6 Ways to Extend the Lifespan of Your Air Conditioner

A well-maintained air conditioner is built to last about 15 years, but if poorly maintained, this lifespan will likely be much shorter. To ensure its longevity and efficient performance, it’s important to be proactive and regularly maintain your AC unit. In this article, we explore several effective ways to extend the lifespan of your air conditioner, helping you get the most out of your investment while avoiding unnecessary repairs.

1. Regular Filter Changes

One of the simplest yet most important steps in maintaining your air conditioner is regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter. Dirty filters can restrict airflow, forcing the system to work harder and increasing wear and tear. All AC units are different, so be sure to follow the manufacturer guidelines for changing or cleaning your filter.

2. Consistent Cleaning

Dirt, debris, and dust will accumulate on the external and internal components of your air conditioner. The condenser coils, evaporator coils, and the surrounding areas should be cleaned once per year to ensure proper airflow and heat transfer. You can do this yourself with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner, or you can hire a professional technician. Be sure to keep the area around the outdoor unit clean and free of plants, furniture, and debris as well.

3. Proper Thermostat Usage

Your thermostat can help reduce the strain on your air conditioner. Set your thermostat to a moderate temperature and avoid drastic temperature adjustments, as frequent cycling can put unnecessary stress on the system. Consider a programmable or smart thermostat to automate temperature settings and optimize energy efficiency.

4. Regular Professional Maintenance

It’s important to get your AC unit regularly inspected and tuned-up. Professional maintenance can identify and address minor repairs before they escalate, optimize system performance, and ensure all components are in proper working condition.

Click here to see what else you can expect from an AC tune-up.

5. Maintain Proper Insulation

Well-insulated homes retain cool air better, reducing the workload on your air conditioner. Ensure proper insulation in your walls, ceilings, and ductwork to minimize heat transfer and optimize cooling efficiency. Seal any air leaks around windows, doors, and other openings to prevent conditioned air from escaping. You or a home inspector can easily pinpoint any areas in your home that are poorly insulated with a thermal leak detector.

6. Protect from Direct Sunlight

Shielding your outdoor condenser unit from direct sunlight can help prevent overheating and improve its efficiency. Consider installing a wall or using a cover to protect the unit from excessive sun exposure and make sure you do not inhibit airflow.

 

In need of an AC tune-up or have any questions? Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado is here to help. We provide AC tune-ups, repairs, and replacements throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us or contact us online today.

AC Refrigerant: Everything You Need to Know

AC refrigerant is a vital component of your air conditioning system, responsible for transferring heat and cooling the air. Below, we provide you with everything you need to know about AC refrigerant. If you ever have any questions or concerns about AC refrigerant, always consult a professional HVAC technician.

What is AC Refrigerant?

AC refrigerant is a chemical that absorbs heat from indoor air, carries it to the outdoor condenser unit, and releases it into the surrounding environment. It continuously changes from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid and back to a gas, facilitating heat transfer and cooling.

2 Types of AC Refrigerants

  • R-22 (Freon): R-22 was commonly used in older AC systems but is being phased out due to its harmful environmental impact. Its production and import have been banned in several countries. It is being replaced by more environmentally friendly alternatives.
  • R-410A: R-410A—also known as Puron—is the most widely used refrigerant today. It is chlorine-free, ozone-friendly, and is very efficient. AC systems designed for R-410A are more energy-efficient and comply with environmental regulations.

Refrigerant Efficiency and SEER Ratings

The efficiency of AC refrigerants is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. Higher SEER ratings indicate greater energy efficiency and cost savings. AC systems using newer refrigerants like R-410A tend to have higher SEER ratings. Click here to learn more about SEER ratings.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can be caused by aging components, corrosion, or physical damage to refrigerant lines. Signs of a refrigerant leak include reduced cooling, longer cooling cycles, frozen lines, or hissing sounds near the AC unit. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, call for an emergency AC repair as soon as possible.

Proper Refrigerant Charge

Correct refrigerant charge is crucial for your air conditioner’s performance. Too much or too little refrigerant can lead to decreased cooling efficiency, increased energy consumption, and potential damage to the compressor.

If your AC system requires a refrigerant recharge, it is crucial to hire a professional HVAC technician. They will repair any leaks before adding refrigerant to the system. Attempting to recharge refrigerant yourself without addressing leaks can lead to wasted refrigerant and environmental harm.

Note: if a technician says you need a recharge and does not check for leaks, this is likely a scam. Refrigerant runs through a closed system and does not run out. Click here to learn more about common HVAC scams.

 

While it is helpful to know about AC refrigerant, certain things should be left to a professional, including choosing the right refrigerant type, ensuring proper refrigerant charge, and addressing leaks.

In need of AC maintenance in the Denver Metro Area? Grand Home Services in Aurora, CO provides AC replacement, tune-up, and repair services throughout Denver. Call us or contact us online today.

5 Different Types of Air Conditioning Systems and Their Benefits

Whether you don’t have air conditioning and are researching your options or have an existing system you are considering replacing, it’s important to understand your options to choose the system that best suits your needs. Below we’ll explore the different types of air conditioning systems and highlight their unique advantages.

Central Air Conditioning Systems

Central air conditioning systems are a popular choice for cooling entire homes or larger spaces. They utilize a network of ducts to distribute cooled air throughout the building. The main benefits of central air conditioning include:

  • Consistent Cooling: Central systems provide consistent cooling across all rooms, ensuring uniform comfort throughout the space.
  • Temperature Control: They allow you to set and maintain specific temperature levels, a temperature schedule, and can be zoned to cool areas more than others.
  • Filtration: Central systems typically have efficient air filters that help improve indoor air quality by removing dust, allergens, and other particles.

Evaporative Coolers (Swamp Coolers)

Evaporative coolers work by using water to cool and humidify the air. They are commonly used in arid climates and can be an energy-efficient alternative to traditional air conditioning. Benefits of evaporative coolers include:

  • Energy Efficiency: Evaporative coolers consume less energy compared to refrigerant-based air conditioners.
  • Fresh Air Intake: These systems constantly bring in fresh outdoor air, providing better indoor air quality.
  • Lower Environmental Impact: Evaporative coolers use natural evaporation processes and do not rely on harmful refrigerants.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Ductless mini-split systems offer a flexible and efficient cooling solution, particularly for homes without existing ductwork or for specific zones within a house. Key benefits of ductless mini-split systems include:

  • Zoning Capabilities: Each indoor unit can be independently controlled, allowing for customized temperature settings in different rooms or areas.
  • Energy Efficiency: Ductless systems avoid the energy losses associated with ductwork, making them more efficient and potentially resulting in energy savings.
  • Easy Installation: Ductless systems require minimal installation, as they only require a small hole for the conduit that connects the indoor and outdoor units.

Window Air Conditioners

Window air conditioners are self-contained units installed in a window or a hole in an exterior wall. They are suitable for cooling individual rooms or small spaces. The benefits of window air conditioners include:

  • Affordability: Window units are typically more affordable compared to other air conditioning options.
  • Easy Installation: They are relatively easy to install and can be a good solution for renters or those who don’t want to invest in a centralized system.
  • Space Efficiency: Window units save valuable floor space as they are installed directly in windows.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners offer versatility and mobility, making them suitable for cooling specific areas or rooms. Some benefits of portable air conditioners include:

  • Mobility: Portable units can be easily moved from room to room, providing cooling wherever needed.
  • No Permanent Installation: They don’t require permanent installation or modifications to windows or walls.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Portable air conditioners are generally more affordable than central or ductless systems.

 

Understanding the benefits and characteristics of different air conditioning systems will help you make an informed decision that ensures optimal comfort and efficiency for your specific needs. We strongly recommend consulting with a professional HVAC technician that can help you select the most suitable option for your home or building.

In need of a new AC unit in the Denver Metro Area? Grand Home Services in Aurora, CO provides AC replacement, tune-up, and repair services throughout Denver. Call us or contact us online today.

What Is a SEER Rating and Why Is It Important?

When shopping for a new air conditioning system, you may come across the term “SEER rating.” SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is an important metric for measuring the efficiency of air conditioners.

Understanding SEER ratings can help you choose an AC unit that maximizes energy efficiency while keeping your home comfortable. Below, we’ll discuss the importance of a SEER rating and all the need-to-know SEER rating details.

NOTE: a reputable HVAC company can recommend the best AC unit for your home and climate. While we like to provide helpful information, we strongly encourage seeking the advice of a professional and not choosing an AC unit yourself.

What is a SEER Rating?

The SEER rating is a measurement of an air conditioner’s cooling efficiency over an entire cooling season. It represents the ratio of cooling output (measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs) to the electrical energy input (measured in watt-hours). A higher SEER rating indicates greater energy efficiency, meaning the air conditioner can cool your home using less energy.

The Importance of SEER Ratings

Choosing an air conditioner with a higher SEER rating can provide you with energy efficiency, lower short-term bills, and even lower long-term bills. AC units with higher SEER ratings consume less electricity, reducing your energy bills and saving you money. And, even though air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may have a higher upfront cost, the long-term energy savings can outweigh the initial investment.

SEER Rating Guidelines

The minimum SEER rating requirements vary by country and region. In the United States, for example, the minimum SEER rating for new air conditioners ranges from 13 to 14; 13 for northern states, 14 for southern states. Here in Colorado, the minimum SEER rating is 13, though many new central AC systems are 16 or higher.

Factors to Consider

When selecting an air conditioner based on SEER rating, consider the following factors:

  • Climate: If you live in a region with a milder summer like Denver, a lower SEER rating may be sufficient. In hotter climates, investing in a higher SEER-rated unit may be a better option for long-term savings.
  • Usage Patterns: If you use your air conditioner frequently, a higher SEER-rated unit can yield greater long-term savings. However, if your AC usage is limited, a lower SEER-rated unit may still be cost-effective.
  • Budget: While higher SEER-rated units provide better energy efficiency, they often come with a higher price tag. Consider your budget and weigh the initial investment against long-term energy savings.

 

A qualified HVAC professional can provide valuable information and help you select the most suitable air conditioner for your home, climate and budget. In need of a new AC unit in the Denver Metro Area? Grand Home Services in Aurora, CO provides AC replacement, tune-up, and repair services throughout Denver. Call us or contact us online today.

6 Common Causes of an Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leak

Your air conditioner relies on refrigerant to cool the air inside your home. The refrigerant runs through a closed system, so if your refrigerant is low, this means there is a leak. Over time, your air conditioner may experience a refrigerant leak, which can cause your system to malfunction and fail to cool your home properly. Here are some of the common causes of air conditioner refrigerant leaks.

1. Age of the Air Conditioner

One of the most common causes of a refrigerant leak is the age of the air conditioner. Over time, the coils and connections inside the system can degrade and become more prone to leaks. This is especially true if you do not have a professional regularly maintain and service your air conditioner.

2. Corrosion

Another common cause of a refrigerant leak is corrosion. Corrosion can occur in the copper tubing and connections that make up the refrigerant lines. This can be caused by exposure to moisture or chemicals, as well as wear and tear over time.

3. Poor Installation

If an HVAC technician improperly installs your air conditioner, it can be more prone to refrigerant leaks. Improper installation can cause the refrigerant lines to become damaged or misaligned, leading to leaks. Click here for more signs of an improperly installed air conditioner.

4. Physical Damage

Physical damage to your air conditioner can also cause refrigerant leaks. This can occur if the unit is hit by a lawnmower or other outdoor equipment, or if debris such as sticks or rocks are thrown into the unit by a storm.

5. Wear and Tear

Like any other mechanical system, wear and tear over time can cause refrigerant leaks in your air conditioner. This can be caused by vibration, temperature changes, and other factors that cause the refrigerant lines to become damaged or worn out.

6. Poor Maintenance

Poor maintenance of your air conditioner can also contribute to refrigerant leaks. If your system is not serviced regularly, the refrigerant lines and connections may become clogged with dirt and debris, which can cause leaks. Additionally, if the system is not properly charged with refrigerant during maintenance, it can cause the system to overwork and potentially develop leaks.

It’s important to get regular AC tune-ups and maintenance to prevent leaks and ensure the unit runs at peak efficiently. If you suspect that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak, it’s important to contact a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and repair the issue, as refrigerant leaks can be hazardous to your health and the environment.

Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado provides AC repair, tune-up, and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us or contact us today!

7 Signs of an Improper Air Conditioner Installation

An improper air conditioner installation can cause a variety of issues that can affect the comfort of your home, efficiency of the unit, and even the unit’s lifespan. Here are some of the most common signs that indicate your air conditioner was improperly installed.

If you suspect an improper AC installation, always contact a second HVAC company to take a look.

1. Poor Cooling Performance

If your air conditioner is not cooling your home properly, it may be a sign of an incorrect refrigerant charge, improper sizing of the unit, or poor installation of the ductwork. The cooling performance of a brand-new AC unit should be significantly better, so if it seems to have gotten worse, get a second opinion as soon as possible.

2. Frequent Breakdowns

If your air conditioner breaks down frequently, it could be a sign of incorrect wiring, improperly sized electrical components, or poor installation of the system itself. Frequent breakdowns equal frequent repairs, making the initial installation a possible scam. Contact a second HVAC tech to inspect the unit.

3. High Energy Bills

Higher energy bills can be the result of an incorrectly sized unit, poorly installed ductwork, or incorrect refrigerant charge. If your energy bills are significantly higher than normal, we suggest getting a second opinion.

4. Uneven Cooling

If some rooms in your home are significantly cooler than others, it may be a sign of poorly installed ductwork or an improperly sized unit. Uneven cooling is a fairly normal problem, but if it is worse after a new AC unit has been installed, it was likely installed incorrectly.

5. Excessive Noise

An excessively loud air conditioner or a unit making strange noises can be the result of improperly installed components, loose connections, or improperly sized ductwork. Loud or excessive noises are not normal and could cause more damage, so it is important to call for a repair as soon as possible. Click here to see what the 5 most common AC noises are and what they mean.

6. Short Cycling

Short cycling—when your air conditioner turns on and off frequently—can be a sign of incorrect sizing of the unit, improperly installed ductwork, or an incorrect refrigerant charge. Short cycling has many other causes, so if this is your only issue, be sure to get your unit checked before assuming an improper installation. Click here for other causes of a short cycling AC unit. Click here for more causes of a short cycling unit.

7. Leaks or Moisture

Leaks or moisture around your air conditioning system can be caused by improperly installed refrigerant lines, ductwork, or drain lines. Leaks are not to be taken lightly, so we suggest calling for an emergency AC repair. Click here for more causes of an AC leak.

 

When in doubt, always get a second opinion. An improperly installed AC unit will cost you much more in the long run if left running and undiagnosed. Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado provides AC repair, tune-up, and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Call us or contact us today!

4 Common AC Evaporator Coil Issues and How to Address Them

The air conditioner evaporator coil is a critical component of your AC system, responsible for removing heat from the air and cooling your home. However, like any other part of your air conditioner, the evaporator coil is prone to wear and tear. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common issues that can arise with the evaporator coil and what you can do to address them.

Note: issues with the evaporator coil should not be taken lightly as it handles refrigerant and is one of the most expensive parts to replace in an air conditioner.

1. Dirty or Clogged Evaporator Coil

A dirty or clogged evaporator coil can cause your air conditioner to function less efficiently, leading to higher energy bills and reduced cooling performance. Eventually, this could lead to the AC unit running constantly or a complete system failure. If you notice that your AC system isn’t cooling your home as well as it used to, a dirty evaporator coil may be to blame.

2. Frozen Evaporator Coil

If your evaporator coil freezes over, your AC system will stop working altogether. This can occur if the coil becomes too dirty, if the refrigerant level is low, or if there’s an issue with the blower fan. To fix a frozen evaporator coil, you’ll need to turn off your AC system and let the coil thaw completely before calling a professional to diagnose the underlying cause of this freeze-up.

3. Corrosion or Leaks

Over time, the evaporator coil may develop leaks or corrode, leading to a loss of refrigerant and reduced cooling performance. If you suspect that your evaporator coil is leaking, you’ll need to have it replaced by a professional HVAC technician. A repair is almost never an option with evaporator coils. This should be taken care of as soon as possible; refrigerant is extremely dangerous and can lead to long-term health problems.

4. Improper Size

If your air conditioner’s evaporator coil is too small, it may not be able to cool your living space effectively. Conversely, if the coil is too large, it may cause your AC system to short cycle, leading to reduced efficiency and increased wear and tear. This issue only arises if your evaporator coil has been replaced and the wrong size was installed. You’ll need to have a professional HVAC technician recommend the appropriate size for your evaporator coil.

The evaporator coil is a critical component of your air conditioner, and any issues with it can lead to reduced cooling performance and increased energy bills. If you suspect your evaporator coil is dirty, frozen, leaking, or improperly sized, address the issue as soon as possible.

Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado provides AC inspections, repair, cleaning and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Whether it is an emergency or you just need some guidance, do not hesitate to reach out to us! Contact us online or call us today.

How Often Should I Get an Air Conditioner Tune-Up?

Your air conditioner is a valuable investment in your home’s comfort and well-being and requires regular maintenance to ensure that it runs effectively and efficiently. Regular air conditioner tune-up services can help extend the lifespan of your AC system, improve its energy efficiency, and reduce the likelihood of costly breakdowns or repairs. But how often should you get your air conditioner serviced?

The rule of thumb is to get an air conditioner tune-up once per year, preferably during the spring season, but there are several factors that determine how often you should get an AC tune-up. Below we discuss some of these factors and when you should consider getting tune-ups more often. When in doubt, ask your HVAC technician what they recommend!

1. Age of the AC Unit

If your AC unit is less than five years old and has been well-maintained, it is recommended you get the unit serviced once a year. However, if your air conditioner is older than five years, it should be serviced twice a year. This ensures that it is functioning at its best and will prevent repairs.

2. Frequency of Use

If you live in an area with hot and humid summers and rely heavily on your air conditioner, it’s recommended to have it serviced twice a year. Here in Denver, our summers are quite mild, but some years are much hotter than others. If you find that your AC unit is running 24/7 for an extended period of time, a mid-season AC tune-up should be considered. Frequent use of your AC system can cause wear and tear, and regular tune-up services can help prevent breakdowns and extend the lifespan of your unit.

3. Maintenance History

If you’ve neglected regular air conditioner maintenance in the past, you may need to have it serviced more frequently. This will help to address any underlying issues that may have developed. Your HVAC technician can assess the state of your AC unit and recommend the appropriate tune-up schedule.

4. Warranty Requirements

Some HVAC manufacturer warranties require regular maintenance as a condition of coverage. Be sure to check your warranty documents to determine the recommended tune-up schedule to maintain your warranty coverage.

 

Regular air conditioner tune-ups are an essential part of maintaining your AC unit. If you have questions about AC tune-ups, you’d like a professional HVAC technician to assess the state of your AC system, or you need to schedule an AC tune-up, contact Grand Home Services today! We are located in Aurora and provide AC tune-ups, repairs, and replacements throughout the Denver Metro Area.

5 HVAC Myths Busted

When it comes to home appliances, there are plenty of age-old myths that promise less maintenance, better performance, and money saving. The same can be said for air conditioners and furnaces. While many of these myths come with good intent, some are downright terrible practices to follow.

Below are 5 common HVAC myths and why each myth could actually be costing you money and hurting your AC unit or furnace.

Myth #1: Cranking the thermostat will heat or cool your home faster.

If you crank your thermostat up to a very high temperature or down to a very low temperature in hopes it will heat or cool faster, this will not actually accomplish anything. Your AC unit or furnace will reach your desired temperature as fast as it can without overworking. If the unit shuts off before it reaches your temperature, it likely means it is shutting off to prevent the unit from overheating and will resume when ready.

Myth #2: The best unit is the biggest and most expensive.

Bigger is not always better when it comes to air conditioners and furnaces. An oversized unit will often short-cycle, which will decrease the lifespan of the unit and require more repairs than usual to keep it going. Your monthly utility bills will also be much larger than necessary. From purchasing the unit to maintaining it, you will be overpaying.

It is important to note that an HVAC professional selling you a larger unit than necessary is a common HVAC repair scam. There are dishonest contractors who will recommend you choose the biggest unit 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. Click here to see our full list of common HVAC repairs to keep an eye out for.

Myth #3: If my unit is working, I don’t need a cleaning or tune-up.

Just because your unit is running does not mean it is running at peak efficiency, does not need to be cleaned, or every part is in perfect condition. Furnace and AC maintenance should be proactive, meaning it should happen before a breakdown takes place. Furnace tune-ups will keep your unit running longer and more efficiently, saving you money on your monthly bill and keeping you from replacing the unit prematurely.

Myth #4: Closing vents will save you money.

When you close vents in a room because it is rarely used or too hot/cold, the closed vent creates pressure in the air vents and an imbalance in the unit. In general, your system pulls in as much air as it needs to heat or cool your home. When you close some vents, your unit is pulling in more air than it is pushing through the ducts, thus creating pressure on the unit. This pressure can cause leaks in your ductwork and unnecessary wear and tear on your system’s blower. It’s best to keep your vents open and keep the air circulating throughout your home.

Myth #5: The filter only needs to be replaced once every year.

Changing your filter once per year might be correct for some units and filters, but this is definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some manufacturers will recommend changing your filter several times a year at a minimum. In addition, if you have several pets in your home, you should change your filter more often than a pet-free home. Always check with the manufacturer recommendations, and make sure to check your filter from time to time.

 

There are plenty of HVAC myths out there, but we always recommend taking HVAC maintenance advice from a professional. Every HVAC system is different; something that works great for one system could be detrimental to yours.

Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado provides HVAC inspections, repair, cleaning and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Whether it is an emergency or you need some guidance, do not hesitate to reach out to us! Contact us online or call us today.

3 Signs of a Faulty Furnace Gas Valve

A furnace gas valve allows natural gas or propane to flow into your unit. Occasionally these valves will stop opening and closing properly due to an obstruction, rust, or old age. If this valve malfunctions, it could be a hazard to your health and home as gas or propane will freely flow from the furnace without combustion.

Below are the 3 common signs of a faulty furnace gas valve to keep an eye out for as a faulty valve could be creating an unsafe environment. When in doubt, always call an HVAC professional.

FYI: When the valve stops working, it needs to be replaced as a repair is often more costly than a replacement. Typically, a gas valve replacement costs anywhere between $400 and $1000, making it one of the most expensive parts in a furnace to replace.

Gas leak

Sometimes a gas valve will get stuck open, allowing too much gas into your furnace while it is running, or allow gas to leak into your furnace while not running. Not only is this gas a fire hazard, but inhaling gas is very bad for your health. If you smell gas in your home, open your windows, exit your home, and call 911 immediately.

System failure

If your furnace is not heating your home or having trouble starting, this could mean your gas valve has malfunctioned and is not supplying enough—if any—gas to the unit. This means the ignitor will not work, your furnace will not be transferring any heat, and the system will stop blowing warm air. If the furnace is not running or it is not blowing warm air, call for a repair.

Though a system failure could be the result of a faulty furnace gas valve, there are many other possible culprits. If your unit is not blowing warm air, there are many other possible causes. Click here to learn more.

Furnace cycling

Similar to a system failure, when your furnace does not receive enough gas, it may continuously cycle to try to reach the temperature set on your thermostat. When the thermostat does not read the correct temperature, it will continue to tell the furnace to run. Regardless of the cause, a constantly cycling furnace could result in an overheated blower motor or other avoidable repair. If your furnace is cycling, shut the unit off and call for a repair.

In need of a furnace repair or inspection? Grand Home Services in Aurora, Colorado provides furnace inspections, repair, cleaning and replacement services throughout the Denver Metro Area. Whether it is an emergency or you need some guidance, do not hesitate to reach out to us! Contact us online or call us today.