HVAC Technicians in Austin Recommend Yearly Heater Checks

Many of our customers come to us with the question, “Do I really need a yearly heater checkup?”  In short, the answer is yes.  For the safety for you and your family, it is highly recommended having a home furnace check-up to ensure it is in proper working order.  Not only will this help prevent your family from the discomfort of a broken heater, but it will also help avoid any potentially deadly natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks that can occur within your furnace.  Most furnace manufacturers equipment warranties require an annual furnace maintenance check to be performed by a qualified and licensed HVAC technician in Austin to guarantee the warranty.

The Importance Of Furnace Checkups 

  • Decrease Number of Repairs – Many heating issues can be easily prevented through checkups. Electrical connections can loosen over time, pilot lights can become finicky, and filters can become clogged with contaminants.  It is best to be proactive, so you do not leave your family in the cold.
  • Improves Energy Efficiency – A furnace tune-up will improve your energy efficient by keeping your heater running at its best during the winter. A clean and inspected furnace will run much more efficiently, saving money on your energy bill.  Keep in mind, that it costs more money to run a poorly maintained HVAC System, because your AC and heater needs to work harder to do the same job as a maintained AC & heating system.
  • Makes Your Home SaferFurnaces rely on natural gas, propane, or even oil to generate heat through a combustion process. Any minor issue can result in an exposure of natural gas or carbon monoxide in your home causing fires, serious health issues, or even death.  Utility companies add an additive to the natural gas giving it a familiar “warning odor.”  Carbon monoxide on the other hand, is known as, “The Silent Killer.”  It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.  It could cause loss of consciousness and death.  The City of Austin requires working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of every bedroom, as well as one per floor in a multi-level home.  If one of your CO detectors starts to alarm or you smell gas, get every person and pet in your home out into the fresh air.  Once safe, call 911 or 311 or Texas Gas for help.

Are You an A-Plus Discount Customer?

With a Preventative HVAC Maintenance Agreement at A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions, your heating checkup is already included at no additional cost!  Our annual maintenance plan includes two comprehensive checkups, one for the heating and one for the cooling, as well as 15% off all daytime repairs, no overtime fees, diagnostic discounts, and even other discounts on A-Plus home repair services.  As an A-Plus discount customer, enjoy the “peace of mind” of knowing your heater is in tiptop shape this winter.

Recommendation: Schedule a Heater Checkup Today with our HVAC Technicians in Austin

Call A-Plus before the weather outside becomes frightful!  Though the fire is so delightful, it won’t help keep your entire house warm on a cold winter night.  Experienced with all major HVAC equipment brands, A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions is Austin’s trusted heating maintenance and repair company for over 40 years!  Give our office a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule your heating checkup, heating repair, or heating replacement today!

 

Benefits of LED Christmas Light Installation in Austin

Large House in Austin, Texas with Holiday lights set up by A-Plus AC & Home SolutionsDo you want to save money on your energy bill this December?  Well, we can help!  It’s as easy as upgrading your old incandescent C7, C9, or mini holiday lights to new, vibrantly colored LED bulbs.  This includes holiday lights installed on your roofline, wrapped on your trees, on light-up wreaths, and around your beautifully decorated Christmas tree.  We know this may sound overwhelming, but it’s easy with our LED Christmas light installation services in Austin.

Reasons LED Holiday Lights Are Better LED

technology is not a new technology, as it have been available to consumers for over a decade.  LED bulbs have become more energy-efficient, brilliant in color and shine, and are considerably more affordable than a few years ago.  Our Christmas Light Installation Team at A-Plus highly recommends upgrading to LED lights for the following reasons:

  1. Holiday Lights Use Less Energy.
    LED Christmas lights use light-emitting diodes, rather than filaments to produce light.  LED bulbs produce energy inside of the bulb, which means it uses 90% less energy than traditional Christmas lights.
  2. Nighttime Holiday lights set up by A-Plus AC & Home Solutions in Austin, TxLED Bulbs Are More Cost-Effective.
    Even though there is a slightly higher upfront cost for LED bulbs, compared to the old style C7, C9, or mini lights, their operating cost is much lower.  According to the US Department of Energy, they use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.  You will see these savings year after year with an LED upgrade.
  3. LED Holiday Lights Are Safer.
    LED Bulbs always stay cool to the touch, while incandescent light bulbs waste energy by emitting heat into the atmosphere.  Over time, these hot, incandescent bulbs can pose a risk for fires and burns.  This is especially hazardous for children and pets.
  4. Holiday Light Bulb on Wooden TableLED Christmas Lights Are More Durable.
    LED Christmas bulbs have plastic housing, while the incandescent bulbs are made of glass.  When glass breaks on the traditional Christmas light bulbs, the broken bulb needs to be replaced, costing money.  There is also a risk of cuts and injury from the broken glass.  These bulbs can be damaged when installing Christmas lights around your home, as well as when they are removed after the holiday season.  With the plastic housing of the LED bulbs, you are less likely to end up with a broken bulb.
  5. Holiday LED Lights Are Brighter.
    The brightness of the LED bulb has increased dramatically over the past decade.  These improvements make the bulbs equal to or more brilliant than the incandescent style.  This is because LED Christmas bulbs naturally create a full spectrum of colored lights, while the incandescent bulbs are painted.  Over time, the paint from the incandescent bulb can chip or fade in color, leaving a dull display.

Contact Us for Christmas Light Installation in Austin, Texas

Holiday Decorations in Austin, Texas with A-Plus AC & Home Solutions outside on fence. At A-Plus, we guarantee high quality and customizable holiday lighting installation throughout the Austin area.  We have a large selection of holiday lights ready to be sized to fit your home by our fully insured, professional, Christmas light installers.  We can install holiday lights on your home or business, including:

  • Roof Lines
  • Wrap Columns
  • Lined Walkways/Driveways
  • On Trees, Branches, and Bushes
  • Around the door too
  • Or any other display you can imagine!

With a warehouse full of LED C7 Bulbs and LED Mini Lights, our holiday lighting team is ready to turn your home into your very own winter wonderland.   Call A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions at 512-450-1980 for a free Christmas light installation estimate.  We can help create a beautiful display that will have your neighbors talking!

How to Prep My Home for Exterior Painting in Austin, Texas?

Door with different shades of paint by APlus in Austin,TxExterior home painting in Austin, Texas can be a tedious and timely process.  It is not as easy as slapping a new coat of paint on your home.  Diligent preparation before painting will not only make your home look great, but also will help keep the finish looking more beautiful, longer.  Here are some steps to ensure your  painting job goes as smoothly as possible

Power Wash the Exterior of Your Home

Before you start painting your home, be sure to power wash the exterior of your entire house.  The power washing will help remove the flaking paint, as well as help eliminate mold and other stains to ensure a proper paint job.  Let your home exterior dry completely before moving to the next steps.  In the heat of summer, the drying process could take a day or two, while in the colder winter months, it could take upwards of four to five days.

Scrape Off Any Remaining Loose Paint

Sometimes power washing may not remove all the loose paint on your home’s exterior.  After your house has completely dried, scrape away any flaking paint using a standard paint scraper.   If you skip this step, any flaking paint that is painted over with fresh paint will continue to flake.

Before picture showing old crumbling paint on wooden panelsCaulk Your Cracks

Fill voids and cracks between siding and trim seams with caulk, and then smooth out the seam with a damp rag or your finger.  These voids are often found between siding planks or around the trim.  It is essential to get a good seal on the siding and trim to prevent any water from leaking into your home.

after picture of wall painted by APlus in Austin, TxReplace Rotting or Damaged Wood

Wood rot can occur from excess moisture seeping into the siding or trim on your home, or even from insects like wood ants or termites.  Before painting, always repair damaged or rotted wood areas.  Painting over these areas will not fix the underlying issues.  Common areas for wood rot to occur is in the siding that is closest to the ground and on door or window trim.   Depending on the size of the damaged area, an experienced carpenter in Austin may be needed for the repair.

Apply Primer to Bare Wood

If any siding or trim needs to be replaced, be sure to prime the wood with a good quality primer, such as Kilz, before to painting.  This will seal the wood to create a moisture barrier between the house and the paint.

Man painting wall outside in Austin, TxTrim Trees & Nearby Plants Prior to Painting

To guarantee enough space to paint your home properly, trim any trees, bushes, and plants that are close to your home.  It will also help prevent paint from dripping onto your plants, keeping your job neater.  Consider using drop cloths to protect your bushes, flowerbeds, decks, lawns, and sidewalks from paint.

Contact Us for Exterior Painting Services in Austin

An average wood siding home in Austin, Texas should be repainted every 4 – 7 years, depending on the amount of sun exposure and wood damage.   As stated earlier, painting is a time-consuming process.  At A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions, we understand the importance of proper painting preparation and take pride in ensuring our painting projects are top-notch.  If you are looking for an exterior painter in Austin, Texas, please give us a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule your free home consultation.  Our skilled Austin Handyman and Carpenters can also repair any wood rot damage to your home, as well as much more!  Check out our website to learn more about our Home Remodeling, Fencing, Decking, Flooring and HVAC Repair or HVAC Installs services.

Do I Have a Refrigerant Leak in My AC?

As AC repair service providers in Austin, we often receive calls about refrigerant leaks. A common question we receive is, “Do I Have a Refrigerant Leak in My AC?”
Refrigerant (Freon or R-22, Puron or R-410A) is a vital component to your HVAC system. Without refrigerant, your AC would not be able to remove the heat from your home or cool it. When your aging Austin AC system is low on Freon, your AC will not function at its peak.

How to Tell If an AC is Low on Refrigerantpicture of frozen AC Unit

You can easily identify if your AC is low on refrigerant by looking for these indicators.

  1. It takes longer than normal for your home to cool off – Low refrigerant causes your AC to work overtime. You can experience high indoor temperatures, and your thermostat may not reach the temperature it is set for.
  2. Your electric bills are higher than normal – Comparing your City of Austin electric bills month-to-month or even year-to-year can help identify unseen issues with your HVAC unit if there is a sudden spike in energy usage or a dramatic increase in your bill.
  3. Vents are not blowing cool air – Warm air blowing out of your vents can indicate a handful of different issues, including an AC that has low refrigerant.
  4. Ice on the refrigerant lines – If you suspect your HVAC unit is low on Freon, look for ice acclamation on your copper refrigerant lines as an indicator.
  5. Water leaking around your indoor unit – Ice on your copper lines will eventually melt. If there is water that has pooled up near the bottom of the furnace it is a good indication that your HVAC unit had frozen up.
  6. Hissing or bubbling noises – If your unit starts making hissing or bubbling noises, it could be evidence of a larger AC refrigerant leak.

If you suspect AC repair issue, be proactive, and call a trusted air conditioning repair service to accurately diagnose the issue.

How Do Austin AC Technicians Find Refrigerant Leaks? 

Our skilled HVAC techs always check pressures on your unit during an air conditioning repair service in Austin.  This is the most accurate way to find out if your system has a Freon leak.  Finding the leak is the next step.  There are three methods our AC repair techs have been trained to use in order to find a leak:

  • Visual detection – When refrigerant leaks, it leaves a residue of oil film from the compressor at the discharge location.
  • Perform a soap test – Spray a combination of water and soap to the suspected leak point. If there is indeed a refrigerant leak in your AC system, the soapy water will bubble.  This method is not the most effective, especially when small leaks are present.
  • Electronic detector – This electronic refrigerant detector, often called a “Sniffer” emits a sound and/or a visual indication when the device detects a leak. This is the industry standard and most reliable leak detector technique.

 

Picture of Vans owned by A Plus Austin TexasRefrigerant Leak Repair

Our AC techs are ready for repairs 365 days a year.  We give our customers the best repair options for each Austin AC repair situation.  Keep in mind that some refrigerant leaks are so small they may be hard to identify.  Some leaks may be too large to repair as well, or in a very difficult spot to access, and a repair is not possible.  With the phase out of R-22 Freon, your AC system may not even be a good candidate for repair, and replacement should be considered.

Even though fall is here, there is still plenty of time for your AC to give you a headache.  If you suspect your AC is low on refrigerant or not cooling properly, give our office in Austin a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule an appointment.  We will get you cool quick!

 

Troubleshooting An Air Conditioner

With temperatures reaching 100 degrees outside, having a broken air conditioner in Austin, Texas can turn into a dangerous situation.  At A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions we like to make sure our customers are cooling just as quickly as they can. Over the last 40 years, we have found that some Austin AC repairs are simple fixes.

How to Repair Your AC in Austin When It Doesn’t Work at All

Our skilled HVAC service techs in Austin have been known to guide home owners over the phone with a few simple to do repairs.  Not only does it help our customers get cool quickly, but it also saves them the heat-induced discomfort of waiting for our Air Conditioning repairman to arrive.  If you’re ever in a situation where your AC has stopped cooling, consider checking the following to see if you can get it working on your own.

  • Check your thermostat
    If the thermostat display does not light up, change the batteries.  If there is a display, check to see if the temperature on the thermostat is set to the correct temperature.
  • See if the circuit breaker tripped
    Check your circuit break in the breaker box and make sure it has not tripped.  If the HVAC breaker has been tripped, reset the breaker by flipping the switch into the proper position.  If the breaker trips keeps tripping, there might be an electrical issue and your safety could be at risk.  Give A-Plus a call and either one of our AC Technicians in Austin, or our Home Solutions Department can help resolve the issue.
  • Check your switch at the indoor unit.  
    Many AC units have an on-off switch next to the indoor air handler for safety reasons.  It looks like a standard light switch.  There is a chance this switch might have been hit or toggled into the off position.  Flip the switch and see if your AC system turns back on.
  • Check the disconnect switch on the outdoor unit
    There should be a disconnect switch behind the outdoor unit on an exterior wall.  Make sure this switch is flipped on.  Once again, this could have been accidentally hit or toggled into the off position.
  • Look for water in the condensate drain line
    Check your indoor air hander for pooling water.  Most AC systems have a float switch that shuts off an AC unit if water begins to pool inside the drain pan.  This float switch helps prevent damage to the AC as your home.  Try to empty out the water and clear the drain pan with debris.
  • How to Repair and AC Unit that Runs but Doesn’t Cool
    Sometimes, your Air Conditioner runs but does not blow cool air.  Here is what you can do if you encounter this problem.
  • Check your air filter
    It is important that your air filters are changed on a regular basis.  If the filters are not changed regularly, the restriction of the air flow due to dust, dirt & debris can cause your AC unit to stop operating.  We recommend using the cheapest pleated filter you can buy.

 

If your AC Unit is not keeping you cool after these quick repairs, we have skilled HVAC techs in Austin who are ready to assist.  A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions offers fast after hours AC Repair Services, and Weekend Air Conditioning Repair Services in Austin.  We have experience serving all major brands including Lennox, Carrier, Trane, American Standard & Rheem.  With over 40 years of experience as a locally family owned business, we have earned the trust of our community.  Please give our office a call to schedule your AC Repair, Air Conditioning Check Up, or HVAC Replacement today!

 

14 Consecutive Months of Record Heat

Record Heat in Austin, Texas

Average sea surface temperature was also record high Persistent heat on land and in the sea this June shattered records, yet again

as reported in ac-today.com

June 2016 was 1.62 degrees F above the 20th century average, breaking last year’s record for the warmest June on record by 0.04 degrees F, according to scientists from NOAA’sNational Centers for Environmental Information. NOAA’s global temperature records dates back 137 years to 1880. For the year to date, the average global temperature was 1.89 degrees F above the 20th century average. This was the highest temperature for this period, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.36 degrees F.

• Some notable events around the world include:
• The globally averaged sea surface temperature was record high for June and the year-to-date (January–June).
• The globally averaged land temperature tied a record high for June, making it the 34th consecutive June with temperatures above the 20th century average. The year-to-date (January–June) average temperature was also record high.
• Much warmer-than-average temperatures contributed to North America’s warmest June since continental records began in 1910.
• Much warmer-than-average conditions engulfed most of Africa resulting in the second warmest June since 1910 for the continent.
• The average Arctic sea ice extent for June was 11.4 percent below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest June extent since records began in 1979.
• The average Antarctic sea ice extent for June was 40,000 square miles below the 1981–2010 average, marking the smallest June Antarctic sea ice extent since 2011 and the 13th smallest on record.

ac-today is one of the many expert resources that your team at A-Plus AC references to stay on the cutting edge in our industry (they also wrote this article, which can be viewed in its entirety here.