5 Ways to Prepare Your AC for Summer

Your air conditioner will likely work when you turn it on for the first time in months, but that doesn’t mean you should do nothing and leave it be. When your air conditioner sits for months, dust and debris collect and that should be cleared before it runs consistently. This ensures the unit runs at peak efficiency, prevents unnecessary repairs, and extends the lifespan of the unit.

Below are 5 ways to prepare your air conditioner for summer. If you aren’t comfortable taking care of any of these steps or need some extra guidance, always call a professional!

1. Safety First

Before you do anything, make sure to cut the power to the air conditioner. This ensures the unit does not turn on when you’re working on it, keeping you and the unit safe. Most air conditioners have a switch near the outdoor unit, usually in a metal box.

2. Clean or Replace the Filters

At an absolute minimum, your AC filter needs to be changed before the summer season. Changing your filter before the season will undoubtedly lower your energy bill. These filters are very inexpensive and could be saving you hundreds of dollars per season. In addition, changing your filters on a regular basis prolongs the lifespan of your system, prevents breakdowns, and keeps your AC unit and vents clean.

3. Clean and Clear Debris

While our winters are quite mild here in Aurora, Colorado, it is inevitable our outdoor units will accumulate leaves, dust and debris throughout Winter. It is very important you clear any debris that may get into the unit. You can spray the sides of the unit and the area around the unit with a hose, wipe the fan blades with a damp rag, and vacuum the coils with a vacuum brush attachment. This simple step will keep your unit running efficiently and help prevent a freeze-up.

4. Program your Thermostat

Another great way to get your air conditioner ready for Summer is to program your thermostat beyond simply setting the temperature. It’s best to set the temperature a few degrees higher during the day, helping your unit not work so hard to cool your home when the outdoor temperature is at its highest. Many thermostats now allow you to set an “away” temperature, which should be a few degrees higher than your “day” temperature. This can be used when you are gone for days at a time, or even during a normal weekday when no one is home.

5. Talk to a Pro

While this is not absolutely necessary, it is always a good idea to have a professional inspect, clean and tune-up your AC unit. A professional HVAC technician will ensure the unit runs at peak efficiency throughout the summer season and does not need any repairs. Even better, they can provide tips on maintaining the unit yourself.

Here in Colorado, we experience some very high temperatures and really put our air conditioners to the test. Make sure your AC unit is ready for Summer! Contact Grand Home Services online or give us a call for an AC tune-up, cleaning, or even emergency repair. We are located in Aurora and service the Denver Metro Area.

5 AC Problems Caused by a Dirty Filter

We are sure you’ve heard it before: change your AC unit filter on a regular basis! After all, it’s a quick and inexpensive task, but many don’t quite understand how important a clean filter is for your entire system.

Simply put, a dirty AC filter inhibits your air conditioner from doing its one job. If left long enough, a dirty filter will wreak havoc on your AC unit and cause system breakdowns and expensive repairs that could have been avoided. Below we walk through 5 very common AC problems caused by a dirty filter.

Freeze-Up

When your air conditioner’s filter fills with dust and debris, the air flowing through your unit is no longer as clean as it should be. This results in a buildup of dust on the evaporator coil which leads to the coils freezing up. Eventually the coils defrost, water leaks from the unit, and the process starts over.

If your unit experiences a freeze-up, we recommend getting an AC unit inspection and cleaning. Though the initial culprit was a dirty filter, your unit must be cleaned to fix this issue.

Short-Cycling

(new article: why does my AC keep turning on and off)

When your filter is dirty and the airflow through the unit is inhibited, your air conditioning system must work harder than normal to reach your set temperature. This overworking can cause the unit to freeze-up or overheat, both of which can force your unit to shut off prematurely and short-cycle.

Higher Utility Bill

A dirty filter restricts the airflow through the unit causing your unit to overwork to reach your desired temperature. This will cause your AC unit to run more often and longer than necessary, raising your monthly utility bill.

Shorter Lifespan

When a manufacturer provides the typical lifespan of their AC unit, this comes with the expectation that the unit is properly maintained. An overworked, poorly maintained unit is bound to have a shorter lifespan. If you neglect to change your AC filter, your unit must work harder than necessary, increasing wear and tear. Even worse, dust and debris can cause a system failure, forcing you to buy a new AC unit.

Failed Compressor

One of the most expensive repairs your AC unit might require is a compressor replacement. When your unit is dirty, your compressor is taking the brunt of the extra workload. This will eventually lead to the compressor overheating and failing, requiring a replacement. Due to the cost, many HVAC contractors recommend replacing the entire AC unit. Many times, this expensive repair can be avoided with a cheap filter replacement!

 

Not sure what filter you need or how often you should be replacing your filter? Check out our articles below. Always refer to your AC unit’s manufacturer recommendations and speak with an HVAC professional if you have questions.

https://grandhomeservicesllc.com/the-4-types-of-hvac-filters/

https://grandhomeservicesllc.com/how-often-should-i-replace-my-air-filters/

 

In need of an AC unit inspection, cleaning, repair, replacement, or just have a question? Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado provides air conditioning services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us or contact us online today!

Why Does My AC Keep Turning On and Off?

 

 

If your air conditioner is switching on and off more than usual, it is important you get it fixed as soon as possible. An AC unit repeatedly switching on and off will raise your monthly bill, cause extra wear and tear on the unit itself, shorten the lifespan of the unit and create the need for more repairs.

Fortunately, the cause of a short-cycling AC unit is often a quick fix. Below are the most common reasons your air conditioner constantly turns on and off, a few of which you can check and even fix yourself. When in doubt, call a professional!

1. Thermostat Problems

One of the most common culprits to a short-cycling AC unit is a faulty thermostat. Your thermostat is in charge of telling your air conditioner when to run, so if your AC unit is turning on and off more than usual, always check the thermostat first. The issue could be electrical, meaning the thermostat is wired improperly or needs new batteries. It could also be due to poor thermostat placement. Your thermostat should be placed somewhere where it will get the best possible temperature reading. If it is near a window, warm room, or air vent, the thermostat is receiving an inaccurate reading.

2. Dirty Filter

Another common culprit with a simple fix is a dirty filter. A dirty filter restricts airflow which makes the AC unit work harder to reach your desired temperature. This can cause the unit to freeze-up or overheat and shut off prematurely. Make sure you change your filter as often as the AC unit manufacturer recommends. A dirty filter causes many more problems than this one!

3. Frozen Coils

If your evaporator coils are caked in dirt and debris or you have a refrigerant leak, your coils will freeze-up and cause the AC unit to shut off. Oftentimes, the AC unit will sporadically turn on and off as it attempts to regulate the pressure and reach your desired temperature. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, shut off the unit and call for a repair immediately.

4. An Oversized AC Unit

Many are surprised to learn that a larger-than-necessary air conditioner is not what you want. If your unit is too large for your square footage and climate, it will unevenly cool your home and turn on and off too frequently. A short-cycling unit uses more energy, will require more repairs, and will have a shorter lifespan, all of which cost you more money.

 

If you aren’t sure why your AC is repeatedly turning on and off, always call a professional. This short-cycling is causing unnecessary wear and tear on the unit, and it could be the result of something more serious like an electrical problem.

In need of an AC repair? Grand Home Services in Aurora provides air conditioner repair, inspection, and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us or contact us online today!

4 Common Air Conditioner Smells & How to Fix Them

Is your air conditioner releasing a bad or weird smell into your home? What does it mean, and can you fix it yourself? Below we walk through 4 common smells that might be coming from your air conditioner, what it means, and whether it is cause for concern. As with all HVAC questions or concerns, always call an HVAC technician if you are unsure!

1. Rotten Eggs

If you smell sulfur or rotten eggs, that almost always means there is a gas leak in your house. Natural gas is odorless, but gas companies add the smell so you know when there is a leak. The gas reduces oxygen levels in your body which can be fatal. It can also catch fire and explode. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your gas supply immediately and call your local fire department.

2. Burning

If you just turned on your air conditioner for the first time in several months and it smells like something is burning, this could be dust burning. Wait a few minutes to see if the smell dissipates. If it does not go away, the burning smell could be a mechanical problem and a fire hazard. Switch off the system immediately and call an HVAC technician for an emergency repair.

3. Gunpowder

The smell of gunpowder is associated with electrical odors. This odor is very distinct and should never be ignored. It is likely caused by a fried fan motor or circuit board. No matter the culprit, you will need to get your AC repaired before using it again. Switch off the system and call an HVAC technician for a repair before turning on the unit again.

4. Mold or mildew

Smelling mold or mildew when your air conditioner switches on is quite common. When your air conditioner cools the air, condensation builds up and needs somewhere to go. If your condensate drain line is clogged, this moisture has nowhere to go, allowing mold and mildew to grow in the unit and in your ductwork. Shut off your unit and check the drain line and indoor AC unit for mold and mildew. You can unclog a drain line and clean an AC unit yourself, but if you have never done this before, we recommend calling a professional.

 

There are a variety of less-common odors that can come from your AC unit, including chemical smells, exhaust, or something that just smells terrible. Always turn off your unit if you think something is wrong and call for an AC unit inspection and repair. Allowing your unit to continue to run could be damaging the unit itself and be hazardous to your health.

Need an air conditioner inspection, repair, or replacement? Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado provides these services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Contact us online or call us today!

Why is my air conditioner leaking water?

Why is your air conditioner leaking water, and what are you supposed to do? Water leaking from your AC unit can cause a lot of damage, so it’s important you address the issue and fix it as soon as possible.

When your air conditioner cools warm air, condensation builds on the evaporator coils and drips into a drip pan. This drip pan leads to a condensate drain line that drains the water outside of your home, so you should not have any water leaking inside.

As with any home appliance, sometimes something goes wrong. For air conditioners, it is not uncommon for water to be leaking from the unit. Below are 3 common culprits that cause your air conditioner to leak water inside the home and what you should do to resolve the problem.

Your filter is dirty

If your air filter is very dirty, your air conditioner will have trouble pulling air through the filter and into the unit which means less air is moving over the evaporator coils. As a result, the coils become too cold and freeze. As these frozen coils defrost, the ice melts and an unusually large amount of water drips into the pan causing it to overflow and leak into your home. Make sure to replace your filter as often as the AC unit’s manufacturer recommends.

Your unit is low on refrigerant

When your air conditioner turns on, the refrigerant starts running through the evaporator coils making them very cold. If the refrigerant is low, there is less heat being absorbed and the coils get too cold and freeze. The refrigerant runs through a closed system, so if your refrigerant is low, this means there is a leak.

This is not something you can repair yourself. You should turn off the AC unit and call for a repair immediately. If you see that the coils are frozen, keep an eye out for leaking water while it defrosts.

Your condensate drain line is clogged

As your air conditioner creates condensation during the cooling process, it drains through the condensate drain line. If this drain line gets clogged, the water has nowhere to go and will leak from the unit inside your home. A clogged drain line can be caused by a dirty filter, debris in the drain line or lack of maintenance to the unit.

You can unclog the drain line yourself by turning off the unit and using a thin wire brush to break up the clog. You can also use your wet/dry vacuum to suck out any debris or flush the drain line with distilled vinegar. If you can’t get the drain line unclogged yourself, always call an HVAC professional!

Denver Air Conditioner leaking water?

Is your Denver air conditioner leaking water? Grand Home Services has seen this problem before and is here to help you solve the problem. We are located in Aurora and provide air conditioner cleaning, repair and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us at 720-365-1187 or contact us online to schedule an AC repair in the Denver Metro Area today!

My Air Conditioner is Running but Not Cooling

Is your air conditioner running but not lowering the temperature in your home? If so, below is a list of possible culprits that you can check yourself before calling an HVAC technician. Some of these you can fix yourself, others you will need to consult a professional.

Thermostat

It might seem too simple, but always start with checking the thermostat. An adjustment could have been made without you knowing and the fix is as quick as a setting change.

Filter

A dirty filter can wreak havoc on an air conditioner. Not only will it obstruct airflow, but it will inhibit the unit from doing its only job and not clean the air before it runs through the unit. This will make the rest of the components dirty and could cause your coils to freeze. If your filter is dirty, replace it or clean it and test your air conditioner.

Evaporator coil

The evaporator coil in your AC unit absorbs the heat and any humidity evaporates from these coils. Sometimes this humidity accumulates and freezes on the coils. As mentioned above, frozen coils could be caused by a dirty filter, but that is not always the case. If your AC is running but not cooling the air, turn off the unit and check to see if the coils are frozen. If so, you will need to call an HVAC technician for a repair.

Condenser

Central air conditioners have an outdoor unit called a condenser. The condenser contains coils with closely spaced fins, making it easy for dirt and debris to build up and clog the coils. This will cause your unit to work much harder than usual to cool your home, and—if it’s bad enough—inhibit the unit from creating cold air and possibly shutdown. You can gently clean the condenser yourself with a vacuum or hose. If your air conditioner is still struggling to create cool air, call an HVAC professional.

Leaking Refrigerant

In order for the refrigerant in your air conditioner to absorb heat and cool the air, it transitions from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid and back to a low-pressure gas. If there is a refrigerant leak or the refrigerant is too low, this causes a drop in pressure allowing the refrigerant to expand more than usual and become too cold, resulting in a freeze-up and your unit will not be able to create cool air. If there is a refrigerant leak, an HVAC expert can help you fix this but may recommend investing in a new air conditioner.

 

Is your air conditioner running but not cooling? Grand Home Services in Aurora is here to help. We provide air conditioner maintenance, cleaning, repair, and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us or contact us online today!

Is an Annual AC Tune-Up Necessary?

You may hear your HVAC technician mention an air conditioner tune-up and wonder if it is even necessary. Air conditioners run just fine without annual tune-ups, and your unit(s) thus far have been just fine without them. So, is an AC tune-up really necessary?

The short answer is no—AC tune-ups are not absolutely necessary, but they are encouraged. No, your air conditioner will not burst into flames if you do not get an annual tune-up, but if you have the means to get a tune-up annually or even every few years, we strongly recommend doing so. There’s a reason this service exists in the first place, and all reliable HVAC companies offer the service.

Here are the most important reasons annual AC tune-ups are encouraged and even exist.

Saves You Money

A tune-up ensures your unit is clean and free of necessary repairs. This ensures it runs at peak efficiency, saving you money on your monthly cooling bill. Regular tune-ups also prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner. A poorly maintained unit that only gets repairs when necessary will certainly not live as long as a unit that gets regular tune-ups.

Preventative Care

Just like going to the dentist for a cleaning, AC tune-ups are a form of preventative care. During a tune-up, HVAC technicians clean the unit, check for necessary repairs, and get your air conditioner in the best condition possible before it runs for months on end. Having a technician look at your unit before it starts running consistently will prevent a broken part from causing more problems and repairs further down the road. A tune-up could even prevent a repair altogether.

Safeguarding Your Warranty

Several popular AC manufacturers—including Lennox and Trane—make it clear you need regular maintenance by an HVAC professional to retain the warranty. Without this regular maintenance, the manufacturer has the right to deny you a part replacement, forcing you to pay for the part and service out of pocket.

 

No, AC tune-ups are not absolutely necessary, but they are sure to save you money in the long run. If you are in the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services in Aurora would be happy to provide you with an air conditioner tune-up. Click here to learn more about our tune-up service, and call us or contact us online to get started!

AC Compressor Replacement Cost in Denver

When your air conditioner needs a new part, it’s usually an easy decision: get the part replaced. Most repairs will cost less than $500, and while that’s a lot of money, it is well worth keeping your AC unit functional. That simple repair decision, however, is not the case with an AC compressor.

The AC compressor is the most expensive part in an air conditioner. Including labor, the average cost to replace an AC compressor is $2,000 to $4,000. The compressor is a significant portion of the cost of a brand-new system. When an AC compressor needs to be replaced, the real question is whether or not to replace the entire unit. Below we break down the factors that will help you decide.

Is your unit under warranty?

If your AC unit is under warranty, you shouldn’t have to pay for a compressor replacement. Many manufacturers offer a 5 or 10-year part warranty and a 1-year labor warranty, meaning all parts of the unit are covered. If you do not have a labor warranty, you have to pay for the installation, but this is not a simple part to install. When a compressor is under warranty, they only cover the compressor itself. Other services or parts are not covered, including an acid wash, a refrigerant line flush, and the refrigerant itself. You can still expect to pay a reputable contractor around $1,500 for the labor and other parts.

Is your unit more than 10 years old?

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, usually the best route to take is a completely new unit. When you replace an AC compressor in an older unit, you are still going to need to replace the unit in a few years. You will end up saving money in the long run with a completely new system.

Is your unit not under warranty and less than 10 years old?

This is the gray area where a licensed technician should help you make your decision. If your unit is not under warranty but your unit is not old, you will need to evaluate the condition and performance of the air conditioner. An expensive repair may or may not be worth it. Are your cooling bills increasing? Is the unit requiring more frequent repairs? Is the unit cooling your home as desired?

 

AC Compressor Replacement in Denver

If you need a new AC compressor in the Denver area or you would like some advice, call Grand Home Services today. We are in Aurora and provide AC replacement, installation, and repair services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us or contact us online today!

5 Common AC Noises and What They Mean

Nothing is worse than hearing a terrible noise from your air conditioner and having no idea what it means. Will it go away on its own? Should you turn off the unit and call for an emergency service? Is it something you can fix yourself?

Here are the most common air conditioner noises, what they mean, and what you should do next. When in doubt, always call an HVAC contractor. A loud and unfamiliar noise coming from your AC unit is never a good thing.

1. Screaming/Hissing

If you hear a loud, high-pitched hiss or scream coming from your air conditioner, you should shut off the unit immediately. A common culprit is a refrigerant leak or problem with the compressor. This should not be ignored as refrigerant can me harmful to your health and seriously damage your unit. If the leak is large enough, you may hear a gurgling noise as well.

2. Squealing

Just like cars, your air conditioner can make a squealing noise when the fan belt is damaged or misaligned. This does not inhibit the unit from cooling your home so you can keep your unit running if you hear this noise, but we recommend calling for a repair as soon as possible. This problem could lead to a domino effect of other repairs, so don’t wait!

3. Buzzing

A buzzing or humming noise could mean an issue with the compressor, electrical wiring, refrigerant line, or a loose part. Because the problem is not obvious, it is always best to call an HVAC contractor to take a look. Especially if it sounds less like a rattle and more like a buzz, it could be a very serious problem.

4. Clicking

It is normal to hear clicking when the AC unit starts, but if the clicking continues after startup, start by cleaning the outdoor AC compressor. There might be debris making this clicking or rattling noise. A clicking noise can also indicate a bent fan blade or an electrical issue, so if you do not feel comfortable fixing it yourself, call an HVAC technician.

5. Banging

A banging noise is usually a sure sign of a loose or broken part, oftentimes being the compressor, fan, connecting rod, piston pin or crankshaft. Sometimes the part simply needs to be tightened, other times the part will need to be replaced. We recommend calling an HVAC contractor to inspect the unit as a loose part banging around could be causing more damage.

 

If you are near us in Aurora or live anywhere in the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services would be happy to answer your questions or help you with your AC unit. Call 720-365-1187 or contact us online today!

8 Common HVAC Repair Scams

When your air conditioner or furnace stops functioning and needs repair, you put your full trust in a local HVAC contractor to fix the problem efficiently and honestly. Unfortunately there are some technicians that do not operate their business in the most ethical way.

Below are 8 of the most common HVAC repair scams that you should look out for. Click here to see the best ways you can avoid these scams.

1. Bait and switch

Dishonest HVAC companies will generate more business by making amazing offers that are hard to refuse. Once they are in the door, they will take advantage of this time to sell you on other services, or mislead you on the condition of your unit to sell you more than you expected. Whether it be a cold call offering a service you “need” or a technician offering a service that’s “free”, be weary there is a catch.

If you get a quote from an HVAC contractor that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always get a second opinion if you think the technician is scamming you.

2. Refrigerant recharge and overpayment

If your unit is short on refrigerant, it means there is a leak. Refrigerant runs through a closed system and should never run low. The “recharging” scam is a dishonest technician’s way of unnecessarily billing you for refrigerant you shouldn’t even need. The leak is the source of your problem, and your technician should tailor their service accordingly. If the technician only tops off the refrigerant, they are putting off the repair that really needs to happen and thus you will be paying for the refrigerant more than once. They will likely call you again to offer another recharge because they know you will need it.

Another popular air conditioner scam is charging for more refrigerant than you received. If you think you are being scammed, try to supervise the process. The technician should be charging you by weight, measuring the difference in the refrigerant container before and after they filled your unit.

3. R-22 is illegal

This is a very recent scam and a hard one to decipher. Some contractors are telling customers that R-22 is illegal because it is being phased out and cannot be used anymore, and this is not true. As of January 1, 2020, it is no longer legal to produce or import virgin R-22 in the United States. That does not mean R-22 refrigerant is unavailable, more expensive, or illegal. It just means systems that use R-22 will have to rely on existing stocks of virgin refrigerant or use reclaimed refrigerant, both of which are readily available.

4. Cracked heat exchanger

Furnace heat exchangers do eventually crack if not properly maintained or installed, but this also happens to be a popular furnace repair scam. If a technician says your heat exchanger is cracked and you need to get it replaced immediately, you may want to get a second opinion or ask for proof. This repair is quite expensive and you should not give the green light without seeing the crack yourself. Also ask if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide. A reliable HVAC technician will have combustion analyzers and ambient carbon monoxide meters with them.

5. Replacing parts unnecessarily

A service technician may tell you a part needs to be repaired or replaced when it is perfectly fine. If this is the case, chances are the part is very expensive and the cost of replacing the entire system is not far off from the repair cost. This includes a contractor saying you need to replace equipment just because it is old!

A big red flag is when a technician suggests you need to replace several parts. This is very rarely the case. In the vast majority of air conditioner and furnace failures, one defective part compromises the integrity of the whole unit. Though it is rare, you will see several parts fail if the unit is poorly maintained or the initial repair needed to happen a long time ago. Always get a second opinion!

6. Oversized unit

Bigger is not always better when it comes to air conditioners and furnaces. There are contractors who will push the biggest unit they have with no regard for the type of unit or size of your house/building. Units that are oversized are more expensive to install so the contractor can charge more for the job. They are also more expensive to run in the long term and will cost more in service and maintenance.

7. No price breakdown

A common scam we see here in Aurora, Colorado is contractors not giving a cost breakdown and saying the repair is very expensive, sometimes so expensive that the unit should be replaced. You should always confirm what is wrong with the unit, what needs to be replaced or repaired, and ask for the price breakdown (service fees included). An honest HVAC technician should be able to give you those numbers without question. If something does not seem right, do a little research and ask for a second opinion.

8. Upfront cash payment

No reputable HVAC company asks for payment before providing you with any services. If a repairman asks for payment up front, he or she might try to take your money and run. There is no reason for air conditioning or furnace repair companies to employ this policy unless they are hoping to get away with something.

 

Grand Home Services in Aurora has been helping homeowners and property managers throughout the Denver Metro Area for over a decade. We know an HVAC scam when we see one and we would be happy to give you a second opinion if you have any suspicions. Contact us today for all your Aurora furnace and air conditioner repair, maintenance, inspection, and installation needs!