. If you were lucky you got some duct tape to seal around the joints. Duct tape, by design, is only meant to hold ducts in place temporarily because repeated heating and cooling makes it brittle. A good duct tape will last about 5 years.

The point here is that you probably are losing a lot of heating and cooling efficiency behind your walls – maybe up to 30 percent. You’re paying to condition the spaces behind your walls and under your feet. In addition, unfiltered air is getting sucked back into the ductwork when your system shuts off. The negative air pressure created when the fan shuts off draws in dust, debris, insulation and chemicals into your system that are then pushed into your living areas when the unit kicks back on. We’d like to help you fix that.

Let’s Inspect Your Ductwork

First, there needs to be a visual inspection of your ductwork to make sure there are no major areas of concern. This is the place you’ll find disconnected duct runs, potential blockages and other problems. We suggest checking the attic and crawlspaces that are hard to access. These will be the places that the construction crew was likely to hurry through. Look for peeling duct tape, dust lines around joints and any areas of rust. If you don’t find any of those, congratulations! If you did, you’ll probably need to get a professional to fix it the right way.

Smaller leaks are harder to find, but easier to fix. Here’s a professional trick. Get yourself a smoke candle or incense stick and turn on the blower fan at your thermostat. Run the smoke candle along the joints. Any small leaks will become immediately visible. Aluminum backed tape can be used to seal these leaks – fast and affordable.

Once you’ve sealed up the leaks that you can find, do this last thing – check the airflow in each of your rooms. If you don’t have air movement somewhere, or the temperature is significantly different in one area, you could have a leak behind the walls where you can’t get to it. This is another time the professionals have the right tool for the job. We can run a video snake through the ductwork and see what is going on. We can also schedule a blower test to check for high pressure leaks in your system and clear them up as well.

Time for the Air Conditioner?

With such a warm winter, we can only expect a hot spring and summer. Today, with the temperature approaching 80 degrees, we’ve had many calls from people eager to turn on their air conditioners for the first time in many months. But, before you do, we recommend that you check a couple of things first:

  • Remove the cover. Cut back any old bushes near the unit and clean off any accumulated leaves.
  • Replace your air filters. A dirty filter means that dirt is sifting through the system and into your home, causing your system to run inefficiently.
  • Check your thermostat before using the system. You can do this by setting the system to auto-cool and lowering the thermostat setting to one degree lower than the actual temperature in the room. If the system turns on, the thermostat is working properly. Let it run for a few hours to make sure it remains consistent.
  • Check for Water Leaks .Your condensate overflow drain should work properly. Be sure to check for any potential leaks during the first 48 hours of operation. Small leaks now mean expensive problems later.

If you notice any problems, give My Plumber Heating & Air a call TODAY!  We can perform a Spring Tune-Up inspection to ensure that your air conditioner is ready for when you need it.

A Question About Our Service

A gentleman from Accokeek Md. recently wrote to us and asked:

I am unhappy with the company that I currently have a heating and A/C repair contract with. I was wondering if you offered contracts that for an annual fee provided a heating inspection in the fall and an A/C inspection in the spring and provided a reduced cost for repairs. We have been with the same company for 8 years however the technicians they have been providing have been doing substandard work of late that resulted in our system failing 2 weeks after the inspection 3 times in a row, all due to missing problems. We are looking for a new and reliable company to provide all services for our systems.


Our Answer

Sir, we have the kind of program you are asking about, with some pretty incredible side benefits.Our Priority Club offers three preventive checks a year, one for each of your systems (heating, cooling and plumbing) in addition to a fantastic bundle of services and perks available only to you, as a Priority Club member.

Some of these services include:

  • Extended Same Day Service Hours – Call before 2PM Monday – Friday and before 10AM Saturday and Sunday
  • Waive the Plumbing Dispatch Fee
  • Double your Discounts, up to $200
  • Concierge Service! Each member gets a concierge phone number to call, and receive Priority service
  • Over $2,200 in Coupon Savings – available only to Priority Club members

You can look at our Priority Club online at our website. The address is here and if you have any questions our customer service agents will be happy to help you at 1-866-469-7586