When to Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioner System?

Summer is upon us and most people have just started to use their air conditioners. If you have noticed that your unit is not running like it should be, you might be considering the decision to repair it vs. replacing it. There are many factors to take into consideration when making that decision.

First you want to look at THE AGE of your unit. The age of your unit plays a critical factor when deciding to either repair or replace your unit. A great way to help figure this out is by a simple math equation: You take the age of the equipment and multiply that by the repair cost. If the number is more than $5,000, then you should consider replacement. For example, a 10-year-old unit with a $350 repair equals $3,500. It’s OK to repair. Most units are recommended to be replaced every 10-15 years, but if you do not need to service it and it’s still running, repairing it should work just fine.

Next you want to look at the EFFICIENCY. There is a lot of new technology with A/C units out on the market. It is being recommended that units older than 15 years old be replaced with more energy-efficient units. Energy bills are always the highest in summer and winter when you have you’re A/C or heating units running the most. If you do buy a new, energy-efficient A/C unit, it is estimated that you could have a 20 percent savings on heating and cooling costs. That could be a huge incentive to replace your unit.

Another factor to take into account is HOW LONG YOU WILL BE AT THE RESIDENCE. If you are only living at your residence temporarily and the unit is running efficiently, economically it might be a better choice to do repairs every now and then, rather than pay for a brand new unit. If you know that you will be living in the residence for many years, replacing your unit could save you money in the long run. Paying for a good brand new unit will also save you from having to worry every year whether or not your unit will be working adequately.

If you constantly have to have MAINTENANCE done to your unit, this might be an indicator that it’s time to get a new unit. A great benefit to brand new units is that they come with a warranty! This means many years of saving money if there are any issues with your new unit. Just to have that peace of mind is a huge positive factor. On the other hand, you will still want to remember the $5,000 rule stated above. If your repairs are less than $5,000 then it’s okay to just repair it.

Another thing to consider is Comfort & Air Quality. Newer systems do a better job of controlling temperature and humidity, which reduces mold and mildew growth, improving both comfort and air quality in your home. If you have someone in your household that suffers from allergies, newer models can help with filtering out and keeping the temperatures regulated so they can be more comfortable in their living space.

The last thing to think about would be CONVENIENCE. Are you tired of having to constantly maintain your unit, find a part for it, replace your coolant, or suffer thru the heat and cold when it’s not working properly? Those are all reasons to get a new unit. If your unit is keeping you cool, or warm, only needs seasonal tune ups and your energy bills are relatively low, then there is no need to replace your unit.

Signs that indicate your Air Conditioning Unit is on its way out

Before the temperature starts jumping into the triple digits, it’s time to make sure your air conditioning unit is ready to take on the summer heat! In addition to having a regular maintenance check from your Sacramento HVAC professional, its important to know what to look for when it comes to signs that your AC unit could be on its way out, because the last thing you want is to be stuck without a functioning air conditioner during a California summer day!

Below we have put together a list of the warning signs of an AC unit that is about to die; take a look at the 7 signs below and if any of them apply to your air conditioner, be sure to get in touch with your heating and air company today!

7 signs indicating your AC could be on its way out


  1. An increase in your energy bills: Even though you can expect seasonal increases in 
your energy bills during the winter and summer, huge hikes in your energy bill could be an indication that your HVAC system is working too hard. If your air conditioner has to work harder to put out the amount of cool air, there could be an issue with the unit itself and might even need replacing altogether.
  2. Lack of cool air, poor production: An air-conditioning unit is meant to produce cold air, not just blow air around like a fan would, so if you notice that your AC system isn’t making cold anymore there is probably a problem. It’s important to contact your HVAC professional if this problem persists because the issue could be related to a faulty compressor, a leak in the refrigerant, or another mechanical issue.
  3. Poor air flow: Similar to sign number 2, a lack of airflow or an inability to perform at peak levels could also be an indication that your AC unit is on the way out. If after checking the air filters and cleaning them the airflow is still weak, it’s a good idea to call an HVAC maintenance professional to schedule an inspection, as this is a sign of mechanical problems as well.
  4. Frequent repairs: Speaking of repairs, while it’s always important to maintain regular appointments with your HVAC Company, if you notice that you seem to spending more time and money on problems and repairs with your air conditioner, chances are the unit might need replacing. As with any repair or replacement concerns, check with your local HVAC professional for advice before making any decisions.
  5. Constant start-ups: Any out of the ordinary behavior from an HVAC unit is typically the sign of problem. Should you notice that your system is constantly restarting after just being on (i.e., it has to work harder to keep your home cool), make sure you are up to date with your seasonal tune-ups; if you are up to date and inefficient starts and stops keep happening with your air conditioner, it could be time for an HVAC replacement.
  6. Making odd noises: The usual noises associated with air conditioners and heaters you 
are likely already familiar with, but if you ever hear you A/C unit rattling or making high-pitched noises when it’s operating, call your HVAC repair company immediately because this could be a sign that your air conditioner is on its way out!
  7. Inefficient production: Overtime you may begin to notice that your air conditioner doesn’t perform the way it did in the past; for example, different rooms throughout the house may be cooler than others, it may take longer for the house to cool, etc. Whatever the sign of aging may be, it doesn’t hurt to call a local HVAC professional for advice regarding your specific situation.

So why wait to make sure your AC unit is ready for another record-breaking California summer? Give All Year a call today to schedule your quick, HVAC tune-up today!

Getting Ready for Air Conditioner Season

Now that summer is just around the corner, it’s time to prepare our homes for the hot weather to come and one of the most important things on that to do list is getting our air conditioning units ready for the season. In addition to having a standard tune-up performed on your system, there are a few other steps you can take to help get your A/C unit in top shape for the upcoming summer season!

Check your thermostat

First things first, be sure to change the batteries in your thermostat if you haven’t within the last couple of months. You definitely don’t want to be forced to call an HVAC Repair Company over what you think is a major problem, only to find out that the thermostat simply died.

Also consider investing in a programmable thermostat; some of the benefits associated with investing in a new thermostat include an improvement in energy efficiency, and an overall reduction in energy-related bills and expenditures. An outdated thermostat operating in tandem with an outdated A/C unit can be incredibly inefficient; so don’t hesitate to ask your HVAC technician if this is a concern of yours.

Time for a little spring-cleaning!

When it comes to doing your part to keep the air conditioning system of your home clean, there are two main jobs to remember; first, clean the air filters, and second, maintain a clean and clear space around the A/C unit itself. To keep your air conditioner functioning properly this summer, make sure to clean the surrounding area of the unit, including mowing or trimming grass or weeds, removing branches, leaves, etc. Also keep all shrubs and trees at least 2 feet away from the unit.

A clogged and dirty air filter can dramatically impact how your unit functions, as it can cause a back up situation when the air cannot flow through properly, often resulting in the unit seizing up. Additionally, dirty and clogged air filters can decrease the efficiency of your A/C this summer, so unless you have washable air filters, it is important to remember to replace them every 30-60 days.

Keep your home cool by keeping the sun out

Another way to help keep your home cool this summer is by using window coverings, shades, blackout drapes, and other materials made to keep sun from penetrating to the inside of your house. And by keeping your home cooler with methods like that, you also reduce the stress on your HVAC unit because it won’t have to work as hard to keep the inside cool!

Schedule a tune-up with a professional A/C company

An experienced HVAC technician will be able to identify any potential problems during a tune up that could jeopardize the longevity of your A/C system and make your summer a whole lot hotter than it has to be! Not to mention the fact that with regular maintenance, which helps to extend the life and protect the value of the HVAC system, regular checks from a professional technician can help to improve the efficiency of your A/C.

So don’t be afraid to give our friendly staff at All Year a call today, and let us know how we can help you get ready for the A/C season!

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Everyone makes sure that kids wash their hands to avoid spreading germs. However, germs can be spread in your own home in more ways than you might think.

The Center for Disease Control has reported that poor indoor air quality can actually contribute to respiratory diseases such as asthma, or even cause other side effects such as headaches, nasal mucus, and fatigue. There are many unbelievable statistics to back up these findings. The American College of Allergists report that indoor air pollution causes or contributes to 50% of all illnesses. According to the Texas DSHS, indoor air is two to five times worse than outdoor air.

So why is indoor air so polluted?

There are two main factors contributing to poor indoor air quality.

  1. Direct Air Pollutants
  2. Poor Ventilation

Air Pollutants

Some examples of direct air pollutants include certain cleaning solutions, tobacco smoke, unsanitary heating or cooling units, pesticides, etc. Many of these products are found in your home without your knowledge to the short-term or long-term damage they might be causing. Some people are highly sensitive and might start showing side effects after just one exposure to a pollutant. For example, they might experience eye irritation, headaches, or dizziness.

However, some health effects only present themselves years after a long period of extended exposure to a pollutant. These effects are more serious and often less treatable than the others. For example, someone could learn that they have contracted cancer or serious lung or heart disease.

Poor Ventilation

Your air filtration and ventilation systems act as quality control for the air that is carried around your entire home. This is the air that keeps you and your family alive, so it is a good idea to be aware of its quality. There are a few different options when it comes to air filtration.

You can use a basic, disposable fiberglass air filter. This is a very common choice, because it is incredibly economical. This type of air filter will definitely keep larger particles from getting through, which will keep large amounts of dust and dirt out, but it will do nothing to actually clean the air and rid it of harmful germs.

It is up to you to examine your air filtration needs and determine which resource will best take care of your home or building.

Why is my furnace producing weird odors?

What those smells coming from your furnace could indicate and what to do about them

Many homeowners have experienced smelling a weird odor coming from their furnace and wondered what it could be, but did you know that those odd smells could actually be an indication of a problem with your furnace? While’s it’s not particularly uncommon for an HVAC unit to cause some type of smell upon its first use after a long summer, some odors are potentially a sign of a major problem. Here are 3 of the most common smells that your home’s furnace could produce and what you should do about it:

Rotten egg smell

One of the easier smells to recognize is the odor of rotten eggs, what many think of as that sort of classic, offensive sulfur smell. The fact that the smell is so pungent is a positive thing however, because it lets homeowners know about the presence of a gas leak coming from the furnace. Since gas has no natural odor to it, manufacturers add the sulfuric rotten egg smell to the gas with the purpose of acting as an indicator of the presence of gas.

If you happen to notice this smell its imperative to immediately turn the furnace off, and open up the windows your home to let the gas out. Be sure to call your HVAC specialist as soon as possible and let them know that you think your furnace has a gas leak, and leave your house to let it air out if the smell is overpowering.

Burning electrical smell

Similar to how the smell of rotten eggs is very distinct, the odor created by burning or overheated electrical wires is hard to mistake, especially since most homeowners have probably not had to smell such an odor in their home’s before. The smell of burning metal or wires coming from your furnace is something to take very seriously, as it likely part of the mechanics within the furnace that is overheating or in the process of doing so.

Your HVAC system could also produce this smell when worn out rubber and plastic pieces within the furnace start to overheat, yet another reason why it’s so important to maintain regularly scheduled furnace checks from your HVAC service technician. No matter what the cause is if you notice any burning smells coming from your furnace, turn your system off right away and contact your heat and air specialist for an immediate appointment.

Burning dust smell

After not using your furnace for several months, dirt and dust tends to accumulate in the ducts and vents and therefore could cause a smell when you first turn on your furnace after it being off for an extended period. However, if that burning smell persists for too long, consider changing the air filter of the unit. Should that not clear up the smell, it’s time to give your HVAC technician a call.

Since your air conditioning unit uses water to create cold air, condensation does occur and therefore, there is a potential for mold to form within your HVAC system. A musty smell coming from your furnace could be a sign that mold has formed in the duct system and is in need of a thorough cleaning. Be sure to call All Year HVAC for service.

Even if you aren’t sure what the reason or odor you smell could be, it’s always a good idea to call your local heating and air expert just to be safe. And remember that the best way to prevent such issues from happening to your HVAC system in the first place is by regularly scheduling routine inspections and tune-ups from your trusted service technician.

How to Disguise Your Home Thermostat!

While everyone can appreciate the functionality and convenience of a wall-mounted thermostat, the aesthetically conscious are sometimes less thrilled about the plastic eyesore. Especially during the milder seasons of the year, home decorators might feel at a loss for what to do with these little boxes. Here are a few tips on how to camouflage your thermostat without compromising its function.

Hide it in plain sight.

A sneaky and incredibly effective tactic is hiding your thermostat in plain sight. By decorating the wall around your thermostat with a collage of picture frames, for example, you draw the attention away from the clunky thermostat and towards the decoration. Even if somebody notices the placement of the thermostat, it does not steal the focus from your wall. Eyes will be drawn towards the pictures and the little box will just blend right in.

Another idea is you can spell out a word using wall decals and strategically fit your thermostat within the letters. Wall decals can be used in other ways to, even for framing or decorating your thermostat.

Decorate it.

If you get to the point that you just accept that the box is taking up wall space and you are just going to make the most of it, you should try to decorate the thermostat itself. You can get very creative with this and let your thermostat actually add to the interior design of your home rather than detract from it. As long as you are careful not to cover any vital functions, you can use paint or permanent markers to liven up your unit with a fun quote or design. Decorative tape can also help your thermostat to be more appealing. Walk into any craft store and let your imagination run wild with this one.

Paint it the same color as the wall.

If you are still really set on having your thermostat blend in, you can always paint the plastic case the same color as the wall. This is especially effective for units that are placed on blank walls, but be careful not to paint over screens or buttons.

Use a shelf.

Another creative option is to strategically mount a shelf underneath your thermostat to create the illusion that it is intentionally placed there. The shelf can hold other more attractive decorations, like a small plant, canvas or picture frame. Those objects will carry the attention away from your thermostat, so it is barely even noticed.

Cover it.

Lastly, if nothing is working and you must have the ugly thermostat out of sight you can strategically cover it. There are various methods that can be used based on where your unit is located. Some can be covered simply with a curtain, but others might require you to use hinges to mount a canvas — or any hollowed out wall decoration — over top of the unit. Whatever you choose to use, make sure that your thermostat is always easily accessible to you and do not hide it so well that you can no longer find it!

Stay Warm and Safe this Winter Season!

When it comes to staying warm during the winter, many of us don’t think beyond cranking up our heaters, or turning on the fireplace to beat the cold and keep our homes comfortable. Since we spend much more of our time indoors during the winter months trying to stay out of the rainy and windy weather, there are a few things to remember to do to make sure your home is safe and warm this winter. Take a look at the list of tips we have provided below that could help you avoid heating problems.

• Practice space heater safety: Many homeowners will use a space heater, if not multiple, as an efficient and relatively easy way to heat portions of our homes. While most space heaters are safe and well made, be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations for operation when using a space heater. Remember to only use the space heater on hard, flat surfaces and to keep it at least 10 feet away from anything flammable.

• Use a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat will not only help you keep your home nice and warm this winter, but it also helps reduce energy costs by keeping your home’s heating and air system working efficiently. By programming your thermostat to heat your home when it’s needed and to turn off when no one is home, your home will stay warmer and your energy costs will stay low, too!

• Install carbon monoxide detectors: Your home is not truly safe without the presence of carbon monoxide detectors on every floor; carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can potentially kill you if exposed to it for too long. Just like smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide detectors can alert you to the presence of the danger and therefore must be installed and regularly checked for functionality and battery power, in every home as a matter of safety.

• Have your chimney cleaned and inspected: If you have a fireplace and plan on operating it during the winter, it’s a good idea to have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional, as your chimney could become a source of carbon monoxide when it’s not regularly maintained.

• Seal leaks in windows and doors: One primary way that heat escapes our homes is through leaks and cracks in the seals of windows and doors, in addition to leaks in the ceiling and attic. Do yourself the favor of checking all of those areas for leaks and re- caulk them if necessary.

• Check all vents: It can be easy to forget about checking all the vents in your home but doing so is important because a blocked vent can impact how well a heating and air unit is able to heat your home. Make sure to move any pieces of furniture or other objects that are blocking or obstructing the flow of air coming from the vents.

Schedule a furnace tune up: When you schedule a professional tune up with a Heating and Air expert like All Year, your home’s heating and air system can be inspected for problems and properly maintained for the demands you will be putting on it this winter. In addition to performing a thorough tune up, changing the air filter, and checking for mechanical problems that could affect airflow, your All Year heating and air technician can give you valuable information that could help you improve the efficiency and safety of your heating system even further.

What to do when your heater won’t heat

When you turn on the furnace in your Sacramento home, the last thing you want is to get hit with a blast of cool air. This inconvenience is actually pretty common and might be simpler to fix than you think. Before you call a heating and air conditioning technician to come out and inspect your Sacramento furnace, try a few of these troubleshooting tips.

  • Check your thermostat

Just as easy as it sounds. Check to make sure that your system is set to “auto” and not “on”. If the thermostat is set to “on” it will continuously blow air into your house, regardless of whether or not the air is being heated. The “auto” setting will kick on your system only when the furnace is actually heating the air to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. After that adjustment, make sure that the desired temperature is set to be warmer than the current temperature in your house. If your thermostat does not seem to be responding, then it might be time to replace the thermostat batteries.

  • Air Filter

If an air filter has not been replaced recently, there is a good chance it has become dirty and clogged. A clogged filter will restrict the airflow into your furnace and can actually overheat your system, which initiated a safeguard in which the system stops heating altogether. Filters should be changed monthly, to best avoid this problem and others.

A clogged air filter will soon cause other problems as well as inefficient heating, such as increased energy bills. As your system struggles to take in air, it will have to work much harder to heat your home, and you will pay extra for it. Air blowing through a dirty filter can also pump harmful allergens throughout your home. In other words, it is well worth your time to check your air filter and make sure it is performing properly.

  • Duct Work

If you are still experiencing trouble with your heater, the culprit might likely be your air ducts. According to the National Comfort Institute, the average duct system in the U.S. is only 57% effective because of a wide variety of potential problems. The greatest problem is a poorly designed duct system that cannot deliver the proper airflow, even if the equipment is functioning properly. Lots of air ducts experience leakage, which can quickly become a great expense to you as the system overworks itself to make up for the leaked air. By getting your ducts sealed, you will lose less warm air and bring your bill down.

Flexible, plastic air ducts are now common in many homes and can be found often in the attic. These insulating materials can easily be kinked or torn which will also leak warm air. Also, If your air filter was dirty, likelihood is that your air ducts are dirty too; so to keep the air in your home clean and comfortable, keep your air ducts clean.

These are the simplest ways to ensure that your furnace is working at its full potential and keeping your family nice and warm.

Why isn’t my furnace working?

When you turn on the furnace in your Sacramento home, the last thing you want is to get hit with a blast of cool air. This inconvenience is actually pretty common and might be simpler to fix than you think. Before you call a heating and air conditioning technician to come out and inspect your Sacramento furnace, try a few of these troubleshooting tips.

Fuse Box

The first thing to do is ensure that your furnace is still getting power. Inspect your fuse box for any tripped circuit breakers. If you do find tripped circuit breakers, it might indicate that you have a problem with your electrical system and you should consult a technician.

If that isn’t a problem, then check your furnace’s power switch, usually located on the side of the furnace, and ensure that the switch is switched “on”. Some units feature another fuse by the power switch, which can sometimes be blown. If the fuse is blackened, then ask a technician to inspect your system and identify the problem.

Ventilation

Older furnaces tend to vent through chimneys, but newer units often have fresh air intakes and exhausts that ventilate along the sides of the home. If these ports of entry and exit become blocked, it will cause your furnace to not function properly. Check to make sure that no leaves, dirt or excessive moisture have contaminated the outdoor vents.

Thermostat

Just as easy as it sounds. Check to make sure that your system is set to “auto” and not “on”. If the thermostat is set to “on” it will continuously blow air into your house, regardless of whether or not the air is being heated. The “auto” setting will kick on your system only when the furnace is actually heating the air to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. After that adjustment, make sure that the desired temperature is set to be warmer than the current temperature in your house. If your thermostat does not seem to be responding, then it might be time to replace the thermostat batteries.

Air Filter

If an air filter has not been replaced recently, there is a good chance it has become dirty and clogged. A clogged filter will restrict the airflow into your furnace and can actually overheat your system. A safeguard causes an overheated system to stop heating altogether, so filters are very important. Filters should be changed about every three months to best avoid this problem and others.

Air Duct

If you are still experiencing trouble with your furnace, the culprit might be your air ducts. According to the National Comfort Institute, the average duct system in the U.S. is only 57% effective because of a wide variety of potential problems. The greatest problem is a poorly designed duct system that cannot deliver the proper airflow, even if the furnace equipment is functioning properly. Lots of air ducts experience leakage, which can strain your furnace as it overworks itself to make up for the leaked air. By getting your ducts sealed, you will lose less warm air and improve your system’s efficiency.

These are the simplest ways to ensure that your furnace is working at its full potential and keeping your home nice and warm!

Why Your Furnace Could Be Blowing Cold Air

So you’re all cozied up on the couch watching your favorite show, waiting for the heater to kick on and surround you in warmth when suddenly–you feel cold air coming from the furnace!? As uncomfortable as it sounds, this situation is more common that you might think, but before calling your Sacramento furnace expert for a home visit, let’s take a look at a few steps you can take to solve this annoying cold air problem!

Reasons why your furnace could be blowing cold air

Professional Sacramento furnace experts are likely to recommend that you check the following if your heater is blowing out cold air:

  1. The Thermostat: Yes you really do need to check the thermostat! While it may not
    seem like the thermostat could be the culprit behind the cold air problem, it is the first place that your furnace technician will check when inspecting the heating system. Is your thermostat set on the “auto” mode, or the “on” mode? You want the thermostat on the “auto” mode because that way, the heating system isn’t blowing air out continuously and instead only blows out the air when it is being heated.

  2. The Air Filters: When the air filters are not regularly cleaned out, they will eventually become clogged and a clogged air filter system can result in restricted airflow. This affects your furnace by causing the system to overheat and upon overheating, a furnace will stop producing hot air as a safety mechanism. How can you prevent this from happening? Simply remember to clean out the air filters every couple months to keep them from getting clogged!

  3. The Ductwork: The ductwork is the part of the heating system that the air passes through, basically the vents and other air duct that deliver air throughout your house.

This part of the furnace unit could be the reason behind your cold air problem if there are any connection issues or leaks, which lets the warm air leak out of the ducts instead of warming up your home. Not only does this make your home colder, but it also ends up hurting your pocketbook because it takes more time and energy to get the hot air inside. Should your ductwork need adjustments, it’s best to have your local Sacramento furnace expert handle it as such work requires some technical skills.

Additional things to consider…

  • Try not to crank up the temperature too high, or keep it at a high setting for a long period of time.
  • Program your thermostat to heat your home when you are there, and to go off when no one’s home, that way you don’t run the furnace unnecessarily.
  • Keep a regular maintenance schedule with your trusted Sacramento furnace company. An expert HVAC technician can spot furnace issues that can lead to cold air problems during the winter months, which means that you won’t have to worry about sitting in a chilly house with cold air coming out of your furnace this year!