When to Replace Your Air Conditioner – 4 Signs

Replacing an air conditioner is costly and sometimes unavoidable. Although purchasing a new AC unit is a large investment, the cost of maintaining an outdated or inadequate unit could be costing you more. So, when is it time to get a new air conditioner? Here are the most common signs it’s time to take the plunge. 

 

1. You’re Not Getting Cold Air

When you’re not getting any cool air or your air conditioner can’t keep up, there’s probably something wrong. This could be a sign of low refrigerant, a broken compressor, an incorrectly sized system, or simply an aging air conditioner. No matter the cause, if your air conditioner is not doing its job and depending on the age of the system, it could be time for a replacement. 

 

2. Your Air Conditioner Frequently Needs Repairs

When you find yourself repeatedly calling for air conditioner repairs, it may be more cost effective to replace it. This is especially true if the repairs are consistently expensive and are not covered under a home warranty. If your air conditioner is showing other signs in this article and the repair costs would cover a significant portion of a new system, it will likely make more financial sense to replace it.

 

3. Your AC Unit is More Than 15 Years Old

A well-maintained air conditioner is built to last about 15 years. If your system has made it this far, you should pat yourself on the back. Repairs become expensive when your system gets old and the unit is less efficient making your electricity bills rise. Newer model air conditioners focus on energy efficiency and the repairs tend to be minor and less expensive, saving you money rather quickly. When your older AC unit breaks down, consider it an opportunity to upgrade to a modern setup.

 

4. Your Air Conditioner is Inefficient

As mentioned above, an inefficient air conditioner usually comes with old age, but unfortunately that is not always the case. If your air conditioner has a SEER rating below 13, it means it’s costing you too much money to operate it and it may not be worth it. The SEER rating is calculated by dividing the cooling output for a typical season by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. You can calculate this rating yourself or an HVAC expert can help you. 

 

There are plenty of scenarios in which an air conditioner should be replaced. Oftentimes it saves you money in the long run, other times it’s absolutely necessary. Extending the life of your system does help, and this can be done with regular maintenance and cleaning from a professional HVAC contractor. 

If you are in Aurora or anywhere throughout the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services would love to help you with your air conditioner maintenancecleaningrepair, or replacement needs. Contact us today!

 

What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze Up?

It almost seems counter-intuitive that an air conditioner could freeze over, especially when your air conditioner is running during hot summer days. Air conditioner freeze-ups are actually quite common and there are a number of possible culprits. Below are 3 of the most common causes of an air conditioner freeze-up. 

 

Blocked Airflow

Air conditioners need to have constant airflow so humidity doesn’t settle on the coils and freeze. This humidity can even collect in dry climates like Colorado. Here are the common culprits of a lack of airflow in an air conditioner:

Dirty Filters

If your air filter is dirty and becomes clogged, airflow is restricted which disrupts your air conditioner’s functionality and increases the risk of an air conditioner freeze-up. Thankfully, air filters are inexpensive and keep your air conditioner running at peak performance, saving you money on your electricity bill. You should be changing your filter every month even if it says every three months. 

Closed or Blocked Vents

Closing or blocking too many vents in your home is a quick way to cause an AC freeze-up. If you have something in front of a return, you want at least 6 inches of space. If you decide to close some of the vents in your home, make sure they are not near your thermostat and you are only closing a few. 

A lack of airflow can also be caused by a collapsed duct, a bad blower motor, or low voltage to the fan, so if your filter is clean, you are not blocking your vents and you are still experiencing AC freeze-ups, contact an HVAC expert as soon as possible.

 

Overworking the System

This means a consistent runtime of more than two hours. Here are the two most common ways to overwork your air conditioner:

Setting the Temp Too Low

If you set your temperature too low and your air conditioner can’t keep up with the heat load, it will freeze over. You are making your air conditioner try to change the temperature of a large area too quickly, making it run longer than two hours. Make sure you lower your thermostat slowly to give your system a break, and don’t forget to rely on your other appliances like fans to cool the air as well. 

Cool Weather

For places like Denver where the Spring and Fall seasons bring warm days and cool nights, it’s not uncommon to have an AC freeze-up when your home is a lot warmer than the temperature outside. Air conditioners are designed to function in a specific temperature range. If you are running your air conditioner for more than 2 hours when the outside air is below 62 degrees, the pressure inside of your system will drop causing your air conditioner to freeze up. Try not to rely on your air conditioner when it’s cooler outside.

 

Dirty Coils

Another common cause of AC freeze-ups is a dirty air conditioner coil. Air conditioners tend to dehumidify the air, and that moisture builds up on the condenser coils. When the water builds up on clean coils, it evaporates or falls into the drip pan. If the coils are dirty, that layer of dirt and dust holds onto the water causing a freeze. Bi-annual checkups from your local HVAC professional can keep your AC’s coils clean.

 

Low/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. If there is a refrigerant leak, an HVAC expert can help you fix this but may recommend investing in a new air conditioner.

 

Though these are the most common culprits of an air conditioner freeze-up, there are a variety of other things that could cause this problem. If you are in Aurora or anywhere throughout the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services would love to help you with your air conditioner maintenance, cleaning, repair, or replacement needs. Contact us today!

 

When to Call for an Emergency Air Conditioning Repair

When your air conditioner stops working, not only does your home become uncomfortable, but it can be stressful not knowing if the system requires a minor or major repair. Knowing when you need an emergency air conditioner repair is very important and could save you money by preventing further damage.

So, what constitutes an air conditioning emergency and when should you be calling an expert for an emergency AC repair?

Your Air Conditioner Simply Doesn’t Work

Complete air conditioner breakdowns occur when you cannot get your AC unit to turn on or blow cool air. If your air conditioner isn’t working, you should immediately check your circuit breaker and your thermostat. If your AC unit is receiving power and the thermostat is set lower than the ambient temperature of your home, it’s a situation where you should call for an emergency AC repair. The longer you wait, the more uncomfortable your home will become in the summertime heat, especially in sunny Colorado.

Your Air Conditioner Is Causing Water Damage

Water can quickly spread and cause major property damage, damage to the unit itself, attract pests and even promote mold growth within 24 hours. The most common causes of water damage stemming from an air conditioner include:

  • Clogged or disconnected drain
  • Dirty condensate pump
  • Clogged air filter
  • Dirty evaporator coil
  • Cracked drain pan
  • Low refrigerant
  • Condensation buildup within ductwork

All of these problems should be addressed by your emergency AC repair contractor as soon as possible.

Your Air Conditioner Is Experiencing Electrical Issues

If you suspect there is an electrical problem, you should not wait to call a professional. Some common signs of air conditioning electrical problems are a tripped breaker, a burning smell, or a flickering/dim pilot light. Electrical issues are very serious and not something you should attempt to take care of yourself as there is a risk of a serious home electrical issue like a blackout or fire. An HVAC contractor has the experience and the technical knowledge needed to identify the problem and solve it quickly to get your air conditioner back to normal.

If you are near Grand Home Services in Aurora or anywhere in the Denver Metro Area, please give us a call. We offer 24/7 air conditioning emergency repair services.

4 Most Expensive AC Repairs and How to Avoid Them

8 Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Repair

6 Ways to Increase Furnace Efficiency

Furnace efficiency, helping your furnace last longer, and saving money all go hand in hand. Like any other machine or system, your furnace is subject to wear and tear, and the less you run it the longer it will last. If your furnace lasts longer, you won’t have to replace it as often.

Here are 6 simple tips to increase furnace efficiency. For tips on how to increase air conditioning efficiency, click here.

1. Make Sure the Filter is Clean

The purpose of the furnace filter is to prevent dust and debris from clogging your furnace. When the filter has been in place for a while, your furnace has to work harder to pull air through the densely packed filter. How often you clean, whether or not you have pets, and recent renovations can all make a difference in how often the filter needs to be cleaned, so a good rule of thumb is to check the filter monthly for debris. If you can see hair and dust on the surface, then replace the filter or wash it if it’s reusable.

2. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are one of the best ways of reducing your monthly bill, and they often pay for themselves in one year. They also reduce wear and tear on your furnace. A simple 5-day/2-day programmable thermostat is not expensive, and it will allow you to set up a schedule for weekdays and weekends that will lower the temperature when you’re away from home. You should also close the vents in unused spaces and turn the thermostat down when you plan on being away for more than one day.

3. Make Sure Vents are Open and Free of Debris

A furnace needs to be able to freely circulate air around your home to run efficiently. Make sure none of your vents are blocked by furniture or have trapped dust in the cover. Be careful when purchasing decorative vents; they might look great, but they can restrict as much as 50% of the air flow making your furnace work harder to heat your home.

4. Keep the Area Around the Furnace Clear

Most furnaces are kept in the basement, where we also love to store extra belongings. It’s important to keep a three to five-foot area around your furnace completely clear of stored items. This is not only a safety issue because there is burning gas in the furnace, but it helps the furnace run smoother as the air can circulate freely.

5. Utilize Curtains and Blinds

Strategically using your curtains can make a noticeable difference in your energy bill. Opening them in the day on south or west-facing windows allows warm sunlight to enter and heat the inside of your home, just like with a car left in a parking lot.

6. Get Regular Furnace Tune Ups

Furnace manufacturers strongly recommend that you have your furnace inspected and tuned up every year to ensure it is running at peak efficiency. One faulty part can place strain on the rest of the system and can lead to sudden breakdowns. A professional HVAC expert may also tell you whether or not your furnace needs to be cleaned to run more efficiently.

If you are near us in Aurora or anywhere throughout the Denver Metro Area, we would be happy to help you make sure your furnace is running efficiently and give your furnace a tune-up. Contact Grand Home Services today.

8 Ways to Increase Air Conditioning Efficiency

According to the Department of Energy, over half of your energy expenses go towards your air conditioner and furnace. Improving your HVAC’s efficiency will not only save you money on your monthly bill, but you will save money in the long run by extending the life of your system.

Here are 8 ways you can increase your air conditioner’s efficiency. Make sure to contact a professional if you think your air conditioner is not running at peak performance. Click here for 6 ways to increase your furnace efficiency.

1. Change and Clean your Air Conditioner Filter

Check air filters to ensure they are clean as dirty filters slow air circulation. If dirty, first try cleaning filters, and make sure to replace your filter at least once per pear and clean the filter on a monthly basis.

2. Program your Thermostat

Programming your thermostat to different temperatures for different times of day is key to increasing your air conditioning efficiency. If your home is empty every weekday for a certain number of hours, program your thermostat to let your house be a bit warmer and cool off before you get home. Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat for vacations as well!

3. Don’t Cover your Vents

If there is a room like a guest room that is mostly unused, these vents should be covered to push the air to the rest of the home. Otherwise you should keep items like blinds and furniture away from blocking the vents to help maintain steady airflow from your system. Vents are often placed underneath windows, and if that window is covered by a curtain, the air gets blown near the hot window and doesn’t cool the room. Try using a deflector to help your AC unit cool your home.

4. Keep the Space Around the Outdoor Condenser Unit Clean

Make sure your outdoor air conditioner condenser is free of debris and dirt. These can get lodged in the unit and prevent it from running properly. Also, ensure all plants are trimmed back for your unit to operate properly.

5. Keep Heat Away from your Thermostat

It’s very important to keep things away from your thermostat that create heat. Having a lamp near your thermostat will make it kick your air conditioner on far more than necessary.

6. Check the Temperature Outside

Before you set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, make sure you check the weather outside to see if it’s cooler. Especially here in Colorado, it is very sunny making your home hot and making you think it’s even hotter outside, but sometimes it’s actually cooler. Check the weather before you go to bed as well!

7. Close Blinds and Curtains

The windows that are in the late afternoon sun bring in the most heat. Covering those windows with blinds and curtains will help keep your home cool and give your air conditioner a break.

8. Contact a Professional

If you have not had an air conditioning tune-up in a while or you think your unit could be more efficient, make sure to contact a professional. From a leak in the ductwork to a simple system cleaning, a professional will make sure your unit is running efficiently and save you money on your monthly electric bill. Air conditioner manufacturers recommend having the system serviced yearly before the first use in Spring.

If you are near us in Aurora or live throughout the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services would be happy to help you with your air conditioner efficiency. Contact us today.

4 Most Expensive AC Repairs and How to Avoid Them

Having your air conditioner break down is inconvenient and can be very expensive to repair. A lot of these repairs can be avoided with regular inspections and cleaning. These inspections catch small problems before they become larger, more expensive problems to fix.

Here are 5 of the most expensive AC repairs and how they can be avoided. Keep in mind, these estimates greatly depend on the manufacturer of the unit, the age of the unit, and how well the unit has been maintained.

 

Replacement Evaporative Coil: $2,000 – $3,500

If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, chances are it is due to the evaporative coil. Refrigerant runs through the coil and as air passes over it the heat is absorbed. If there is a leak or it no longer functions, it will take a long time for the system to cool your home, if at all.

Unfortunately, repair isn’t an option. Evaporative coils are large components full of tiny dips, curves, crevices, and hard-to-see, hard-to-reach areas. A leak is like a needle in a haystack.

How to avoid: annual cleaning and refrigerant recharges. If refrigerant gets low, the unit will have work harder which will increase the risk of failure.

 

Compressor Replacement: $1,850 – $2,800

Your air conditioner’s compressor moves the refrigerant through your system to remove heat and humidity. When the coils are dirty, the system must work harder to expel heat which leads to overheating and a system failure.

Compressor replacement is one of the most expensive, time-consuming AC repairs. This repair could be less than $1,850 depending on the warranty of your AC unit, but unfortunately the average repair fee lies within the above range.

How to avoid: annual cleaning. Compressor failure is usually the result of dirty coils that make the system work extra hard to expel heat.

 

Condenser Fan Motor: $500 – $1,500

The condensing unit fan is responsible for pulling air through coils of the condensing unit. When the system is dirty or has been idle for too long without cleaning, the fan will not run, run intermittently, run slowly, or make unusual noises.

During the winter this fan sits idle until the air conditioner is turned back on in the spring when temperatures begin to rise. This can be a problem for the condenser fan motor. Sitting all winter without any motion, the bearings and shaft in the air conditioner motor can seize up or rust.

How to avoid: Spring inspection, cleaning, and keep up with air filter replacements. It is important that the air conditioner motor be inspected and cleaned to ensure it is running at full power.

 

Refrigerant Leak Repair: $300 – $1,500

If you are experiencing a refrigerant leak and the leak does not require a new evaporative coil, the repair is a bit cheaper but—depending on the source—can still be expensive. Sometimes the leak occurs at the end of the evaporative coil where the copper bends, other times it can be as simple as a rubber seal. No matter the source, it’s important to get a refrigerant leak repaired as soon as possible. A leak can cause further problems and quickly get expensive.

How to avoid: consistent inspection and cleaning. When an HVAC professional inspects your air conditioner, they might be able to see a leak is coming if there is deterioration. Just like visiting the dentist, it’s important to take preventative measures with your AC unit.

 

With all these expensive AC repairs, many can be avoided with consistent inspections and cleaning from an HVAC professional. It’s easy to forget about the unit when it’s working in the background, but you’ll wish you had taken preventative measures when a problem arises.

Are you in need of an AC inspection, cleaning, recharge or repair in the Denver Metro Area? Grand Home Services is located in Aurora, Colorado and provides HVAC services throughout Denver. Contact us today!

4 Most Expensive Furnace Repairs and How to Avoid Them

Winters in Denver can be hard, especially when your furnace is not heating your home correctly. If you turn on your furnace only to find that it is not working, is not heating your home correctly or it is making strange noises, you will want to call for furnace repair.

Some furnace repairs can be quite costly. Here are four of the most expensive furnace repairs and how you can avoid them.

 

Blower Motor and Capacitor: $500 – $1,500

Simple blower motor repairs might run $150 to $450 while complete replacement could cost $1,500 depending on the brand. This motor and fan, known as a squirrel cage fan, pushes the air through your ducts. Lack of regular cleaning leads to unbalanced or damaged blades.

How to avoid: Regular inspection, cleaning, and keep up with air filter replacements. It is important that the blower motor be inspected and cleaned every so often to ensure it is running at full power.

 

Draft Inducer Motor: $500 – $1,500

A simple fan wheel in the draft inducer motor is inexpensive to replace, but replacing the entire unit can cost up to $1,500, depending on the model and brand. The draft inducer motor pulls the combustion gasses through the heat exchanger and pushes those gases out the flue to prevent carbon monoxide buildup, so it’s very important to fix if broken.

How to avoid: Regular inspection and a reliable carbon monoxide monitor.

 

Circuit Board: $500 – $1500

Replacing a furnace circuit board can cost up to $1500 depending on the brand and age of the unit. The circuit board is responsible for operating every component in the furnace and without it your furnace will not function. High efficiency models will cost quite a bit more while single-stage models may be less than $1000.

How to avoid: Regular inspection and cleaning. Unfortunately, a circuit board is a piece of technology and simply fails sometimes, but if the furnace is not well maintained, the circuit board’s lifespan shortens.

 

Gas Valve: $400 – $1,000

A furnace gas valve allows natural gas or propane to flow to your unit. Furnace gas valves occasionally stop opening and closing properly with age. If this valve does not function, it could be a hazard to your health and home as gas or propane will freely flow from the furnace without combustion. Gas valves are rarely repaired because the labor cost surpasses the cost of a new part.

How to avoid: Regular inspections and cleaning. If there are particles interfering with the gas valve’s ability to close completely, gas could be leaking into your home.

 

It is very important to take preventative measures with a furnace because one small issue can cause many more. Many of these issues can be prevented with regular inspections and cleaning.
Are you in need of a furnace inspection, cleaning, or repair in the Denver Metro Area? Grand Home Services is located in Aurora, Colorado and provides HVAC services throughout Denver. Contact us today!

8 Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Repair

As the days get longer and hotter, your AC unit works hard to keep your home comfortable. From old age to having a dirty filter, a number of things can keep your unit from running efficiently. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs that your unit needs repair before one problem causes another, or worse, you need to replace the AC unit. Here are 8 common warning signs you may want to look for:

  1. AC unit is old

    If your air conditioner is older than the average life expectancy of AC units in homes today—between 15 and 20 years—it likely needs attention. It’s not a bad idea to start shopping for a replacement just in case of an emergency, but it’s important you get an older AC unit inspected and cleaned to prolong its life. If you are in the Denver Metro Area, we can help you with this.

  2. Your electric bill has gone up

    It’s normal for utility bills to fluctuate, but a significantly higher than normal energy bill means your air conditioner is running inefficiently. This could be due to a clogged air filter, a broken motor, or something more serious. It’s best to get your AC unit inspected before the problem worsens and you continue to run up your energy bill.

  3. Unit is releasing a bad odor

    It is not a good sign when your AC unit gives off a bad smell. An unpleasant odor can mean there is an issue with the filter, a buildup of dirt, or even mildew. No matter the culprit, the smell means something is wrong and could be bad for your health. It’s best to contact an HVAC contractor for a quick diagnostic and a full cleaning of the system.

  4. Warm air

    If your unit is running but the air is coming out warm or your home isn’t cooling down, there is likely an issue with your refrigerant. Your homes AC system should keep your home comfortable and is designed to cool your home to the temperature you set via the thermostat. However, a loss of refrigerant can cause your system to stop cooling effectively, making your home uncomfortable.
    There is also a chance the lack of cold air is due to the AC compressor. When the AC compressor stops working, your air conditioning system essentially becomes a large central fan with no ability to cool the air that flows through it. This can be a very technical and challenging fix–requiring the assistance of an HVAC professional.

  5. Insufficient airflow

    If your air conditioning unit is not pushing out as much air as usual, this is usually a sign the air compressor is failing. It can also mean the AC air ducts are clogged. Even if the air that is coming out of the unit is cold, your air conditioner will only work overtime to compensate which can quickly lead to an AC burnout.

  6. Frozen AC coil

    One of the most common causes of air conditioner coils needing repair or replacement is frozen pipes as a result of a dirty or blocked air filter. When your filter becomes too dirty, your air conditioner’s air flow is decreased, causing it to work harder, and occasionally, for the refrigerant coils to freeze. We can repair or replace your fan coil unit to get your air conditioning system back up and running.

  7. Loud and persistent noises

    Loud and persistent noises can indicate a serious problem. Pay attention to the sounds you hear and, if possible, describe them to your HVAC contractor. Squealing and whistling noises may come from belt or fan issues while banging noises can mean broken and loose internal components that can cause more problems. All these noises are signs that your furnace needs to be repaired.

  8. Refrigerant is leaking

    When your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant or freon, this can cause your system to stop cooling your home or even freeze up. These leaks can occur throughout the unit including the valve cores, weld joints, filter canisters or system’s tubing. Finding a leak in the unit can be a complicated process, so it is best to have an expert detect and perform air conditioner refrigerant leak repair on the system.

 

Contact us for AC repair in Denver, Colorado

Located in Aurora, we provide air conditioner repair services throughout the Denver Metro Area. If you need AC repair, inspection, cleaning, replacement, or emergency service, contact our team today.

8 Warning Signs Your Furnace Needs Repair

When the weather gets cold, you rely on your furnace to keep your home comfortable and to prevent seasonal issues like bursting pipes. It is very common for your furnace to need repair when it is working hard for half the year, and even more common if your furnace is old or hasn’t been properly maintained.

To prevent more issues and extend the life of your furnace, it’s important to know what warning signs to look for. Here are 8 common warning signs your furnace needs repair and what they mean.

 

1. Your furnace is old

If your furnace is older than the average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today—between 16 and 20 years—your furnace likely needs attention. It’s not a bad idea to start shopping for a replacement just in case of an emergency, but it’s important you get an older furnace inspected and cleaned to prolong its life. If you are in the Denver Metro Area, we can help you with this.

2. Water is pooling around the furnace

If water is pooling around your furnace, it’s important to figure out why rather quickly to keep your house warm. Pooling water is usually caused by a clogged condensate drain line. This drain line removes water that is released when the evaporator in the unit converts refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. Fixing the problem is not as simple as just unclogging the drain line, so it’s best to work with a professional who has HVAC and plumbing expertise.

3. You smell gas

If you smell gas, turn off your furnace immediately. Then, look for a gas supply valve on the gas pipe near the furnace and close the valve. Make sure to call a local HVAC contractor as soon as possible to get the gas leak fixed.

4. It’s making persistent and strange noises

No furnace is silent, but loud and persistent noises can indicate a serious problem. Pay attention to the sounds you hear and, if possible, describe them to your HVAC contractor. Squealing and whistling noises may come from belt or fan issues while banging or groaning can result from broken and loose internal components. All these noises are signs that your furnace needs to be repaired.

5. Air blows weakly

From a minor problem with fans to a major problem with belts and motors, weak air flow can be caused by several things and can cause other problems if not fixed. Because the cause can be difficult to identify, it’s important to call a professional.

6. The thermostat is not working

If you have to turn your thermostat higher and higher to get heat, it’s definitely a sign your furnace needs repair. This malfunction is likely caused by an electrical issue like blown fuses, loose wiring, or tripped circuit breakers. Because it is likely an electrical issue, it can be dangerous to fix if you haven’t had any formal training. Call a trained HVAC professional you trust.

7. Your bill rises

As furnaces age, it is very common for them to lose their efficiency, especially if they have not been consistently maintained. As a result, your furnace will have to work harder and longer to provide the same amount of heat causing your gas & electric bills to go up. If you get your furnace repaired or replaced, you will likely save a lot of money in the long run.

8. The pilot light is discolored

A healthy pilot light usually appears blue. A pilot light of a different color, especially yellow, can indicate a ventilation problem like the carbon monoxide isn’t dissipating as it should. This is not only a health hazard for you and your family, but it can make your unit more combustible if not addressed.

 

If you notice any of the above warning signs or your furnace is not working as it should, give us a call. We offer 24/7 emergency service throughout the Denver Metro Area and have a lot of experience inspecting, repairing and installing furnaces.