Seasonal HVAC Tips

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Beware of the $19.95 special

Most established companies have an idea what an experienced factory-trained technician costs. A quality technician is paid more than $19.95 an hour. Now add overhead, insurance, vehicle cost, and fuel. You see where I am going with this. Our technicians are paid an hourly rate. They make no commission on parts or service calls. If you do not need it, they will not sell it. We have all heard the outcome of the “specials”. $19.95 to walk in the door turns into hundreds of dollars by the time the call is over. Just remember: You get what you pay for.

Monthly DIY AC Maintenance

  1. Replace your air filter at least monthly in the hot and cold months. In the spring and fall you may be able to get away with two to three months on the same filter but definitely inspect it. If you are not sure how much dust is too much dust replace it. Replacing a filter is cheap when compared to replacing a part or the whole system as a result of it being over-worked because of a clogged filter.
  2. Keep Supply Return Vents Clear. This one should be performed monthly as well. Your home may have several return vents depending on the systems design, and they should all be kept clear. Regardless of how many you have, there is definitely at least one in the wall or door that leads to the interior unit. Make sure it is dust-free once a month and your system will be more efficient and less expensive to operate. Aside from dust, any obstruction in front of these returns can cause your air conditioning to not operate efficiently. If you notice a decrease in your AC system’s performance, confirm that your returns are not covered by furniture, drapes, toy boxes, dog beds, etc..
  3. Inspect and Clean the Condensate Drain. What the heck is a condensate drain? Don’t worry, this one is easier than it may sound. The condensate drain is just a small PVC pipe that allows water that might collect in your indoor unit to trickle outside. You can find it by identifying the indoor unit, which is probably in a closet or your garage, and looking for a small PVC pipe with a cap on it. That cap should come off pretty easily and allow you to pour a quarter of a cup of vinegar down the drain monthly. That little bit of effort will keep it from becoming clogged up and restricting the flow of water out of your indoor unit. If it does get clogged up, your system may stop working, so this one is critical. This also makes it a good place to try a DIY repair if your system stops working suddenly.
  4. Clear Away Foliage or Debris From the exterior AC Unit. Any vegetation whether dead or alive that might restrict the airflow into or out of the outdoor unit must be removed. This is another one you should check monthly, if any landscaping is making it’s way within 18” of the unit, trim it back. If leaves or twigs are laying on top of the unit, be sure to clear them away.
  5. Hose down the unit. You know how dusty your car gets during pollen season? The same pollen and dust can accumulate on your exterior unit and cause it to have to work harder to heat or cool your home. So after you have cleared away any debris or foliage around the unit, just give it a quick spray with the hose.

DIY Repair Tips

There are a couple of common problems that can cause your AC system to stop working. The two most common that many homeowners can fix themselves are that the Condensate Drain Line is clogged, or that the system is frozen over because the filter got too dirty. If you are a dedicated DIYer you can try these two fixes yourself and see if it solves the problem. If you’re the type of person that prefers to call a professional, we understand completely. You can call us with the confidence that if it’s a simple fix, we’ll get it fixed quickly, at a reasonable price, and be on our way. DIYers, read on…

Clogged Condensate Drain Line. This is a common problem in Florida where our year-round warm temperatures make a moist drain line an ideal place for algae and fungus to grow and restrict the line. If this line is not able to remove water efficiently, you can end up with water damage inside your home. To prevent that from happening, your indoor unit has a sensor in place that will prevent it from turning on if the water is not draining quickly enough.

  1. Inspect and Clean the Condensate Drain. If you’ve read the AC maintenance tips, you already know what this is and where it’s located, but if not, don’t worry, this one is easier than it may sound. You can find it by identifying the indoor unit, which is probably in a closet or your garage, and looking for a small PVC pipe with a cap on it. That cap should come off pretty easily and allow you to slowly pour a cup of vinegar down the drain. Do this slowly so if the line is really clogged up, you don’t end up with vinegar all over the place. As the line clears the vinegar should disappear down the drain more quickly as you pour.
  2. Suction out the Condensate Drain. If you poured the full cup of vinegar down the condensate drain and it still barely trickled out the other end, it may be a particularly stubborn clog. To remove these, you can often place a wet/dry vacuum hose over the exit end of the line and turn it on. Even with the hose very loosely over the exit end of the drain line, it should create enough suction to remove any particularly stubborn growths that are still in the line after pouring down the vinegar.
  3. You may still want to call Koontz. If you tried these steps and your system didn’t immediately come back on, you can do one of two things, if you are confident in your abilities to restart a frozen system, follow the steps we have outlined for that procedure. If not, call us, we will send out a friendly professional to take a look at your system and fix it on the spot if at all possible.

Freezing up your system. This is one of the most common issues and can generally be fixed by most homeowners with little more than the knowledge of where your indoor system is, and possibly (but not necessarily) a screwdriver.

  1. Check your air filter. If you’ve already read the seasonal tips, you know it’s critical to replace your air filter regularly. But the reality is, sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans, and you forget to replace your filter for a few months. If this is the case, and the system has been working particularly hard, a dirty filter can cause the system to freeze up. The first step is to remove the filter from the system and inspect it. If it’s dirty, wet and cold (and possibly has ice on it) it’s very likely that the system is only frozen up and just needs to be thawed out to start working again.
  2. Thaw out the unit. This one might seem pretty straight forward, if the system froze up and stopped working, it’s probably awfully hot in the house, so the unit’s going to thaw out, no problem right? Yes and no. Here are some steps to guarantee the process goes as quickly as possible. First, turn the system off. Second, set the thermostat to be on “fan” only. How you do this will vary from thermostat to thermostat but you will probably see a fan icon somewhere on the readout. You may have to press the mode button over and over again until you just see the fan icon. If you’re not sure, don’t worry about it, just leave the system off. The system will thaw out on its own, it will just take a little longer.
  3. Clean out the condensate pan. There’s likely to be quite a bit of ice on your coils whether you can see it or not. With the system off, that ice is about to start turning into water. Removing a little water is a normal part of the operation of you indoor unit, and there is a pan that is designed to collect it and keep it from going all over the house. Your system is about to put a lot of water in that pan, now is the time to make sure that pan is clean and the water can reach the drain easily.
  4. Inspect and Clean the Condensate Drain. If you’ve read the AC maintenance tips, you already know what this is and where it’s located, but if not, don’t worry, this one is easier than it may sound. The condensate drain is just a small PVC pipe that allows water that regularly collects in your indoor unit to trickle outside. You just inspected and possibly cleaned the pan that this drain is connected to, so now is a good time to make sure the drain line itself can let that water flow out of the house easily. Go ahead and pour a full cup of vinegar down there very slowly, if you have a helper, have them walk outside and verify it is coming out the other end outside of the house. If it is not draining freely, one last step out can try is to place the hose of a wet vac over the outside end of the drain line and suck out any gunk that’s in there.
  5. You may still want to call Koontz. If your system is freezing up regularly, or you are unsure about your ability to complete the steps above, call us, we’ll send out a friendly professional to take a look at your system and fix it on the spot if at all possible.
Testimonial

Julian Bergman
Julian Bergman
2024-06-24
Have used Koontz since I built my new home in 8/2006 and my daughter's. Worked with Chris Koontz to design system in my home- 2 units plus active returns in all bedrooms and 2 main returns. He is extremely knowledgeable and a great person to work for. His installers and techs are extremely knowledgeable and if they do not know the answer they are not hesitant to call the a/c vo. rep.for guidance. Hey just replaced 4 units in My home and my daughter. The office staff is always helpful.
Y SF
Y SF
2024-06-22
Excellent and very quick response Thank you Jennifer, Jonathan, and Karen
Jacqueline Bodnar
Jacqueline Bodnar
2024-06-22
We’ve used their services numerous times. They are always quick to respond, provide good service, and get us up and running. 👍🏻
Steve Kirschner
Steve Kirschner
2024-06-22
Very professional. Identified the problem and then an appointment to fix it.
Lutheria Bell
Lutheria Bell
2024-06-22
Been with this company for over 20 years. Friendly staff & timely response when called.
Bill May
Bill May
2024-06-21
This company went above and beyond. I'd recommend them to anyone.

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