Homeowners Guide to Heating and Cooling

AccuTemp's Heating and Cooling Tips for HVAC

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Your HVAC system has a lot of components. With so many components, there's potential for safety hazards. Luckily, most of these hazards are preventable. The precautions are easy to take.

The Simple Things

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Make sure to change the batteries regularly. Carbon monoxide is known as the "silent killer" because you can't see or smell the gas.
  • Block children and animals from accessing areas where you HVAC system components are. There are many sharp parts all over the system. You may find that there are certain safety switches in place, but every once in a while those can fail too.
  • Have your system maintained by a licensed HVAC technician. Part of a yearly check is to make sure those safety switches are working properly. They check gas lines, electrical connections and anything else that could potentially be a hazard.
  • Change your filter monthly. This is important for many reasons. One of the most important is it creates and easy path for the air to flow through. The less resistance, the better.

The Less Known Things

Aside from the obvious, having a carbon monoxide detector is so important. Furnaces contain a "heat exchanger." Over time, sometimes these can get microscopic cracks (and sometimes larger cracks!) These cracks allow carbon monoxide to seep out. This isn't necessarily something you can see. Due to the fact that you may not be able to see your heat exchanger, your carbon monoxide is literally your only way of knowing if there's a problem.

If your carbon monoxide detector does go off, turn your HVAC system off and vacate the house immediately. If you have pets, take them with you. If you aren't feeling drowsy, feverish or have a headache, you can open windows to vent your home. From there, give us a call and let us know what's going on. We'll get a technician out to your home promptly to assess the situation. Do not sleep in your home until you've informed by a professional that the issue has been rectified.

Frayed wires are a problem. If you notice frayed wires that are connected to your HVAC system, turn the system off and call us. These pose a fire hazard.

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July 18, 2018
By: Summer McAnally
When a home has an air flow issue, people tend to immediately think it has to do with the duct work. In effort to try and fix this issue themselves, they'll close off various vents. In some cases, two floors will operate on one system and the upstairs won't get as much air flow. People then tend to think if they close all the vents downstairs, they'll move the air upstairs. While this may be possible, it can wreck havoc on your HVAC system.
frozen coil
When you begin messing with the air flow of the system, you are messing with static pressure.

Without getting overly confusing and technical, static pressure to a technician is what your blood pressure is to your doctor. They both give a good indication of overall health. You never want this number to be too high or too low.
While you mess with your static pressure, your system begins to think there's an air flow restriction. Your system will then begin to act like it's low on refrigerant. From there, your coil will likely freeze up. At this point, your system won't be able to cool your home properly anymore due to the frozen coil. The issues only continue from there. Now you may also be dealing with water issues when the coil begins to thaw.
What else can cause these issues?
dirty filter
This is also the reason in which we recommend you change your filter out every month. When your air filter gets clogged enough, those same type of issues can occur. It's best to prevent these issues so that you don't put any unnecessary strain on the components of your system.
A system with a long history of regular maintenance and filters changes will live much longer than a system that's neglected. You can get 15 years of out a system if you treat it right.
If the system lives longer than that, that's great, but consider technological advancement. By the time 15 years passes, a new system will save you in money and get you more efficiency. The systems today are great, but by the time 15 more years passes, it will be out dated technology. Hopefully by that time someone will have created a system that runs on water. Ha!
So what do I do if I have air flow issues?
Unfortunately when it comes to air flow issues, there's not much you can do yourself. You can check and change your air filter and you can inspect any exposed duct work. If you notice anything disconnected, you can attempt to repair yourself if you feel confident in your skills. You will need HVAC tape, not duct tape! They are actually different. If this is your first time using HVAC tape, be very careful. The cuts you can get from this stuff is like a paper cut, but way worse. We highly recommend you just give us a call and let us safely handle it for you.
Give us a call at 770-672-6963 if you'd like to get scheduled or have any further questions
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In theory, leasing your air conditioner sounds great. The system isn't actually yours so in a way, the system isn't your problem. You don't have to fork over a bunch of money at once. Oh how glorious it sounds! Until you look at the fine print...and add up the numbers. 

So let's say you've found a deal where you lease your air conditioner by the month for $100. Consider that this system may be in your possession for 10-15 years. That's a whopping $12,000-$18,000 before fees. You could have purchased that same air conditioner for $5,000 or less.  

What happens if I sell my home?


That's a great question. In most situations, they'll require you to either buy the system from them so it can stay with the home or you can pay their HVAC installation crew to come remove the system. In either case, if you're leasing your system, you're probably not going to want to go with either of those options.

So, what else can I do?

Thankfully, most companies offer all sorts of financing options. Watch for specials on financing. You could end up with 12 month no interest deal! 

What if that's my only option?

Continue to search for a solution other than leasing your system. It may take some time, but the right financing situation is out there for you. You just have to find it. (Yes, I know it's hot. Go to your local coffee shop, order a frappuccino, enjoy their air conditioner and free wifi while you search for this unicorn financing deal.)

I'm stuck on making a bad decision. What should I look for?

If you're just absolutely stuck on the idea of getting ripped off on your new air conditioner, be sure to look closely at the terms.

What's included?

Is maintenance covered?

Are parts covered?

How about the labor?

How quickly will someone fix the system if it breaks down during peak season? (You know, when HVAC companies are booked a week out.)

A company above the rest.

AccuTemp has been in business for 30 years. We're family owned and operated as well as licensed and insured. We maintain an A+ rating with BBB®. Every job is permitted and inspected by the city or county you're located within.

If you'd like to get pre-approved for financing a system installation with us, feel free to do so here. Once you're approved, give us a call and we'll be happy to get a comfort consultant to your home. In no time, you'll have a new, high efficient system! 

If you happen to be denied, give us a call. We have an alternate financing option as well.

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May 25, 2018
By: Summer McAnally

The first symptom you’ll likely notice of a clogged drain line is a pan with water in it. Hopefully, you have a newer system with a float safety switch. If not, we highly recommend you have one installed as soon as possible. This holds true even more so in homes with furnaces in the attic. Without the safety switch, your drain could become clogged, your drain pan would fill up and eventually spill over, onto the attic floor. condensateline

In order to avoid such occurrences, your drain line should be flushed regularly. You can do this yourself if you feel comfortable. You’ll need to open up the drain line access. Most of the time, it’ll be a PVC pipe in the shape of a T. It should have a cap on it. You can pull that cap off, and that where you’ll flush the line.

Before you get started, make sure to turn your system off. I like to shut the system off at both the thermostat and at the “light switch” at the furnace. That “light switch” is actually the power to your furnace. If you are still worried about the system getting power, you can remove the furnace door. This should trip a different safety switch, which will also cut power to the system.

Next, mix half white vinegar and half hot water. The amount depends on the location of the drain. If it’s all the way up in the attic, do a half gallon of water and a half gallon of white vinegar. If it’s a short drain in a basement, use 1/4 gallon of each.

Through the summer, doing this once per month will help to keep that line clear. The reason it should be done so often is due to algae build up. Your system is constantly creating condensation. The drain line’s job is to move that water out of your house. If some of the water ends up sitting in your drain line, it can create algae build up. This is where you end up with “clogged drain lines”.

By flushing the drain line regularly, you’re preventing such occurrences from happening. The last thing you want to deal with on the hottest day of the year is a system that won’t run because of a clogged drain line.

Hopefully, this helps to prevent this issue for you, but in extreme cases, it may not. If your system ends up being one of the extremes, be sure to give us a call. One of our technicians can blow the line out with nitrogen. Whatever you do, never stick anything down in the drain. If the drain line ends up punctured, you could be looking at a costly repair. In some cases, these run down walls, which are incredibly difficult to access without removing drywall.

In the event that your drain line is already clogged, you can still attempt to try the method above. If it won’t budge, you’ll need nitrogen pumped through the line. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can do yourself. You’ll need to call us (or your preferred, licensed HVAC contractor).

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May 15, 2018
By: Summer McAnally
If you've just found your air conditioner covered in ice, the system needs to be turned off. Many people try to continue running the system in hopes to get some cool air. This is actually counter-intuitive. By continuing to run this system, you're just creating more ice on the unit. If a technician gets there and the unit is still frozen, there's literally nothing he can do. The system must be ice-free in order to properly diagnose and locate any refrigerant leaks you may be having.  
Luckily, you can run the fan in the on position to thaw the unit out and get air flow through your home. 

What could the problem be? 

There are two main issues usually leading up to a frozen air conditioner. The first one, the one you should hope for, is a clogged air filter. After you've turned your system off, go ahead and check your filter. If you do find that it's clogged/dirty, remove the clogged filter and replace with a fresh one. Wait until your system has no ice on it and turn the unit back on. During the next 48 hours, check the system various times through the day. If it doesn't ice back up, congratulations! You've solved your issues with minimal cost and time.

What if it's not a clogged filter?

After you've completed the steps above, if you find that the system is still frozen, it's likely that you have a refrigerant leak. Unfortunately, this isn't something you'll be able to repair yourself. Freon is highly regulated and can only be obtained by a licensed HVAC contractor. During the visit, they'll likely do a leak search. The leak may or may not be repairable. In some cases, you may get away with just replacing a valve, but in other more extreme cases, you may have to replace a coil. 
It's important to make sure you change your air filter out regularly. When air tries to pass through a clogged air filter, the air will still find it's way around the filter somewhere. This causes the system to work harder to push less air through the system. With it comes dirt and debris that the filter should have been catching. All of that gunk is now building up in the moving parts of your system. This is where some of the issues arise. At some point, different components such as the motor may fail. Moral of the story? Change out those air filters regularly!  

One more possibility. 

It's also possible that you have dirty coils. This can usually be rectified with a chemical wash. Depending on the location of your unit, this may be something that has to be done fairly regularly. The refrigerant can't easily pass through a dirty coil, which is why it freezes up.

How to Prevent an Icy Unit

Having regular tune-ups performed on your system by a certified HVAC technician can help to decrease your risk of ending up with a frozen system. During these visits, in many cases, the technician will locate small issues before they become large issues.   

We have special offers available. Check them out here.

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About AccuTemp

We provide air conditioning and heat pump repairs, maintenance and replacement to the Metro Atlanta Area and are centrally located in Marietta, Georgia.

Our service area includes: Adairsville, Acworth, Alpharetta, Austell, Ball Ground, Buckhead, Buford, Canton, Cartersville, Cumming, Dallas, Dawsonville, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Dunwoody, Gainesville, Holly Springs, Hiram, lp, Jasper, John’s Creek, Kennesaw, Marietta, Norcross, Powder Springs, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Stone Mountain, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, Villa Rica, Vinings Waleska, White and Woodstock.

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Marietta, GA 30066

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