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What Do We Check Indoors on an AC Check?

Every air conditioner needs routine maintenance and periodic tune-ups. Most of the issues with AC units have to do with the condenser, or the outdoor unit. But the indoor unit can have its own set of issues. That’s what we want to discuss in this post, what the issues are, and how we try to prevent them with our basic AC check.

Anatomy of the indoor unit…

The indoor unit, as it pertains to your air conditioner, is made up of the… 

  • Evaporator coil 
  • Primary drain pan
  • Condensate drains 
  • Jones valve
  • Ceiling Saver Float switch
  • Auxiliary/emergency drain pan 
  • Blower motor

How it Works

The blower motor pulls air from inside the home, across the evaporator coil (that is around 38-40 degrees), and then circulates it through the ductwork into the home. As air passes over the evaporator coil the moisture in the air condensates on the coil and runs down into the primary drain pan where it is directed down the primary drain.

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is where the transfer of heat takes place, cooling the air in your home. When your AC is running the evaporator coil is 35-45 degrees and wet due to condensation. When it’s off the coil is warm and dry. This makes a great home for bacteria and other organic growth. This is why we treat the coil if we can access it. When we do a tune up on your system we treat the evaporator coil with an enzymatic cleaner that leaves enzymes on the coil to eat organic growth for up to 6 months.

Primary Drain Pan

As water condenses on the evaporator coil it runs down the metal fins and into a large pan directly beneath the coil. This is the primary drain pan. You can’t typically see this pan, it’s inside the air handler cabinet with the coil. 

We generally have two concerns when it comes to the primary drain pan. First, is the unit level for draining, and second, is there any standing water in the primary drain pan?

Level for Draining

Everything can be connected and operating properly but if the unit isn’t leveled so that the drain exit is the low point, then the condensation won’t drain, and the unit could flood. This is why we check if the unit is level for draining on every AC check and AC tune up

Standing Water

We then look for standing water in the primary pan. Standing water can become a breeding ground for bacteria, algae, and other organic growth. To help combat this we put tablets into the pan to help kill and eradicate the organic growth.

Condensate Drains

Connected to the primary drain pan are two drain lines, the primary and the secondary. The primary drain connects to a drain in your home and the secondary terminates outside. If the primary clogs then the water routes to the secondary and drips outside where you can see it.

To help prevent clogs we pour bleach down the drain line and use a brush to clean the p-trap if you have one.

Drain Blow Out Valve

Since 2018 it has been code that the primary drain line have a means to pressurize the line to remove clogs that doesn’t require the technician to cut the drain line. If you have a blow out valve we will blow out your drains on each AC check. If you don’t have one we will let you know and ask if you’d like us to install one.

Ceiling Saver Float Switch

Since 2010 it has also been code that the drain system have a float switch on the secondary drain within 6 inches of the coil. The purpose of this switch is to shut the air conditioner off if the primary and secondary drains both back up. This way the system doesn’t overflow and flood your home.

Every time we do an AC check we look to confirm that you have a float switch and also that it works. If you don’t have one or it isn’t working we will let you know so we can get it resolved and keep your home safe from flooding.

Auxiliary/Emergency Drain Pan  

Outside the air handler cabinet and underneath the evaporator coil is another drain pan. This is the auxiliary drain pan, or emergency drain pan. If all else fails this is supposed to catch the water and direct it outside via the secondary drain. We check this pan to make sure it is dry, and also to make sure it is also level for draining.

Blower Motor

After all those checks we make sure the blower motor and its components are also operating as designed. We also clean the blower wheel in place with a foam cleaner to help maintain the blower’s efficiency. Most people don’t realize that 1/16” of dust build up on the blower wheel can reduce its capacity up to 30%. Keeping it clean is incredibly important.

Air Handler Cabinet

Finally, when we’ve completed all this we sanitize the inside of the cabinet to help prevent future growth. We spray down the inside with a hospital grade sanitizer that coats and cleans the inside walls of the air handler.

This is a quick summary of the work we do on the indoor unit for every AC check and AC tune up.

Choose Prestige Air to Keep Your HVAC Running Optimally

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

My Air Conditioner Is Blowing But Not Cooling

We get this call all the time. A homeowner notices that the temperature in the house keeps going up even though they have the AC on. Or they realize that the air conditioner just runs and runs, but doesn’t cool the house at all. 

Knowing that the system is blowing but not cooling actually tells us a lot. 

First, it means the system has power and that the indoor unit, with the blower motor, is operating correctly. Second, it tells us that the issue is with the condenser, the outdoor unit. 

The outdoor unit is what is technically referred to as the “air conditioner”, because it is what circulates the refrigerant through the system to cool the air. The indoor unit is the air handler, it moves the air across the cold evaporator coil and circulates it through the house. If it is blowing but not cooling, the inside unit, the air handler, works but the outside unit, the condenser, does not.

If your system is blowing but not cooling, walk outside and see if the condenser is running. Often times it is not. There are dozens of reasons that the condenser might not be working, and most of them are simple and quick fixes. Things like a bad contactor, a failed capacitor, a tripped disconnect, etc. It could be that ants got in and gummed up the contacts on the contactor. Or a lizard crawled across the capacitor and shorted it out. All of which we carry the parts on our truck to repair. 

Short of a failed compressor we can usually fix the issue on the same visit, and get your system back up and running in no time. 

So if your system is blowing but not cooling, give us a call and we will get the problem resolved quickly and get your home comfortable once again. 

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

How Does the Prestige Air Warranty Work?

Prestige Air one year parts and labor warranty

One of the most important guiding principles we have at Prestige Air is to restore our customer’s peace-of-mind when it comes to their comfort and the operation of their heater and air conditioner. Homeowners are overjoyed when they hear that we found their issue, have the part on our truck, and can have it fixed on the same trip. 

Then a few moments later the next concern sets in…

What if it Breaks Again?

We know how this feels, everyone at Prestige Air is also a homeowner and has these same concerns when we have to hire contractors to fix things in our homes. 

The first step for us in providing you peace-of-mind is our full system check. No matter what repair your system needs, we will do a thorough check of your entire system. We don’t just want to know what is broken, but why it broke. If we can figure out what caused the issue then we can prevent the same thing from happening again. We will also find any other issue that may cause problems moving forward. 

That’s the first step. The second step is to provide a warranty on the parts and labor. 

1 Year Parts and Labor Warranty…Standard

Some manufacturers of parts provide a warranty, some don’t. We don’t care. We provide one for you at our own cost regardless of the manufacturer’s policy. We do this because we are confident that we have rooted out the reason for the failure and that our work is the highest quality possible so the odds of a repeat failure are extremely low. 

We also provide a labor warranty. You should only have to pay for that specific repair on your system one time. That’s the expectation you have when you hire us, and that’s the expectation we have when we bill you. If the part we replaced fails inside of the first year, or the workmanship from changing that part causes the same issue within the first year, then we still owe you the repair you paid for. 

After the first year a lot of other factors come into play besides just the part and the workmanship, which is why we only offer a one year warranty on the parts and labor. 

Exceptions to the Rule

There are cases where we do not offer a warranty on our work. For example, in cases where the system is old and has obviously not been maintained and system operation is compromised due to the impaired condition of the entire system, and it’s clear that any repairs we make are simply a band-aid, we won’t offer a warranty. This is because the compromised condition of the system can negatively impact our repair regardless of the nature of the part or the workmanship. The failure would not be due to anything we did, or anything we can control. 

These cases are rare, and we will inform you prior to doing any work so you can make the decision that’s best for you and your household. 

Wrapping up

The key takeaway here is that one of our guiding principles is to provide you with peace-of-mind that when you hire Prestige Air to work on your system that we will provide the highest quality parts and workmanship possible, and that you can trust that your system will run as designed or that we will make it right. 

The one year parts and labor warranty are the standard at Prestige Air, as is high quality workmanship!

Choose Prestige Air to Keep Your HVAC Running Optimally

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

3 Reasons Your Thermostat is Blank

You’re sitting at home and realize it feels kind of warm inside. You walk over to the thermostat to turn the AC on just to find that the thermostat is blank. You push the buttons to see if its in sleep mode or something like that and find that nothing works. It’s just blank. 

Why would the thermostat display be blank?

Here are the three most common reasons. 

First, the Batteries in the Thermostat Died

Some thermostats need batteries, if this is the case you just need to pop the cover off and swap them out. This is the first place we always recommend starting. We get a lot of calls every summer from people thinking they need an AC repair tech to come out and it turns out to be the batteries in the thermostat. So you should start here. 

But what if you take the cover off and your thermostat doesn’t use batteries?

Second, Your Ceiling Saver Float Safety Switch has Activated

Most thermostats no longer need batteries to operate, they get their power from the air handler unit inside your home. Here in Fort Worth, local code requires that we install a ceiling saver float safety switch. This is a switch on the drain line of your air conditioner. You see, your AC unit creates condensation as it operates which it then drains into your home’s plumbing. These drains tend to clog over the years which can cause major issues. If the drains clog and the water backs up into the AC unit the float switch will turn off the air handler which stop the system from creating more condensation. The side effect of the float switch turning off the power to your air conditioner is it also kills the power to your thermostat. 

Unfortunately this isn’t something a homeowner can fix themselves. You’d need to call your local HVAC repair company. What we need to do is disconnect your drains, clean out the clog, reconnect everything, and test the system for proper operation and make sure your drains no longer back up into the system. 

Third, the Air Handler Fuse has Popped

If your thermostat doesn’t take batteries and we come out and the float safety switch isn’t activated then the next issue could be the 3 amp fuse inside the air handler. Every air handler has a 3 amp auto fuse wired in to protect the low voltage controls. A power surge, or low voltage short could cause this fuse to pop, thereby killing power to system and also your thermostat. 

This is also an issue that would require an ac repair technician. In this instance you need a repairman to diagnose both the popped fuse as well as why it popped. If you don’t diagnose why the fuse popped it may just do it again in a few hours or few days.

Don’t Fret the Blank Thermostat

I understand that anytime something goes wrong with your air conditioner or heater that you instantly think it’s going to be a big deal and very expensive to repair, but that isn’t usually the case with this issue. Blank thermostats are usually easy to diagnose and cheap to repair. 

Choose Prestige Air to Keep Your HVAC Running Optimally

If you experience problems with your thermostat call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your heater and air conditioner in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

How to Get Your AC Unit Summer Ready!

Preparing you AC for Summer

It’s that time of year again. Spring is in full bloom, the sun is out, and the temperature is slowly rising. In just a few weeks we will be turning our air conditioners on and a few weeks after that they will be hard at work all day and night to keep our homes comfortable. 

Before Summer

Before your AC starts to run full-time there are a few things you can do to reduce any issues you might have during peak season. 

First, make sure your filters are clean, replace if necessary. Airflow is the lifeblood of your system and how efficiently it operates. If the filters get dirty the airflow through the system goes down dramatically. This can cause your coils to freeze up, your compressor to work harder, and ultimately cause a breakdown. 

One of the brands of filter we recommend are Filtrete, you can check them out here.

Second, clean your condenser and remove any debris that might block airflow. If you would like more information on how your condenser works read our post here. In the meantime, make sure there is no debris or other backyard items pushed up too close to the condenser that might block airflow through the coils. Once the debris is cleared away take a hose to the coils to clean off any dirt, hair, lint, or leaves. One big concern are cottonwood trees. In the Spring when these trees send out their seeds the cotton seed creates a blanket on the condenser and restricts airflow. Clean this off so your air conditioner can operate ore efficiently. 

After that, if you are still concerned about summer break downs give us a call and we can do a more thorough preparation for your AC. 

How We Can Help

Here’s what we will do…

First we do a complete system check, measure and draw for all motors, make sure the components of the system function as designed, clean your blower motor in place, clean your evaporator coil in place, check your condensate drain lines and clean them out if necessary, check that all your ducts are sealed so you don’t lose air, check the temperature different across the evaporator coil, check the level of your refrigerant, and on and on. 

If we find any issues we will let you know, better to resolve them early than to wait for a break down in peak operating season. 

A full system check like ours can give you great peace-of-mind and the assurance that your system is ready for the summer season. 

Choose Prestige Air to Keep Your HVAC Running Optimally

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

Prestige Air proudly serves Northeast Tarrant County and the Fort Worth, Texas area including Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake, Westlake, Trophy Club, Keller, Watauga, Haltom City, and North Richland Hills.

We look forward to serving you and your household!

The Truth Behind “Price Matching”

Let see if you can relate. Your Heater or your AC dies on your family out of nowhere. You call a company to send out a tech to see if they can fix it and they tell you that it’s gone for good. It’s time to replace your system. 

The technician refers you to the “Home Comfort Advisor” from his company who comes out and measures your home, discusses your options, tells you what size system you need, and then begins to explain the pricing and payment options. 

He asks if you’re ready to make your decision so he can get the equipment ordered and get your install on the schedule. 

You let him know you want to get a couple of other bids to make sure you are spending your money wisely. 

Before he leaves he tells you that he is giving you his best price, but that you have been a long-time client and his company wants to take care of their clients so if you get a lower bid please give him a call because he will price-match. 

He. Will. Price. Match. 

What does that mean?

On the surface it’s pretty obvious what that means. It means he will lower his price to match any other bid you get so that he can “win the job”. 

Beneath the surface it means something completely different.

If he can match the price of another company and stay in business then the higher price he gave you before was overcharging you. When he says he can price match he is saying one thing, and one thing only…

“I am happy to over-charge you until someone else comes along and doesn’t.”

When I come along and charge you exactly what I need to stay in business, a price that is well within market rate pricing, and he started out pricing you high, over-charging you, and then finds out that I didn’t over-charge you, so he wants a second chance to lower his number so he can keep your business…you have to ask yourself what kind of company this is. 

When a company says they will price match, they are admitting up-front that they are starting out by pricing high and over-charging you. 

A company that will not price-match is a company that knows what they need to charge and is more than likely being honest with you from the beginning. 

Just a little tip to help you make your decision regarding what company you want to hire. 

Choose Prestige Air to Keep Your HVAC Running Optimally

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

Prestige Air proudly serves Northeast Tarrant County and the Fort Worth, Texas area including Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake, Westlake, Trophy Club, Keller, Watauga, Haltom City, and North Richland Hills.

We look forward to serving you and your household!

What Does it Mean to Air Balance My Air Conditioning System?

Have you ever experienced when certain rooms in your home are hotter or colder than the rest of the house? You run the AC all day and the front room, or the back bedroom, just won’t cool off?

There could be a lot of reasons for this, like low insulation, large south facing windows, etc. But one of the most common is that the air flow in you air conditioner is out of balance. 

What is an Air Balance?

When your HVAC system was designed using Manual J, a lot of calculations went into how many BTU’s (British Thermal Units) were needed to cool and heat your home. Another set of calculations went into designing the ductwork and determining how much airflow was needed in each room to deliver the designed BTU’s, along with how best to deliver them. 

The final product of all of this work is what we call an air balance, the perfect balance of airflow to each room to deliver the designed BTU’s. 

What Went Wrong?

The fact is, the person that designed the system, ductwork and all, is usually not the person who installed it. Poor installation can throw off the air balance very easily. Not to mention, systems degrade over time which can throw off the air balance. Some of the key factors would be:

  1. Is the flexible duct pulled tight?
  2. Are the duct runs too long?
  3. Are there any sharp bends or angles in the ductwork?
  4. Is the ductwork hung correctly?
  5. How are the ducts positioned on the plenum?
  6. Do the ducts have dampers, and if so, are they open?
  7. Are all the ducts still securely fastened and sealed at their insertion and origin points?
  8. Is the blower speed set correctly to maintain designed static pressures?

Flexible ductwork that is loose or sagging will create friction in the airflow inside them and reduce the volume of air delivered to the room. You get this same issue if the duct run to the room in question is too long without tapering, or stepping down the duct size. You get even more friction with sharp bends and turns. If the ductwork isn’t hung correctly it can rest on the insulation which renders the insulation useless causing the air in the duct to convert to the temperature of the attic it is housed in. 

You also have to consider where the ducts are placed on the plenum. Certain parts of the plenum inevitably end up with higher pressures causing more air to flow through the ducts attached at those points. 

Another common issue is that the ducts have dampers installed but the dampers were never tightened. This means that over time, as air flows across the damper it can slowly close itself off, restricting or stopping airflow entirely. 

And finally, are the ducts still connected and sealed. If the ducts have come off the plenum, or pulled back from the boot in your ceiling they won’t deliver air as designed. If they aren’t sealed then they will dump the conditioned air into the attic rather than the living space. 

How Do We Solve This?

The solution is to have the air in the system rebalanced. The first step is to use an anemometer to measure the airflow at the vents in each room in your home. We use this data to determine the severity of the issue as well as which vents are under or over-performing. 

Next the technician will inspect the system and all ductwork. He will check to see if the ductwork is pulled tight, tapered correctly, void of any sharp bends, tapered correctly, connected to the plenum, sealed, and also make sure if dampers are present that they are open. 

Some solutions are easy, and cheap. Others are more costly. For example, if the system was designed poorly it may be necessary to redesign or reconfigure it. We may need to reposition ducts on the plenum, install dampers, and balance the system manually. 

Needless to say, the issue can be resolved. There is no need to continue living uncomfortably in rooms that won’t heat or cool properly. 

Call Prestige Air

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and air conditioning are ready for the season!

Prestige Air proudly serves Northeast Tarrant County and the Fort Worth, Texas area including Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake, Westlake, Trophy Club, Keller, Watauga, Haltom City, and North Richland Hills.

We look forward to serving you and your household!

Time to Turn Off EM Heat/Aux Heat on Your Heat Pump

This last week here in North Texas has been historically cold. It hasn’t been this cold since 1983. With temperatures in the single digits we have recommended that everyone with a heat pump switch over to emergency heat, or AUX heat.

If you want to understand why, check out our posts here, and here.

The basic idea is that the science behind how a heat pump works means that it won’t work well if the temperature is below freezing. So you need to use your emergency/AUX heat.

Which brings us to the point of this blog post. Temperatures in North Texas are now back above freezing and will be staying there for the foreseeable future. That means it’s time to turn off AUX heat and go back to standard heat pump mode on your thermostat.

This switch will save you 75% on your electricity bill, so we recommend keeping your system in heat pump mode whenever possible.

Call Prestige Air

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

Testing Your Total External Static Pressure (Video)

Total External Static Pressure

In this video I walk you through one of the tests we do on every service call (as a part of our service checklist) and on every maintenance, testing your total external static pressure.

Total external static pressure (TESP) is much like the blood pressure in your body. Airflow circulation is like the blood circulation in your body, and external static pressure is how well the air is moving. If your blood pressure is too high, that causes problems, if it is too low, that causes other problems. The same is true for your total external static pressure (TESP) in your heater or air conditioner.

TESP gives us important data when diagnosing or servicing your system. It can tell us if you have obstructed ducts, clogged coils, air leaks on the return or supply side, and much, much more.

Watch the video below to see how we do it.

Choose Prestige Air to Keep Your HVAC Running Optimally

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

How Does My Float Switch Work? (VIDEO)

In this video I take you on a quick walk through of how your float switch is wired in to your system and how it protects your home. 

Here is the break down. 

High voltage power comes into your HVAC system and is run through a transformer that lowers it to 24v (low voltage). That low voltage is sent down to your thermostat normally via a red wire. This low voltage is how your thermostat controls your system. This wiring is referred to as thermostat wire, or control wire, for obvious reasons. 

The float switch is then entered into the 24v circuit by tying it into the red wire. Now, the red wire comes from the HVAC system and ties into the first wire from the float switch. Then the second wire from the float switch connects to the red wire going to the thermostat. 

We have now inserted a safety switch into the control wiring.

If your main drain clogs and water backs up, it will back up into the float switch which will then shut off the power to the thermostat and thereby the HVAC system. If this happens give us a call and we will come unclog your drains and get the system back up and running in no time.

If your system is in your attic you can see the benefit of turning off the power before it floods. That’s why float switches are referred to as ceiling saver switches. 

Choose Prestige Air to Keep Your HVAC Running Optimally

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

Prestige Air proudly serves Northeast Tarrant County and the Fort Worth, Texas area including Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake, Keller, Watauga, Haltom City, and North Richland Hills.

We look forward to serving you and your household!

A Complete System Check on Every Call

Prestige Air is committed to the pursuit of excellence in serving you and your family’s heating and cooling needs. One of the ways we do this is to perform a complete system check every time you call us out for a repair or service. 

What is Included?

Below is a list of the items we check on every service call.

Indoor:
– Thermostat Type- 
– Mode of Operation – HEAT / COOL
– Temp split-
– Filter Status- 
        – Type/Size-
– Make- 
– Model #-
– Serial #-
– Age-
– Type-
– Auxiliary Drain Pan-
– Float switch-
– Drain Blow-out Valve-
– Is unit level for draining- 
– Transformer:  
        – Primary Voltage = 
        – Secondary Voltage =
– Evaporator coil condition-
– Blower condition-
– Blower Motor:   
        – RLA-  amps   
        – Rated-  amps
– Blower Capacitor:
        – Rated:  uf
        – Actual:  uf
– Control Board-
– Fan Control Board-
– Heat Exchanger Smoke Test- 
– Heat KW-
– Heat Strip Amps/Continuity-
– Hot Surface Ignitor-
– Flame Sensor
– High Limit Switch
– Roll-out Sensor
– Heater Safety Circuit-
– CO Monitor-  PPM
– Gas Leak Detection- 
– Vent Pipe Secured-
– Surge Protector-

– DUCTWORK
– Ductwork Type-
– Ductwork Sealing-
– Zoning Controls-
     – No. of Zones-

Outdoor
– Make-
– Model #-
– Serial #-
– Age-
– Type- 
– Outdoor Temp- 
– Condenser Pad-
– Electrical Whip-
– Surge Protector-
– Service Disconnect: 
– Volts-
– Amps-
– Inrush Amps-
– Contacter-
– Compressor:  
– RLA-  amps  
– Rated-  amps
        – Megohms- 
– Capacitor: 
– Rating-  uf
– Actual-  uf
– Start Assist-
– Motor:  
– RLA-  amps  
– Rated-  amps
– Capacitor: 
– Rating-  uf
– Actual-  uf
– Condenser Coil-
– Refrigerant: 
– High-  psig   
– Low-  psig   
– SubCool-
– SuperHeat-
        – Compression ratio-
– Armiflex-
– Refrigerant Type:  R410a    R22
– Condenser Cleaned? 

Benefits of A Complete System Check

There are many reasons we do this check on every service call…

First, this gives us a more complete picture as to why you had an issue with your HVAC in the first place. More often than not, when a component fails in your air conditioner or heater its is because of some other issue up stream. If we just change the part out without addressing the issue up stream then the new part will fail as well. Doing this check helps us get a complete view of how your system functions. 

Second, it gives us a record of performance history for your system. We save these records in your file in our computer system. As we come out through the years to service or maintain your air conditioner or heater we have a record of performance we can use to determine which parts are failing, what extra maintenance needs to be done, etc. It also gives us the record of the model and serial numbers in case we need to order parts. 

Third, it helps us determine future failure points so we can prevent breakdowns moving forward. Some people want to wait until a part fails before they replace it. But this means that once the part fails the air conditioner or heater breaks down and is inoperable until a service tech can come, diagnose, order, and replace the part. Others want to prevent breakdowns entirely. This complete system check gives us the ability to prevent many breakdowns before they happen by showing us which parts are failing and giving us the opportunity to recommend replacement. If we replace the parts before they fail the system never breaks down. 

Finally, it give you, the homeowner, peace of mind knowing that we did not just swap out a part and leave. You can rest easy knowing we have gone through the entire system and made the necessary recommendations to keep it running. 

If you experience problems with your heating and cooling call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

My Outdoor Unit (Condenser) is Making A Weird Noise

Condenser beside house

The outdoor unit for your HVAC system is the condensing unit. To learn more about what the condenser does read our post here. For straight AC systems the condenser only runs in cooling mode. For heat pump systems the condenser runs in heat mode as well. 

The condenser is a fairly simple mechanical unit and only has a few components that can make noise. Depending on the type of noise we can then determine which component is failing or otherwise not operating as designed. 

Here are a few types of noises you may hear:

  1. Electrical buzzing
  2. Knocking or grinding 
  3. Mid to high pitch humming
  4. Loose rattling
  5. Overall rattle (like an off-balance dryer in your laundry room)

Electrical Buzzing

Inside the control panel of your condensing unit is the contactor. When the thermostat engages the condenser it does so by using low voltage to close the contactor. Once the contactor closes high voltage now passes through it to the other components inside the condenser. 

High voltage comes into the bottom of the contactor directly from the high voltage disconnect on your home. The contactor is basically a switch, like the light switch on your wall. When the contactor closes, or engages, the high voltage can now pass through it. 

When contactors begin to fail they rattle and buzz from the voltage passing through them. They can fail from corrosion and build up on the contacts, weathering, bugs getting in to them, or parts getting loose and failing. 

The way we fix this is to either clean the contactor of the debris causing the noise, or if it is corroded too badly or has parts failing we simply replace it. It is a quick fix and easy to resolve. 

Knocking or Grinding

Inside the center of the condensing unit is the compressor. It takes a low pressure refrigerant in gas form and compresses into a high pressure and high temperature gas that can then be condensed into a liquid. If you get low on refrigerant or the compressor begins to fail it gets loud and begins to knock or grind. 

Unfortunately, compressors are hermetically sealed components, which means we can’t open them up and repair them. If the compressor is failing it has to be replaced. When this situation comes up (which is rare) we usually recommend replacing the entire outdoor unit. The cost to replace a compressor is almost as much as replacing the entire condenser and a compressor only comes with a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer. A new condenser comes with a 10-year warranty. Because of these factors we recommend replacing the entire outdoor unit. 

Mid to High Pitch Humming

On the top of your condenser is the fan and motor. The fan pulls air through the condenser, over the coils, extracting heat from the refrigerant to condense the high pressure gas refrigerant into a liquid. If the fan motor begins to fail, or if the fan blade is damaged or off-balance in any way the fan will begin to hum. 

Condenser fan motor and fan blade

In this scenario we will inspect the fan blade for damage or balance issues and then run diagnostics on the fan motor. If we can reset the fan blade on the motor we may be able to fix the hum, otherwise we have to look at replacing the fan motor, the fan blade, or both. This usually takes an hour or so to complete but resolves the issue immediately. 

Loose Rattle

Many customers complain of a loose and annoying rattling sound coming from their outdoor unit. Typically this is just a loose screw that has given opportunity to one of the panels on the condenser to vibrate and rattle. There usually isn’t a bigger, underlying issue involved with this type of noise. 

When this happens we inspect the condenser and find the missing screw or the loose panel and either add a new screw or simply tighten the existing ones. In more extreme cases we add a bit of rubber backing under the noisy panel and then tighten the screw. This usually resolves the issue. 

Overall Rattle

Occasionally we get customers complaining of a much louder, harder rattle from their condenser. This one is closer to the sound of an off-balance washing machine or dryer walking around in your laundry room, and is due to the same cause, the condenser is off-balance. 

This can be caused by a number of different issues. If the condenser fan motor is coming loose from the shroud, or if the fan blades are off-balance, or if the condenser pad is no longer level, etc. 

In cases like this we need to find the cause of the imbalance and try to resolve the issue by re-securing the fan motor to the shroud, re-leveling the condenser pad, etc. Sometimes it will be a bad component causing the imbalance and sometimes it’s just time and outdoor weather conditions that cause the issue. 

Wrapping Up

In summary, noisy condensers are annoying, no doubt, but they provide a warning to you as the homeowner that something is going wrong, and necessary clues to us as to what needs to be repaired. 

If you experience problems with your condenser call Prestige Air. Our expert service professionals have the training and experience to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year long. Call (817) 200-7215 to make sure your heating and cooling are ready for the season!

Prestige Air proudly serves Northeast Tarrant County and the Fort Worth, Texas area including Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake, Keller, Watauga, Haltom City, and North Richland Hills.

We look forward to serving you and your household!