Buyer’s Guide for Furnaces: Why You Want the Best Heating Installers in San Diego

Buying a furnace, a heat pump or an HVAC system in general, requires due diligence on your part to ensure you make a good investment in your home comfort. You need to decide what kind of equipment you will get (e.g. electric furnace or a gas one, or a heat pump, etc.) and what brand (Lennox, Carrier, Trane, Mitsubishi, etc.). However, it is just as important that you find the best furnace installers you can find in your area. Why? With more than 40 years of experience, Action AC is the top trusted local HVAC contractor when it comes to heating installation and heating repair in Escondido and across San Diego. We’ll tell you why installation matters and what possible problems are.

Comfort, safety and long equipment life

Well installed systems live longer and need fewer repairs throughout their life. Furnace installation (or HVAC installation) is a complex procedure because it doesn’t accept cookie-cutter solutions. Your heating system needs to be installed according to manufacturer’s specifications and according to your specific needs.

Proper installation is not just about avoiding hot and cold spots, humidity issues, noisy operation, etc. It’s also about avoiding the likelihood of carbon monoxide leaks, which can happen with gas furnaces.

Get a properly sized system

Your heating system should be sized according to certain parameters. Your HVAC installer should be someone you can rely on to perform calculations to determine the size and capacity you need for your new furnace or HVAC system.

You may think that getting a system or furnace with the same capacity as your current system is enough. However, that may not be true. Your current system may have been incorrectly sized. If you’ve done any remodeling that affected the structure of the space (especially room additions), your system may need improvements. Finally, newer units are more energy-efficient, so a smaller system may fit your needs now.

It’s important to note that it’s not energy-efficient (nor comfort-enhancing) to get the biggest possible system. One of the problems with systems that exceed your needs is they short-cycle, which leads to temperature variance and ramped-up electricity bills.

Have good air distribution

The ductwork of the system is an important part of your HVAC system. Faulty ductwork can put strain on the system, which reduces system’s life. It can also reduce your energy efficiency, wasting your utility money and hindering your comfort.

The size of the ductwork needs to match system output. With ducts that are too narrow, air velocity is increased. This can lead to draft in your home and also result in noisy operation. If the ducts are too wide, air flow may be poor, forcing the system to work harder than actually necessary.

Ducts should also be well sealed and made with good-quality materials. Leaky ducts will waste the conditioned air, make hissing sounds and lead to excess dust, draft and possibly humidity issues.

Ensure proper drainage

Waste water that’s a by-product of your heating/HVAC system’s operation has to be properly drained away. Drain water that pools and accumulates is a safety hazard because of the electrical components of the system. Potential problems don’t stop there, though. There could also be impaired air quality and mold problems. This is quite dangerous in homes where there are sensitive occupants, such as small children, seniors or individuals with respiratory conditions.

Ensure correct exhaust

Carbon monoxide is a by-product of the combustion process that takes place in your gas furnace. It is colorless and odorless and highly toxic. It must be properly and safely vented outside of the building. When furnace flue and damper are improperly sized, carbon monoxide can accumulate.

Call #1 HVAC company for heating installation and heating repair in Escondido

Action AC is here to help you for all your heating and HVAC needs in Escondido and across San Diego. Multiple industry-relevant awards, 4 decades of experience, full range of services and thousands of satisfied local customers speak volumes about our professionalism and commitment to YOU. Call us today!

Troubleshoot Your HVAC

Troubleshooting your HVAC system can save you on maintenance and repair costs, but it’s important to know the ABC’s of HVAC systems to safely and efficiently evaluate it. Your home HVAC system typically includes both central heating and central cooling which are two separate systems that share ductwork.

Commonly, the central cooling system includes a cabinet outdoors that contains a condenser coil and compressor and an indoor evaporator coil that is usually installed with your furnace or air handler. The compressor is the piece of equipment that moves refrigerant through the system.

The cooling part of the HVAC systems works by moving warm air across the indoor evaporator coil which transfers heat from the air to the refrigerant to cool the air. The refrigerant is cycled back to the compressor to repeat the job and the cool air is blown inside your home. The heat transferred to the refrigerant is removed to outside the home.

The heating system has a primary heating appliance which is usually installed in your garage or basement. A furnace is one type of heating appliance and it can run on either gas or oil, or on a hybrid system, depending on your region and needs. The furnace generates combustion gases that are passed through a heat exchanger. Air from your home is blown across the heat exchanger, which warms the air to be transferred through the ductwork and distributed back into your home. You should be especially careful when troubleshooting old furnaces considering the outdated parts, and hazards of CO2 and fires.

Most often, HVAC issues are related to one specific part of the system, such as the duct system, heat pump, or vents, to name a few – which makes troubleshooting a relatively methodical task. Start by inspecting the visible equipment and work towards the less conspicuous parts.

The first step of your diagnosis should be to confirm that your system has power. The furnace and air-conditioner will have separate fuses or circuit breakers. The thermostat will also have its own power source, either electrical or battery powered.

If cold air is blowing from your heater, there are a couple things you can troubleshoot to identify the issue. First, check the thermostat to see that it is set to “auto” instead of “on.” If it is set to “on,” the fan will blow continuously even if the furnace isn’t heating the air, causing the air coming out of the vents to feel cool. Next, check your air filter and change it if it is dirty. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and cause other equipment to malfunction.

Other causes of HVAC failures can include an outdated HVAC system/parts, poor drainage, frozen coil, a pilot light or ignition problem, inadequate fuel supply, large leaks in your ductwork, or a clog in your condenser. These type of issues are best identified by calling your local certified HVAC professional.

If troubleshooting your HVAC system doesn’t solve the issue, call the fully Nate certified staff at Action Air Conditioning, Heating and Solar today to schedule a maintenance and repair appointment to get your system working at optimal performance!

HVAC Troubleshooting: Pooling Water Under Air Conditioning

If you notice a pool of water under your AC, it is a sign that your HVAC needs to be repaired or replaced. There are several things that can cause this common AC issue, so it’s important to call a certified HVAC technician to diagnose and repair the problem. 

Water is naturally created by the AC unit from the process of pulling in the hot/humid air from outside and cooling it through the unit’s cold evaporator coil. Condensation forms and that water is expelled by the drain line into your plumbing, condensation pump, or outside. If there is any issue with the parts that control this process, a pool of water will form under your AC unit. In this case, your AC is not running efficiently and could cause more expensive repairs, premature damage to parts and increased energy bills. Here are a few common causes for pooling water under AC:

  • Condensation pump – When the water is not expelled properly due to a faulty condensation pump, the continual presence of water in an AC unit will create mold and mildew build up and cause the system to clog. This is important to repair in a timely manner to prevent a snowball-effect of other problems because of a clogged unit.
  • Blocked drain hole – If condensation/water is not able to exit the unit due to a clogged drain hole, the water will have nowhere else to go but inside your home or pool around the unit. A clogged drain hole is caused by dirt, insects, debris or mold/mildew build up inside the unit. It could also be from a dirty evaporator coil in which case the dirt will mix with the water and fall down into the drainage pan, clogging the drain hole.
  • Frozen evaporator coil – Low refrigerant causes the coil to become much colder than necessary, in turn freezing it. A dirty air filter will also cause the coil to freeze from the lack of airflow. To defrost the coil, turn your AC off and call a licensed HVAC contractor to correct the problem.
  • Bad sealing – If the seals on your AC unit are not tight, it will cause an excess of air inside. The moisture from that air will build up when the warm air meets the cold air inside the AC unit. A HVAC contractor will need to reseal the outside of the AC to keep it properly isolated.
  • Poor installation – This is common with newly installed AC units. The problem of pooling water happens when condensate trap is not installed correctly, which will prevent the water/condensation from properly draining.

Action Air is dedicated to your home’s comfort and energy savings. If you are experiencing pooling water under your AC, call Action Air to schedule an appointment with one of our Nate-Certified technicians.

HVAC Troubleshooting: What is AC Short Cycling?

Why Do Air Conditioners Cycle On and Off Randomly?

Problems with AC Cycles AC systems naturally turn on and off to maintain the temperature that is set on the thermostat. Cycling is necessary for AC function due to the refrigeration process. The refrigeration process is the most economical approach to cooling an area. The process begins by removing heat via refrigerant (freon), then cooling through a cycle of compression. The heat absorbed by the refrigerants is then expelled to the outside air.

How Does Air Conditioning Cool Your Home?

Air conditioning’s task is removing heat, cooling an area, and successfully expelling that heat to the outside air. The system must go through a cycle of changing the form of heat – from liquid to gas (cooling), and gas back into liquid (heating). Changing the form of heat is accomplished through compression, condensation, expansion and evaporation. Compression is the key component to the refrigeration process.  This is why the compressor is the heart of an AC system.

How To Determine Irregular AC Cycling

Cycling is a normal operational process for HVAC systems, however cause for concern happens when the frequency of the cycling increases.  Typically, three cooling cycles will occur within an hour on a moderate summer day. This means the compressor will run for 10 minutes, then shut down and start up again after 10 minutes. If your AC cycle is inconsistent and the set temperature of your home is fluctuating more than usual, then your system is most likely short cycling. Short cycling is the most common issue homeowners have with their AC unit, and it occurs when your AC is turning on and off irregularly.

AC short cycling could be caused by several factors including an obstructed compressor, faulty thermostat, leaking refrigerant, icy coils, dirty air filter, electrical/board issues, or a HVAC system that is too big for the building in which it is installed. AC short cycling can have a lot of negative effects on your HVAC system, and comfort. It creates stress on the HVAC system that can lead to mechanical breakdowns and costly repairs. AC Short cycling also causes temperature swings and increases your energy bills.

How To Prevent Irregular AC Cycling

Irregular AC Cycles Proper maintenance of your HVAC system is the best way to prevent AC short cycling from occurring. Scheduling a tune-up once a year will keep your system running efficiently and increase the lifespan of your HVAC system. In the meantime, make sure you are changing your air filter regularly and paying attention to the frequency of AC cycles and temperature fluctuation.

If you are experiencing short cycling with your AC, or to schedule your yearly tune-up, call the experts at Action AC 800-400-4152. We are dedicated to your comfort, and our Nate-Certified technicians guarantee efficient and convenient service.

Gas or Electric Heating System? The Questions To Consider

When choosing a heating system for your home, you can’t put a price on comfort. But you can put a price on utility bills, repair costs, home insurance, and maintenance.

Deciding whether to use gas or electric depends largely on the individual’s budget and size of the home. While gas can save you a significant amount in energy costs, electric heating systems require less maintenance and lower upfront costs. When it’s time to upgrade your heating system you should be well informed on the differences between gas and electric to ensure you are adding value and efficiency to your home, while saving on utility bills.

Utility bills

To buy one unit of mains gas (measured in kWh) you pay about 4p / kWh. Conversely, 1 unit of electricity from the mains (also measure in kWh) will cost you about 15p / kWh. Meaning in most areas gas is up to 4 times cheaper than electricity per kWh. Using a gas heating system can save you a considerable amount on energy costs, especially during the winter months.

Impact on Environment

Coal represents one of the primary fuels used to produce electricity. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, natural gas production does release greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, however this fuel burns much cleaner than coal and poses much less damage to the environment.

Safety

Electric systems do not produce byproducts during the heating process, unlike the potentially deadly CO2 produced during the combustion process of gas heating. Maintenance is emphasized when purchasing a gas heating system since a small problem in the ventilation system can easily cause a CO2 leak and put you and your family at risk for CO2 poisoning. Fire hazards are also associated with gas heating considering the point of ignition requires a flame.

Suitability and Efficiency

Gas heaters are known to be extremely efficient. They heat bigger areas faster, and use less energy than electric to maintain a set temperature. Gas heating also provides better humidity control. The lifespan is approximately 20 years for a new heating system, gas or electric. Gas heating requires storage, and for households with several members the storage tank capacity should be equivalent to usage. If the store tank capacity is not enough to support all the heat usage at a given time, then gas heating becomes problematic. A good example is running out of hot water during a shower because the dishwasher is running.

Installation

The upfront cost of installing an electric heating system is much cheaper than gas. Electric systems are typically smaller in size and don’t require ventilation systems.

When it’s time to replace your heating system, our team at Action Air is dedicated to your safety and comfort. Our Nate-Certified technicians will provide the best service and guarantees convenient and efficient installation. Call us today at 800-400-4152. Let us help you!

How Replacing Your HVAC’s Air Filter Can Help You Avoid Major Repairs

Performing regular maintenance, like changing your air filter, can keep your HVAC system work more efficiently, in turn saving you money on potential problems that can result in expensive repairs.

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Regularly replacing something as simple as your Air Filter can help you avoid major costly repairs down the line. Here’s everything you need to know about your HVAC Air Filter.

What’s the importance of a clean Air Filter?

The air filter in your HVAC system prevents large airborne particles from entering the system and jamming up the machinery. A dirty air filter can cause reduced airflow or a pressure drop in the system which can lead to a lack of any air filtration. These conditions can cause your system to work harder, whether in a heating or cooling season, which makes it run less efficiently giving your AC or Heating unite a shorter life span.

How does moisture effect your system’s air filter?

If moisture gets into a dirty filter, it can contribute to mold growing inside the filter which can then spread throughout your entire home through your HVAC system. Mold can cause serious health issues to your and your family, not to mention the costly repairs to the compromised system and source of the moisture problem.

What Type of Air Filter Do You Need?

There are several types of filters, including ones that are disposable, biodegradable or more advanced filters that are designed to maximize air filtration. You can purchase economy packs of filters for some cost savings through Action Air.

Our HVAC professionals will be able to help you determine the best filter for your needs and your air filtration system.

The HVAC filter should be replaced no less than every three months for optimal system performance, but often should be changed more frequently. It’s easy to check your filter to see if you need to change it more often. Typically you should change the filter every month if:

  • You have pets,
  • You typically run your unit 6-12 months out of the year
  • Someone in your home has allergies or a respiratory condition, if you live in a windy or wildfire prone area, or if you have a fireplace that you occasionally use.

Action Air Tip! It is critical you change the filter immediately if the filter is damaged, damp or shows signs of mold growth on the filter.

Contact Action Air Conditioning, Heating and Solar today to schedule a Nate-certified technician to help determine the best filter and maintenance plan your HVAC system.

Hazards of Old Furnaces & the Importance of Preventative Maintenance

The season to fire up the furnace is among us, even for Southern California. With this year’s unseasonably cold winter (thanks to El Niño) you’ll be using your heating system more regularly.

That’s why it’s important to understand the health and safety hazards of an outdated heating system. Our team of experts provide some valuable information below on how to ensure your heating system is not putting your home, family ….and wallet at risk.

What is Considered an ‘Outdated Furnace’?

Furnaces 20 years or older are especially dangerous since they all have pilot lights. The average life expectancy of a furnace is between 16 and 20 years. Although newer furnace models with pilot lights have sensors that will automatically shut down if a problem is detected, having a pilot lights still pose a significant safety concern.

Health and Safety Concerns Related to Older Furnaces

Carbon monoxide poisoning is especially common with outdated furnaces. Older pilot lights are typically controlled manually, and even a slight adjustment defect can produce carbon monoxide gas. Today’s homes are built more “air-tight”, leaving furnaces starved of the necessary oxygen it requires to burn fuels completely. When this occurs, toxic gases build up inside the home.

According to statistics compiled by US Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 200 people across the nation are known to die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by toxic gas build up produced by their heating systems. In addition, around 10,000 cases of carbon monoxide-related injuries are diagnosed each year- including headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and seasonal depression.

House fires caused by pilot lights, bad ventilation, and/or gas line leaks are another major safety hazard of an outdated heating system. The combustible materials or any flammable objects near a furnace create an increased possibility of fire or explosion. Gasoline, solvents, or other volatile substances emit vapors that can be ignited by the heat or flame inside a gas furnace. Additionally, natural gas which has no odor, taste, smell or color can be omitted from gas line leaks and are extremely flammable and could cause a catastrophic fire or explosion.

Keep Your Heating Cost Efficient With a New Furnace

The oxide required for older furnaces is known to destroy valves, cause gaskets to leak, and bearings to go dry, inevitably creating more risk of malfunctioning parts or total system breakdown. The older a furnace is, the more likely its parts will malfunction, causing repairs to become gradually more expensive. Older furnaces also require more gas to create heat. Replacing your furnace with a more energy efficient system will save you in long term repair costs…. And you might actually smile next time you get your gas and electric bill.

Furnace Repair & Heating System Preventative Maintenance

Not only do Action Air’s experts encourage you to maintain a safe heating system for your home, but several US agencies and organizations do as well. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Lung Association encourage regular maintenance of older furnaces and up-to-date of home heating systems in order to keep homes all over America safe.

If you are not ready to replace your old furnace, service and maintenance at least twice a year (every 6 months) is necessary to insure your home and family are not at risk, especially if you have a furnace operating on a manual pilot light. Our team at Action Air provides 24 hour emergency service and competitive pricing on HVAC service and maintenance agreements.

Talk to an expert at Action Air today for a free consultation on replacing or servicing your heating system!