Long-Term AC System Issues That Can Be Addressed by an Air Conditioning Repair Technician

April 9th, 2014

When your air conditioning system breaks down, most people are smart enough to call in a repair technician immediately. It’s not hard to spot a problem when your air conditioner suddenly makes loud buzzing noises, or just refuses to turn on at all. But a number of common AC issues don’t announce themselves so overtly. Instead, they linger over time: draining energy from your unit and increasing wear and tear on your system while still allowing it to function after a fashion. Our air conditioning repair service technicians can address all kinds of problems, including those that linger. Here are some long-term AC system issues that can be addressed by an air conditioning repair technician.

The most pressing matter, as we said above, is one of efficiency. When parts are worn out, they won’t function as they should and the unit as a whole will need to expend more energy in order to work. That means higher bills every month and a lot of wasted cooling power that doesn’t go into your home. A good technician can locate components that are excessively worn and replace them in order to boost your unit’s efficiency.

Similarly, a lack of cooling power or reduced air flow means that your system isn’t functioning the way it should. Low cooling power often stems from reduced refrigerant levels, marked by the presence of ice on your evaporator coils. A technician can seal the leak and recharge refrigerant levels in order to correct the problem. Reduced air flow can stem from a damaged fan or fan motor, or the presence of a blockage somewhere in the system. Regardless of the causes, they will need to be addressed by a trained technician before your system will run the way it’s supposed to.

Regardless of the long-term issue, the right air conditioning repair technician can address them in a thorough and professional manner. Air conditioning repair services of all varieties are offered in in Merced by Ace Air Conditioning. If your system is plagued by persistent long-term problems, give us a call and let us put them to rest!

What Problems Will Air Conditioning Maintenance Correct?

April 8th, 2014

Regular maintenance for air conditioning isn’t an option—it’s a necessity for any system to continue to operate effectively, efficiently, and for the longest time possible. Right now, during spring, is the perfect time to schedule your annual maintenance visit for your air conditioner to prepare for a long, warm California summer.

To learn more about what AC maintenance does to benefit your cooling system, call Ace Air Conditioning and talk to our specialists about air conditioning maintenance in Merced, CA. Here are a number of the problems that a visit from one of our trained technicians will address:

  • Loss of refrigerant: One of the basic checks done during maintenance is to see that the refrigerant that allows for heat exchange is at its proper charge (level). If your AC has lost some of its charge due to leaking in the coils or the compressor, the technician will find and seal the leaks and then recharge the refrigerant with the proper blend to return it to its normal level.
  • Air handler problems: The air handler does the job of moving the cooled air from the indoor AC unit and into the vents. Damage and malfunctions in the air handler will cause a drop in airflow. A maintenance technician will always test the airflow from your AC during a visit to see if there may be troubles inside the air handler, then fix them or recommend repairs to take care of it.
  • Dirt and dust congestion: Contaminants from your home can enter the return vents and infiltrate the AC. Dust and dirt will cause many kinds of issues for an air conditioning system, such as increased wear and tear on the motors and causing the indoor coils to ice up. Maintenance will clean up the inside of the unit so it functions efficiently.
  • Clogs in the condensate drain: Water moisture that drips from the evaporator coil goes down a drain located in the condensate pan. Mold and mildew growth can cause this drain to clog up, leading to water leaks. Maintenance will make sure that the drain line is clear.

If you want to sign up for air conditioning maintenance in Merced, CA, you need look no further than Ace Air Conditioning. Our maintenance plan takes care of both your air conditioner and your heater with an inspection and tune-up for each one once a year. You will also receive priority service that puts you at the front of the line when you have unscheduled repair needs, plus a 10% discount on parts. Contact us today to prepare your AC for the summer.

How Does the Thermocouple Work?

March 31st, 2014

The thermocouple is a component found in many furnaces. Although a small device, it serves a crucial safety function: it monitors the pilot light and shuts off the gas in case the pilot goes out.

If the thermocouple in your furnace fails, you’ll need professionals to replace it. Ace Air Conditioning has provided furnace services in Merced, CA for over twenty years, so put us in charge of keeping your furnace safe and efficient, whether you need a thermocouple changed or an air handler fixed.

“The Seebeck effect”

The basic principle behind a thermocouple is the Seebeck effect, named after the man who discovered it in 1821, German physicists Thomas Johann Seebeck. He found that when a closed loop made of two different metals was exposed to high temperatures, it created a current loop and magnetic field. The higher the temperature, the higher the voltage. The Seebeck effect could be used to measure temperature differences through voltage.

The thermocouple in a furnace

In a furnace, the thermocouple is placed so that its two conductors (the metals of different material) are placed in the flame from the pilot light. The heat of the pilot creates electric voltage in the thermocouple, which is in turn connected to the gas valve on the burner. As long as the valve is in an “excited” state—receiving electric current—it remains open. If the pilot light goes out for any reason, the voltage of the thermocouple will drop and disappear, and the gas valve will close, shutting of the flow of natural gas to the burner.

Why is the thermocouple’s function important?

The reason the thermocouple is set up to shut off the gas valve should the pilot light go out is to prevent a flooding of unburned gas into the combustion chamber. The pilot light is what starts the combustion between the gas and the air, and without it the gas will simply keep building up until it reaches levels where a single spark can cause an explosion. The thermocouple helps keep the furnace safe by preventing gas flow when it could cause hazards.

Regular thermocouple replacement

A thermocouple isn’t designed to last as long as a furnace; it needs occasional replacement. This is one of the reasons why you should maintain a regular schedule of yearly inspections for your furnace. During a maintenance visit, a technician will inspect the thermocouple and change it should it be nearing failure. The technician will also make sure the thermocouple is properly connected.

Not all furnaces use thermocouples; recent models have electronic igniters rather than standing pilot lights, while other furnaces use a device called a mercury sensor to test for pilot light heat. However, no matter what safety mechanism your furnace has, you must have it enrolled in a regular maintenance program to make sure these mechanisms work to protect you.

Ace Air Conditioning offers furnace service in Merced, CA that will take care of repairs and maintenance so your heating system will have many years of safe operation keeping your house cozy.

Help! My Furnace Won’t Start!

March 24th, 2014

It’s never a pleasant feeling when you expect a machine to start up and it simply remains quiet, doing nothing. Maybe it makes a few sounds, or one component starts to work, but nothing else happens. For many malfunctioning devices, you can take it in for repairs. But when your furnace won’t start, you must bring the repairs to you with a call to a skilled technician. For professional heating repair service in Merced, CA that will have your furnace burning and heating you once more, call an Ace… Ace Air Conditioning.

There are many reasons a furnace might not turn on when you expect it to. Let’s look at a few of the more common ones:

  • Defective furnace control board: The control board is the heart of the operation of the furnace and controls when its components turn on and off in correct sequence. Sometimes the control board can malfunction, and the furnace blower or burner will not come on. A complete failure of the circuitry in the control board will stop any part of the furnace from coming on. Usually, diagnostic LED lights turn on to notify of the something wrong with the board; open up the panel over the board, find which lights have activated, and then call for a technician with the information.
  • Malfunctioning thermostat: Multiple problems in the thermostat can result in it failing to turn the furnace on. A miscalibration in temperature reading can mean that the thermostat won’t activate its programming at the appropriate time. Faulty wiring can disconnect the thermostat from the heaters. Heating technicians will be able to trace the source to the thermostat and determine what needs repairs.
  • Failed igniter/failed pilot: Depending on the age of your furnace, it either uses a standing pilot light or a form of electronic ignition to activate the burners. Failure of either means the burners will not come on, although you may hear the fan start up. Electronic igniters will need replacement. For the pilot light, your technician will need to determine the reason for it (low gas pressure, dirty burner unit) and fix it.
  • Tripped circuit breakers: Because gas furnaces today depend on a number of electronic components (ignition, blower motor), a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse can cause one to stop running. Check your circuit breaker panel to see if this is the case.

If you can’t figure out what has caused your furnace to refuse to come on, or you can but you don’t know how to repair it (in most cases, you won’t), then it’s time to call in professional technicians. They will diagnose the issue, apply targeted repairs, and make tests to see that everything works ideally once more.

Ace Air Conditioning has more than a quarter century of experience providing heating repair in Merced, CA. When your furnace fails, call us and we’ll get it back up and running.

Planning for Heating Repairs at the End of the Season

March 13th, 2014

You don’t want to forget about your heating system as the temperature turns warmer and we press on toward summer. Although you will turn your heater on less and less until it goes into its warm season siesta, you still need to have it kept it in good shape in case you should require it for a sudden cold snap, and to make certain that it will work again when the cold weather returns at the end of the year.

Our staff at Ace Air Conditioning wants to make sure that you have a heater ready for anything, whether you have a furnace, heat pump, or ductless system installed. For the heating repair in Turlock, CA that you need, call Ace Air Conditioning today.

Why plan heating repair at the end of the season

You know that warm weather is coming up, so if you notice something amiss with your heater—odd smells from the vents, cold spots in the house, disruptive noises coming from the cabinet, sudden spikes in your heating bills—you will feel tempted to put off scheduling repairs.

You shouldn’t, however: you’ll only delay the repairs until a less convenient time, and you will also risk the heater breaking down because of the excess stress from the repair need. It’s best to have a technician come earlier before the malfunction becomes worse (and more expensive) and save yourself a larger hassle when winter starts again. You should have few problems scheduling a convenient repair visit during the less busy spring season, instead of waiting for winter when more people will need emergency work.

Another thing to keep in mind: your heating will cost more if your system must run with a malfunction. Don’t pay more for your heat during these last few weeks of cold weather… have professionals smooth out the kinks in your heater now.

If you don’t have repair needs, make sure you have maintenance done

If your heater appears to be operating fine, with no repairs on the horizon, you should still make certain that it’s in good shape with a preventive maintenance visit to tune-up, clean, and adjust the system. If you had regular maintenance done in fall, you should be good until your next fall visit. But if you’ve delayed maintenance, it’s never too late to have it done. Call up a dependable heating service and schedule a check-up before your heater goes on its vacation.

Ace Air Conditioning has provided heating repair for Turlock, CA since 1991. We also have a top-notch maintenance plan to make sure your heater stays healthy all year round. Call us today for whatever your heater needs.

How Heating Repair Services Locate Problems with Your Heater

March 3rd, 2014

When you sense that something has gone wrong with your home’s heater, you’ll only know the symptoms, not necessarily the cause. A loss of heating power, a reduction in airflow, strange noises from the cabinet, odd smells from the vents, a heat pump blowing only cold air… all of these problems have more than one possible root cause. Unless you have training in HVAC repair and expensive high-end equipment, you won’t be able to determine the nature of the problem on your own.

That’s why you should call in the Merced, CA heating repair technicians who can find out what’s wrong and fix it: the staff at Ace Air Conditioning.

Here are some of the methods that we use to locate the problems with your heater.

Professional methods of detecting heating problems

  • Airflow measurement: If you have experienced reduced levels of heat or cold spots have appeared in your house, repair technicians will test the airflow from your vents. They can use a number of tools to do this, such as pitot tubes, anemometers, and differential pressure manometers.
  • Combustion testing: If you have a natural gas-powered heating system, like a gas furnace or boiler, technicians will test the combustion chamber to see if the problems with your heating originate from there. The key tool for this job is a combustion analyzer, which can tell if the unit needs adjustment and to what degree.
  • Leak detection: If you have a malfunctioning heat pump, repair technicians will use leak detection equipment to locate places where your heat pump may be losing its vital refrigerant. There are also leak detectors for gas-powered units that can pinpoint potentially dangerous gas leaks.
  • Thermostat testing: Often, the fault in a heater lies in the thermostat. Repair experts will carefully dismantle the thermostat unit and perform electrical tests to check on wiring and calibration.

All of these tests require both advanced equipment and the skill to read and understand their data. It takes years of training to learn how to zero in on the repairs a heating system needs, so when you require heating repair service in Merced, CA, make sure you call a dependable and capable company. Ace Air Conditioning has more than 20 years of experience providing quality heating services, so make us your first choice when you need your heater restored.

Warning Signs of Heat Pump Repair Problems

February 24th, 2014

Heat pumps almost seem as if they were invented specifically for the weather conditions of Central California. With our warm summers and mild winters, a heat pump easily matches our temperatures with its powerful air conditioning and energy-efficient heating.

However, a heat pump is only as good as the condition it’s in. If you let your heat pump go without the professional repairs it will occasionally need, it will start to work inefficiently, giving you substandard performance regardless of the season… and it will eventually break down entirely. Pay attention to the following warning signs that you need professional heating repair service in Winton, CA. Then call up the dependable staff at Ace Air Conditioning right away so we can send a technician to your house to get your heat pump back to work.

Signs you need to call for heat pump repair

  • The heat pump blows only cold/warm air: A heat pump that remains stuck in one mode when it’s supposed to switch to the other is definitely one that needs professional attention. The problem could be in the thermostat or the coils. Most likely, the reversing valve responsible for switching the heat pump between its two modes has failed and needs repairs.
  • Loud, strange noises from the cabinet: When either the outdoor or indoor cabinet of the heat pump begins to create sounds you don’t normally hear, you should have technicians look into it. Some specific sounds to listen for: clicking (a failing capacitor), grinding (trouble in the motors), and clacking (a loose blower fan belt).
  • Icing across one of the coils: If either the indoor or outdoor coil starts to develop frost, it means a serious problem in the heat pump. The two most common reasons for this to start are a drop in refrigerant because of a leak, or dirt across the coil. Scraping off the ice will not solve the problem: the ice will come right back. The more ice develops, the more it will interfere with proper heat exchange, and the heat pump will begin to lose its conditioning ability. Call for repairs to solve the problem.

Don’t hesitate about heat pump repairs

Far too often, homeowners ignore a “small” problem with a heat pump, such as patches of ice or clicking sounds, and hope the problem will simply go away. However, heat pumps will not repair themselves, and the trouble will grow and spread to other systems, eventually leading to more expensive repairs. Call for repairs whenever you notice any of the above signs.

Ace Air Conditioning has a staff with more than 25 years of experience installing, maintaining, and repairing heat pumps. Trust us with your heating repair in Winton, CA.

How Thermostat Placement Affects Your Heater

February 17th, 2014

It is easy for homeowners to underestimate the importance of the thermostat to their heating systems. The standard thermostat is a small unit on the wall, innocuous and easy to forget about unless it needs adjustments. But thermostats are powerful devices that can make or break how effective your heating (and cooling) system operates. Something as simple as placing the thermostat in the wrong location can throw off your reliable heating and result in cold spots, short cycling, and a reduced lifespan for your system.

We’ll look at some of the mistakes that can occur in thermostat placement and how they affect heating. If you find that your thermostat has been installed in the wrong location, contact professionals like those at Ace Air Conditioning to help you move the unit or install a new one. For all your needs for heating repair services in Merced, CA, look to Ace Air Conditioning.

Frequent errors in thermostat placement

The most common mistake made in thermostat location is when the unit is positioned where it will often lay in direct sunlight. The radiant heat from the sun will cause the thermostat to register a much higher temperature than the actual temperature of the room (this is called a “ghost reading”) and subsequently shut the heater off early. This will lead to short cycling and a heater that will age rapidly, and you will find that rooms will start feeling cold.

If a thermostat is located near to drafts, such as windows and doors that open to outside, the opposite problem will occur: the unit will read colder temperatures and start to run the heater more than it should. This will lead to higher heating bills and a stuffy house with dry air.

A thermostat can be out of sunlight and away from drafts, but if it is located too far from the center of a home, it will read outlier temperatures that won’t reflect the general temperature of the house. This can lead to both of the above problems, depending on the readings the thermostat is recording.

Where is an ideal location for a thermostat?

In general, thermostats work best when they are located outside a master bedroom. This is usually near the center of the home and away from windows and outside doors. As long as sunlight can’t reach it from a skylight, the thermostat should record the temperatures that will result in comfortable heater operation.

If you think that poor thermostat placement is causing uneven temperatures, a constantly running heater, or a short-cycling heater in your home, call Ace Air Conditioning to investigate. We can assist with your thermostat heating repair service in Merced, CA that will restore your warm home.

The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

February 14th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without the traditional greeting cards, whether accompanying a gift of flowers and candy, or sent between children in a school room. For commercial greeting card companies, February 14th is as important to them as the December holidays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love predates printed greeting cards by a few centuries. In fact, the reason that sending romantic greeting cards became popular was because of the most un-romantic thing you can imagine: a reduction in postage rates.

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of “Penny Posts” that used a uniform rate of one old penny per letter throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Printers took advantage of the ease with which people could send letters to each other on Valentine’s Day by crafting cards with love poems on them. Many of these verses were collected in 1797 in the book The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which was a resource for the lover with a romantic soul but not the most confident poetry style.

By the mid-19th-century, the Valentine’s Day greeting card was flourishing across England. Although people still followed a tradition of creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards from lace, ribbons, and flowers, commercially produced cards now overtook them. In 1835, the English post office mailed 60,000 valentines. As production expenses dropped, the English card manufacturers branched out creatively with humorous and sometimes vulgar cards… many of which we would find startlingly familiar in the 21st century. One of the common jokes on these cards was to design them to look like marriage certificates or court summons.

Across the Atlantic, the United States was slower to embrace the popular British custom. It wasn’t until 1847 that a U.S. printer mass-produced greeting cards for Valentine’s Day. Only two years later, American journalists noted how rapidly people in the country had embraced the tradition, turning into a fad that has never died down. The woman who printed the first U.S. Valentine’s Day card, Esther Howland, is today recognized by the Greeting Card Association with the annual “Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

The greeting card industry certainly has reason to thank Ms. Howland. Her idea of going into business printing romantic greeting cards, which came to her after she received a traditional English valentine when she was 19 years old, now sells 190 million cards in the U.S. every year. That number doesn’t include the smaller exchange cards used in elementary school classrooms, which would swell the number to 1 billion. (Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards each year? Teachers!)

Whether you send out Valentine’s Day cards—handmade, store-bought, digital—or not, we at Ace Air Conditioning hope you have a happy February 14th.

Tips for Heating with a Heat Pump

February 2nd, 2014

At Ace Air Conditioning, we often recommend our customers invest in a heat pump for their home comfort. These units that combine the power of an air conditioner and a heater are ideal for our climate, and they can save the average family of four around 30% per year off their heating bills. With the help of our trained staff, having heating installation will be a snap.

Since heat pumps have some unusual features compared to a furnace or a standard air conditioner, you may find these tips on how to get the best performance from one helpful:

  • Be cautious about programming the thermostat: Make sure that you know all you can about the operation and programming of your thermostat: read its manual. The reason this make a difference with a heat pump is that you are dealing with a device that can switch back and forth from two completely opposite temperature functions. You need to make sure that you’ve set the thermostat’s behavior to accurately reflect seasonal needs; you don’t want the AC to come on during heating season. (Also, if you don’t have a programmable thermostat—have one installed right away!)
  • Change the air filter regularly: Because heat pumps are forced-air systems, they use air filters to prevent dust and debris in the air from entering their cabinets and damaging components. Since you will probably use the heat pump throughout the year, in one mode or the other, the filter will rapidly start to clog. You should change the filter once a month (or as needed) to prevent a reduction in airflow and fend off repair needs.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: Installers often emphasize the important of maintaining a gas-powered furnace. But heat pumps need regular maintenance as well, and even though it is only a single unit, it should have two visits a year from a technician: once during the spring before you start using the cooling mode, and again during the fall before you start using the heating mode. This way you will get the top performance from the heat pump, the energy efficiency you want, and a reduction in repair calls.

Heat pump installation

The complexity of heat pumps means they require special expertise to install. If you turn to amateurs for installation, you will likely end up with a poorly functioning system prone to breakdowns. Call on the quarter century of experience at Ace Air Conditioning when it comes to heating installation in Merced.