Air Conditioning posts

Beat the Heat with these 4 Summer AC Maintenance Tips

When the summer months hit, many people choose to stay indoors in order to stay cool. Even if you have a fully functioning AC unit, there are ways to make it work even better. Proper maintenance of the unit is one of the best ways to ensure that you stay as cool as possible no matter how hot it gets outside. Check out these air conditioning tips to help you make the most of this and every summer!

1. Program Your Thermostat 

Using a programmable thermostat helps to preserve the life span of the unit, because it stops the unit from over working on a daily basis. By keeping the temperature in the home at one steady number instead of constantly changing the temperature manually, the unit tends to experience less stress. Programming your thermostat can save key components from wearing out and extend the length of time you can expect to get good results from the unit. This also helps to keep your utility bills low in the hotter months, when many people find their cooling costs spike.

2. Change Your Filters Often

While it may seem like a small thing, changing your air filter can actually have a big impact on how well the unit works. Clean filters trap dust, debris, animal dander, allergens, and other pollutants that tend to reduce the air quality over time. Many homeowners find it hard to remember to change the filters regularly on top of all the other home maintenance tasks they do. If you find it hard to remember to change your air filters regularly, try putting a reminder on your calendar. You can also schedule a regular maintenance check with an HVAC technician so that you don’t have to worry about it.

3. Be Mindful of Unusual Sounds and Smells

When your AC unit is working properly, you shouldn’t hear or smell anything unusual. Knocking sounds or burning smells can be some of the first signs that an issue exists with the unit. If you do smell or hear something funny, it’s important to have the unit checked immediately by an experienced HVAC technician. Otherwise, you may end up having to make an emergency repair call in the middle of the night once the unit stops working. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can be way more expensive than just addressing the issue when it initially appears.

4. Schedule Regular Maintenance with an HVAC Professional 

No matter how diligent you are inside the home, issues can arise outside that cause your HVAC unit to stop working. Curious insects and rodents can find their way inside the unit. rain can get where it shouldn’t be and short circuit components, and components can wear out and need replacement. Only an experienced HVAC professional can identify the signs of these and other common issues and fix them quickly. As an added bonus, a regular maintenance check from a qualified technician will give you a better idea of the current status of your unit and keep you aware of issues that may be taking hold with the unit.

Keep Your HVAC System Maintained Year-Round

If you want to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently year-round, you’ll need to keep up with air conditioner maintenance through every season. At Sheldon’s, we make year-round maintenance easy with our HVAC maintenance plans. With experienced HVAC technicians serving clients in the Riverside and Los Angeles County areas, our maintenance services can help identify and fix any issues that might plague your AC unit.

Contact us to schedule a maintenance service.

Air Conditioner Lifespan: When is it Time to Pull the Plug?

Buying a new air conditioner is a big investment. It’s important to understand how long your air conditioner’s lifespan really is and when it’s time to replace so that you can budget appropriately when it’s time to finally pull the plug on your old unit. Below, we’ll discuss how long a typical AC unit lasts, when you know it’s time to replace, and what you can do to prolong the life of your air conditioner.

How long will my AC last?

The average lifespan of a central air conditioning unit is 15 to 20 years. However, if you want your air conditioner to perform optimally during this time, it’s important that you take care of your system with adequate maintenance.

Here are just a few of the preventative HVAC maintenance tasks that you should routinely complete to prolong the life of your AC equipment:

  • Replace your air filter every 1-3 months.
  • Get a seasonal HVAC tune-up, preferably before winter and summer.
  • Keep your air conditioning equipment clean and well lubricated.
  • Get your HVAC equipment inspected for repair needs.
  • Repair or replace any damaged parts as soon as possible.

Many homeowners find that an HVAC maintenance plan is the best way to ensure that their HVAC system gets the proper maintenance it needs throughout the year. With an HVAC maintenance agreement, you get the benefit of having an experienced and licensed HVAC technician inspect, clean, and maintain your system for optimal performance. Learn more about Sheldon’s HVAC maintenance plans here.

When is it time to replace my air conditioner?

There is no one right answer for when it’s time to replace your air conditioner. Most homeowners decide to replace their AC when the cost of repairs outweighs the cost of a new unit. While others choose to purchase and install a new air conditioner when their old unit is no longer keeping their home comfortable.

Here are a few factors you will want to consider when deciding whether it’s time to replace your air conditioner:

  • Age – If you have an older air conditioner, you may find that it’s not as efficient as a new system. Newer systems tend to use 20 to 40% less energy that units that were sold just 10 years ago. If efficiency and saving money on your electric bill is important to you, you may want to consider purchasing a newer, more energy efficient unit.
  • Repair Needs – Is your current AC always breaking down? Whether it’s due to age, over use, or some other cause, if your air conditioner needs frequent repairs, it may be time to replace it. Consider how much you are spending on repair costs and what a new system would cost to determine which is more cost effective.
  • Home Comfort – Your air conditioner’s most important job is keeping your family comfortable and creating a healthy living space. If you find that your AC is just not meeting your home comfort needs, it may be time to look for a new unit. Consider what features are most important to you before shopping for a new HVAC system.

How to Prolong the Life of Your AC

Not ready to buy a new air conditioner yet? At Sheldon’s Heating & Air, we offer HVAC rejuvenation packages that help you prolong the life of your HVAC system and put off purchasing a new unit. Our rejuvenation package addresses the key electrical components of both heating and cooling systems to help you get more life out of your HVAC equipment.

Giving your HVAC system a spa day with one of our affordable rejuvenation packages is a cost-effective way prolong your HVAC system performance and get the most for your money.

To find out more about these packages, give us a call: (877) 411-9888.

Get Your AC Ready for Summer in Riverside, California

Summer is just around the corner, so there is no better time to get your air conditioner checked and ready to go for the months ahead. For an intricate system such as an air conditioner to run efficiently and consistently for months at a time, it’s important to ensure that each and every component is up to the task. Ideally this just requires minor maintenance, however the longer an AC unit goes unchecked, the more potential there will be for expensive malfunctions to occur. A functional and reliable air conditioner is an important investment for homeowners in Riverside. Maximize the potential of your air conditioner and get the most out of your investment with necessary seasonal care. Here’s how:

Perform an Inspection of Your Property

There are a lot of components that can impact your air conditioners efficiency and stability. As a home or business owner, you can look for obvious signs of issues to come, even without a complete understanding of the HVAC industry. Here is what YOU can do to get your air conditioner ready for summer:

  • Look for obvious signs of wear and tear.
  • Clear away debris and dirt from your outdoor unit.
  • Inspect your unit for leaks.
  • Listen for signs of strained performance.
  • Check for cracks or misalignments along entry points, vents, ducts, windows, etc.
  • Investigate your attic and exterior wall insulation.

Your system’s effectiveness relies on more than just its own components. If air is leaking out of your property, it won’t matter how great your air conditioner is, you’ll lose money on over-use. Addressing these issues before the heaviest heat has hit will majorly help your monthly energy bill.

Test Your Air Conditioner

Running your air conditioner can not only provide necessary quality assurance that your system is ready to keep you cool this summer, but it’s also a terrific way to diagnose potential issues. You’ve likely had your AC on for the spring months, but it’s important to really pay attention to what your AC could be telling you. Ask yourself these questions when listening and watching your air conditioner:

  • Is your system louder than you remember?
  • Does it make an grinding noises?
  • Is there any visible leakage from any component of your air conditioner?
  • Will your system run and shut off properly, or is it over cycling?
  • Is your air conditioner in sync with your thermostat (does it feel like what your thermostat is set to)?

Change/Clean Your Filter

You likely haven’t been thinking about your AC filter since you haven’t been running your AC as often through the cooler months. However, just because your unit hasn’t been running, doesn’t mean your filter hasn’t been sitting and collecting dust throughout the year. If you didn’t change your filter before the spring, you’ll absolutely want to do it now. Your air filter helps to protect your system from dust and debris. The dirtier your system is, the less efficient it operates, the higher your energy bills become and the shorter your system’s lifespan will become. Don’t let something as simple as cleaning or replacing your air filter affect your air conditioner; DIY this task or give one of our Riverside HVAC technicians a call.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Already have plans for summer vacation? Utilizing a smart or programmable thermostat can help you schedule your system to work less hard while you’re gone. The most high-tech thermostats can even intuit this information based on household activity (or lack thereof). If you’re on the fence about replacing your old thermostat, these months just before summer are the perfect time to consider an upgrade.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

The best way to ensure that your system is ready for summer is through bi-annual maintenance appointments. Having an HVAC technician come out and examine your system will guarantee that there is nothing holding your system back from operating at its maximum capacity. Small details won’t get overlooked and underlying issues will be serviced on the spot. Keeping your system clean and error-free will improve its overall lifespan and current performance and give you the peace of mind that your home comfort is guaranteed through the heat season.

Don’t let any detail get overlooked. Call (877) 411-9888 to schedule your routine maintenance today!

Answering FAQs About Heating and Air Conditioning

Many homeowners put energy efficiency on top of their priority list, especially with today’s rising cost of living. One of the most effective ways to reduce utility costs is by being proactive toward their HVAC system.

Tracing Back Roots: The History of Air Conditioning

While most people take air conditioning for granted, this technology has positively affected lives in several ways. After all, it is one of the keys to a healthy and comfortable home. Though the HVAC system was once considered a luxury, it is now an essential part of homes, schools, hospitals and other buildings. Read more

Basement Remodeling: Heating and Air Conditioning Considerations

When expanding your living space, it’s best to focus on your basement first. This area is full of untapped potential, and it could be the final piece to achieving your dream home. Imagine all the possibilities! You can turn it into an extra bedroom, a mini theater, or even a gaming lounge. It also usually ends up costing less than building an addition. What’s more is that according to Remodeling Magazine, a basement revamp can give you an estimated 70 percent return on investment. Read more

How Smart Thermostats Work To Save California Residents Money

As technology advances, the modern world enjoys new conveniences and devices that anticipate our needs. One of these is the smart thermostat, which learns from your individual behaviors, allows you to control temperature remotely, and shows real-time energy consumption. Smart thermostats have vast potential to reduce a home’s carbon footprint, save on monthly energy costs, and create a happier, more comfortable property.

Staying Connected With A Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats do much more than enable you to control temperature. Instead of only being a control panel, these thermostats can adjust themselves based on ambient conditions and give you real-time information about how effective your climate control system is. Wi-Fi thermostats cost an initial investment, but their money-saving potential is well worth the expense. Its interface lets users tweak programming to save money and eliminates the chance of accidentally leaving a system on for an empty house.

At the core of effective energy savings is turning off your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system when you don’t need it. The ability to control your home’s temperature remotely allows you to shut off your system when you’re on vacation and forgot to set the thermostat and turn it back on to regulate temperature when you know you’ll be home soon. In California, temperature control is important during hot summers and cool winters, and mobile control gives you complete power.

A Smart Way To Meet Energy Efficiency Goals

Smart thermostats learn when you want certain temperatures and make automatic adjustments during the day for your convenience. They also make adjustments according to environmental factors such as humidity so your temperature is always at the optimal setting. This means less wasted energy on a system that’s running inefficiently half or all of the time. It reduces the need to turn your A/C all the way down to cool your home “faster, which doesn’t work anyways, and shows you your home’s current energy output.

With a smart thermostat, you can set energy goals and your system will keep up with them. Your heating and cooling costs will start to diminish the moment you switch to a smart thermostat, making it an investment that soon pays for itself. If you’re ready to ride the wave of HVAC’s future, set up an appointment with a local California air conditioning technician to discuss the benefits of making the switch.

Your Riverside, CA Smart Thermostat Provider

Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. in Riverside, CA offers state-of-the-art thermostat solutions for every home. We train our thermostat professionals to have in-depth knowledge about the newest technological developments in the industry, and we know how to help homeowners choose the right system for them. Call our team for more information about how a smart thermostat can save you money.

Warning Signs of HVAC Problems & What to Do Before Summer

You rely on your HVAC system to keep your home feeling cool and comfortable when the mercury climbs to “Scorching” during the summer months. The last thing you want is to run into problems with it on the hottest day of the year. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs which indicate potential problems and to follow a regular maintenance schedule to keep your system working at its best all summer long.

Warning Signs of HVAC Problems

These warning signs indicate a possible problem with your HVAC system. If you notice any of them, you should schedule a service call.

  • Your HVAC system is making unusual sounds, such as knocking or banging.
  • The air in your home is either too dry or too humid.
  • There are hot or cold spots in your home.
  • The breaker on the HVAC system keeps tripping.
  • Your energy bill increases significantly without a corresponding increase in use.

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old or your furnace is older than 15 years old, you may want to consider upgrading your system to a new, energy-efficient one. You will use less energy, which will save money on your energy bills.

What to Do Before Summer to Keep your System Running Smoothly

  • Replace your HVAC filter at least every three months.
  • Inspect the intake and output vents to make sure they are clean and free from debris
  • Make sure that your furnace is vented to the outside and that there are no obstructions that might interfere with this process.
  • To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that may be produced by the heating system, be sure that you install a CO detector in your home. Test them every month to ensure they are working properly.
  • Schedule an appointment with an HVAC contractor for a tune-up. You’ll want to make sure that your system is running properly and that any minor problems are caught and dealt with early.

Having access to uninterrupted air conditioned comfort is something you don’t want to leave to chance in the summer. Contact us to learn more about our HVAC maintenance program today.

The Importance of Changing Your HVAC Air Filter

If you remove the grill that covers your HVAC system’s primary return air duct, you’ll find a flat, square screen that’s probably covered with a decent collection of dust and debris.

Unless that screen hasn’t been changed for a long time—or ever—in which case the collection of dust and debris is likely to be quite substantial.

The screen you’re looking at is your HVAC’s air filter, and the fuzzy gray stuff that blankets it’s surface is potentially breathable pollution that’s been removed from your home’s air space.

You may not have known it but those air filters are supposed to be changed regularly, perhaps as often as every other month, and if you leave them in too long they’ll stop capturing contaminants that can trigger allergies, asthma, general respiratory distress and many other symptoms of illness.

Clogged air filters will also put extra stress on your HVAC equipment, forcing it to work harder and increasing your energy costs in the process.

HVAC Air Filter Options

If you haven’t been changing your HVAC air filters now is the time to start. It’s not hard to do and new filters are usually not as expensive as you might think, although obviously you’ll have to pay more to get something good. But better air filters will last longer and that might make the extra investment worthwhile.

Here are the most popular air filter options:

  • Fiberglass panel filters: These are the cheapest HVAC air filters, which has helped make them a best seller. But they only trap larger particles and will clog up so quickly they’re virtually useless beyond two months (at the most).
  • Electrostatic air filters: They are not as efficient as some other options, but they never clog or block air flow and sometimes come in models that allow for cleaning rather than disposal.
  • Media air filters: Not as well-known as most options, highly-efficient media filters are the preferred choice of HVAC professionals, who often stock and supply them directly. As you might imagine they’re more expensive that most air filters.
  • Pleated air filters: Very popular among those who want something better than fiberglass but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, pleated filters are fairly similar to media filters but must be changed more often.
  • HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters: More expensive than most, but with air filters you get what you pay for. HEPA filters will capture up to 99 percent of mold spores, pollen, allergen, pet dander and small dust particles, making them the best choice for those with allergies.
  • Activated carbon air filters: A special type of air filter for use in buildings with heavy bad odor problems.

Never Neglect Your Air Filters

Clogged HVAC air filters will compromise your indoor air quality and your health in the process, and if you’ve been ignoring them up until now that is a habit you should work very hard to break. If changed on schedule HVAC air filters actually work quite well, especially if you select a better option than the cheapest.

To find out more speak to a representative from your HVAC contractor, he or she will be able to explain the pros and cons of each type of air filter.

Continue to follow the Sheldon’s Heating and Air Conditioning for more informative discussions about HVAC systems and the value of good indoor air quality.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

In the HVAC businesses furnaces and air conditioners get most of the publicity. But split-system air-source heat pumps are a versatile, workable and highly energy-efficient alternative to both, able to rise to the heating and cooling challenge through all four seasons in a wide range of climates.

Heat Pumps during the Winter

A split-system heat pump’s compressor is installed outdoors, and it is the heart of the heat pump system. Its job is to “pump up” the temperature and pressure of the cold vaporized refrigerant gas that passes through it, setting off a chain reaction of repeated heat absorption and release.

During the winter, the hot pressurized gas created inside the heat pump is routed through refrigerant lines into the home, where it passes through a set of winding copper metal pipes called evaporator coils. As an indoor fan blows air past the coils the refrigerant inside cools and loses heat to the surrounding atmosphere (inside the home). After this occurs, the rapidly-cooling refrigerant will change from a gaseous state into solid liquid form.

Next, the liquid refrigerant is routed outside where it passes through another set of copper evaporation coils. But this time the liquid passes through a pressure-reducing expansion valve first. As pressure drops the liquid refrigerant quickly evaporates back into a gas inside the coils, its temperature dropping dramatically as it does so. In fact it gets so cold it is able to absorb heat from the outdoor environment, even when temperatures outside are well below zero.

The partially heated but still cold gas then returns to the compressor for re-pressurization, causing the whole process to repeat—which it will continue to do as long as the heat pump is turned on. In this way, heat is captured from the air outside and transported inside to be put to good use.

Heat Pumps during the Summer

The process we’ve just described is reversed during the summertime. When air conditioning is required, the heat pump sends hot pressurized gas through the outdoor coils first, where an outdoor fan blows air across the coils to cool the refrigerant inside, causing heat to be released into the surrounding (outside) atmosphere. The high-pressure liquid refrigerant is then routed into the home, passing through an indoor expansion valve that reduces its pressure before it enters the indoor coils.

As the refrigerant evaporates to cold gas inside these coils, it rapidly absorbs heat from the air inside the home. The cold gas is then piped back out to the compressor for re-pressurization, which starts the cycle of heat transfer from indoors to outdoors all over again.

Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning: California’s Heat Pump Experts

Because heat pumps exploit natural chemical reactions of a refrigerant, they don’t require as much energy input as furnaces or air conditioners to get the job done. This makes them an energy-saving and cost-saving option for homeowners and business owners everywhere—including right here in Riverside, where Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning has been expertly handling heat pump installation, repair and replacement tasks for years. We know heat pumps here like the proverbial backs of our hands.

If you decide you’d like to purchase a heat pump for your home or place of business, here’s something you should know: Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers the most advanced, reliable and professional heat pump installation services available across the Inland Empire and throughout the greater Riverside area.

Contact us today, and we’ll send our trained experts to your home to consult with you and help you select the perfect heat pump for your needs. They will give you an accurate and affordable estimate that includes all installation costs, and show you how to get the absolute money-saving most out of your wonderful new heating and cooling unit.

If the thought of getting a heat pump pumps you up, call Sheldon’s now and together let’s get the ball rolling—or should we say, get the heat pump pumping!