Common Problems

8 Common Central Air Conditioner Problems – And How To Prevent Them

The Weather In Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Can Be Unpredictable

If you live Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, you know the drill. Each year summer arrives with a vengeance. It gets hot and humid outside and it gets hot and humid in your house, too. The last thing you’re thinking about is central air conditioner problems.

You run over to your thermostat and switch it to cool - fully expecting to hear the air conditioner unit Thermostat The Geiler Company.jpgswitch on and bring the relief of sweet, refrigerated air wafting through your home.

You’re not always that lucky, right?

Unfortunately, central air conditioner problems are common. The system is complex and a lot of things can go wrong. Sometimes the unit won’t start up. Or airflow from the ducts is low. Or, there’s plenty of airflow, but the air isn’t cool. Before we tell you how to prevent spring air conditioner problems, let’s go through what can cause them, one by one.

8 Common Central Air Conditioner Problems Explained

 

        1. Won’t Start: A Tripped Breaker

A breaker is an automatic device that acts as safety precaution to keep overcurrents from damaging your air conditioner or causing a fire. Replacing the breaker will usually correct the issue. However, a tripped breaker can also be the sign of bigger and more dangerous central air conditioner problems.

         2. Won’t Start: A Contactor Problem

Contactors are switches in outdoor central air conditioner units that must make contact with each other for the unit to run. They sometimes simply fail and need to be replaced. And ants, attracted by the electricity, keep the contactors from making contact, as well.

        3. Poor Airflow: Filters Are Dirty

Dirty filters are one of the most common reasons for central air conditioner problems. The filters must be cleaned or replaced every other month for your unit to operate properly. Dirty filters not only restrict airflow (so your home doesn’t cool efficiently) but also can cause all kinds of other problems.

 

        4. Poor Airflow: Ducts May Be Leaking

Another reason for poor airflow is leaking ducts. The duct system delivers cool air to the various areas of your home. Low airflow and high electric bills are often signs of leaking ducts. Duct leakage is one of the leading causes of inefficient A/C operation.

       5. Warm Airflow: Refrigerant Has Leaked

If the refrigerant in your central air conditioner has leaked your home won’t cool well and you’ll use much more electricity. This problem can also cause major damage inside the unit. Refrigerants are dangerous and known to be a greenhouse gas, so must be handled with care.

 

       6. Warm Airflow: Evaporator Coil Is Dirty

The evaporator coil is located inside your home and acts to cool the air being brought in through the ducts. Dirty coils are a common reason for inefficient cooling.

 

      7. Low or Warm Airflow: Condenser Coil May Be Dirty

A condenser coil is located outside the home and when dirty will restrict the cooling power of your air conditioner unit. Again, you’ll spend more on electricity, too.

 

      8.  Humid Indoor Air: A Drain May Be Clogged

As your air conditioner cools, it pulls moisture out of the inside air to lower the humidity. Usually this moisture drains out through your home’s plumbing system. But algae often grow inside the drain lines and cause clogging. With nowhere to go, the moisture backs up into your home, keeping the air moist and humid.

Every one of above central air conditioner problems can be avoided by one simple solution: a spring air conditioner tune-up. Specially trained technicians come out to your home and perform a thorough inspection. They look for and repair leaks, clean and/or replace dirty filters, clear clogged drains, clean coils and contactors and check your ductwork for leaks.

 

If your home is located in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky or Southeastern Indiana, before the first heat wave hits, please call The Geiler Company for a spring air conditioner tune-up. We’ll make sure you can count on being cool and comfortable all summer long (and save on your electric bill, too.)

 

About Us: The Geiler Company has been serving the needs of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners for over 130 years. Our longevity is a testament to the high level of service we provide. If you’re not one of our customers yet, we invite you to become one. We would love to make you part of our family.

  • 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed
  • Highly trained technicians
  • State of the art expertise
  • Friendly respectful service
  • Fully licensed and insured
  • 24-hour emergency service

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Repair or Replace?

Repair or Replace. When Is It Time To Buy a New Furnace?

 

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It’s okay to replace one piece of a furnace or air conditioning system at a time, as they need
replaced, but that can become costly and inefficient as your indoor and outdoor unit work
together to maximize heating and cooling efficiency.
When the time comes to making this decision, it is important to look at how much capital you have
put into your current system, through repairs and rising energy bills, and see if replacing it for a
a newer, more efficient systems will be more cost-effective in the long run.
There are several repairs that are just as costly as replacing your whole system. One of the
most prominent is a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is a set of coils or tubes that
actually heats the air your system puts out. The heat exchanger can often crack due to
overheating. If you find yourself in that situation, your best bet is to replace your furnace, as
opposed to repairing it.
 
EnergyStar, a program launched by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, also
has a list of guidelines for when you are faced with replacing or repairing your system.
 
●Your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old.
 
●Your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.
 
●You find yourself making frequent repairs to your equipment and your energy bills
continue to rise.
 
●Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.
 
●No one is home for long periods of the day and your system does not have a
programmable thermostat.
 
●Your home has humidity problems.
 
●You find excessive dust in your home.
 
●Your heating or cooling system is loud or makes noises.
 
The average life expectancy of your furnace and air conditioning system is about 12 to 15 years.
If you find your system needing repairs or even the system replaced despite having done
recommended yearly maintenance, be sure to have a licensed professional evaluate your
system to get to the root of the problem.
 
There could be venting complications, your system could have been installed incorrectly or your system could be the wrong size for your space.
 
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The size of your system should be based on the size of your home. If a system is an improper
size for your home, it will fail. A too-small system won’t get your house as warm or cool as you
want because it cannot keep up with the space it is working in. A larger system does not equate
better heating or cooling, it will only result in overheating the home and frequently turning on
and off, short cycling, the system.
 
If you are unsure whether or not to repair or replace your furnace, the most important piece of
the puzzle is having a licensed professional from a reputable company, who can fully back their
warranties, repair or install your new system.
 

Programmable Thermostats

Do programmable thermostats save money?  


 Do programmable thermostats save money?  heating and cooling cincinnati ohio the geiler company
According to Energy Star (https://www.energystar.gov/), a federal program to help consumers save energy, 45% of total power use in a home goes to heating and cooling, and the average cost for that comfort is $2100 to $2500 per year.   The greater the difference between the outside and inside temperature of your home, the higher the energy costs.  Someone willing to be a little cold in the winter in Chicago will save more than someone who has to burn less energy to stay warm.

The other factor at play is the human one.  The more determined you are to save energy, the more you will save. 
How willing are you to be a little cold in the winter or hot in the summer? 
Can you keep your finger off the thermostat?

Let's look at the numbers.  Programmable thermostats typically cost three times as much as manual ones.   Let's say we are going to spend $150 on a programmable thermostat, hoping to get that money back with a lower energy bill.

A 2007 study found that homes with programmable thermostats saved an average of 6.5 percent of their energy costs.  Using the middle ground of $2300 per year, that's $149.50.  That pays for the thermostat the first year and goes into your pocket after that. 
 
But can you save that 6.5 percent? Do programmable thermostats save money?  air conditioner service the geiler company

If you let your home get uncomfortably hot or cold when you are away and then burn energy getting comfortable when you get home, you won't save much.  Experts say you must be willing to save energy when you are home as well as away.  Giving up one degree of climate comfort generally translates into one percent of energy savings.  
 Do programmable thermostats save money?  Thermostat The Geiler Company

So the answer to this question depends on who is asking, where they live and how determined they are to save money.

Smell

What is that smell when you turn the heat on? 

It's that first cold day of the year.  You turn on the heat and suddenly you are hit with an odor. 
 
What is that smell when you turn the heat on? 
 
The answer depends on the problem.  Let's talk about the most serious one first.

1.  It smells like smoke.  Smoke is never good.  It means something is burning.  If you have an oil furnace, it could mean a serious problem.  Likewise if you have an electric furnace.  A blocked chimney can also cause a smoky smell.  Bottom line:  If you smell smoke when you turn the heat on, call a professional right away for an evaluation.

2.  It smells like burning plastic or burning rubber.  This is also an indication of something potentially serious.  If your heater has an electrical malfunction, the plastic casings on the wires could be melting.  The smell could also mean an overheated furnace motor or cracked heat exchanger.  Other possible causes are foreign objects like a child's toy that have fallen into the ductwork or a spill that made its way inside there.  If you smell burning rubber or plastic, it's best to call a professional to find out what the problem is.

3.  It smells like mold.  A musty odor could mean mold is on the furnace filter, or worse, What is that smell when you turn the heat on the geiler company.jpgtrapped in your ductwork. You should inspect your furnace filter often and change as needed.  Homes with pets need to have filters changed as often as every 60 days.  If changing the filter doesn't get rid of the smell, it's time to call a professional to examine the ductwork.  You also need to find what caused the mold to grow in the first place and correct the issue so it doesn't grow back.
 
4.  It smells like burning dust.  Dust and dirt collect in air ducts.  When you turn your 
what is that smell when i turn the heat on the geiler company.jpgfurnace on for the first time each year, this dust is burned off.  This is not a big deal.  The smell should go away in a few hours.  If it doesn't, check your air filters to make sure they don't need to be changed.  If that doesn't solve the problem, you may have a dirty heating element.  If that's the case, you should call a professional for an evaluation.

Remember to trust your nose and your instincts.  It's always better to call a professional and find out what's going on than to risk the safety of those inside your home.

You may want to visit our Indoor Air Quality page  to learn more.

 

Reduce Your Bill

How to lower your electric bill

The average family spends about $2200 on energy every year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.  For many people, the biggest single energy expense is the electric bill.  The need for electricity will never go away, but there are ways to spend less and still stay plugged in.
 
Heating and cooling are the biggest energy expense in any home, so the first step toward lowering your electric bill is adjusting your thermostat.  The Energy Department says that one degree of adjustment down in the Winter or up in the Summer will save you about three percent per degree on your electric bill. 
 
how to lower your electric bill_The Geiler Company (1)
 
A programmable thermostat can also save you money if you use it consistently.  Adjusting the temperature up or down ten degrees depending on the season can save you about ten percent of your energy costs per year.  The trick is to make sure that the adjustment is at least eight hours a day.  Any less than that, and you won't gain any ground because the units will always work harder to get the temperature back to where you want it when you get home. Programmable thermostats cost anywhere from $90-$150 plus installation, so your goal is to break even the first year and then start saving from there.
 
Hot water is the second biggest expense in a home.  The more you use and the hotter you keep it, the more energy you consume and pay for.  Most water heaters are factory set at 140 degrees. Cutting that to 120 degrees won't seem like much of a difference, but will save you money in the long run.  Washing your clothes in warm or even cold water will also save money.
 
Checking your home insulation level, checking doors and windows for leaks and even putting on warmer or cooler clothing are also ways that you can keep your heater or air conditioner from working as hard.
 
If you would like your HVAC system or appliances checked out for maximum efficiency, call the Geiler Company at 513-434-8520
 
Our professionals can help you save money and head off any smaller problems before they become bigger ones.

Filter Replacement

Do filters improve air quality?

It depends on the type of filter and your expectations.  Air filters have what's called a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) that goes from 1 to 20.  The higher the value, the more efficient the filtering and the higher the price.  

The cheapest filters are flat panel fiberglass, which has an MERV rating from 1 to 4.  They can catch large particles in the air and will work properly for one to three months, depending on the number of particulates in the home.  But a low MERV rating means that the filter will protect the HVAC components more than it will actually clean the air.  

Pleated Media filters have MERV ratings from 5-16, depending on the design.  These are more expensive, but will actually filter out smaller air particles more efficiently than fiberglass filters.

pleated filter_the geiler company

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are the next step up.  They have a MERV rating from 17-20.  There are a couple of factors to consider with these filters.  First, they are quite expensive.  Unless someone in the home has health problems related to inhaling small particulates in the air, it may not be necessary to have a HEPA filter.  Also, HVAC systems need a certain amount of air to flow into the system for it to work properly.  If a filter is too efficient and restricts the airflow below what's needed, it could reduce the efficiency of the system or possibly even damage the components.  Some HVAC systems may also require retrofitting before a HEPA filter can be used.  If you are considering this option, let us examine your system and your home to ensure that the system would be a good fit.
HEPA air filter_the geiler company
Washable filters, also called permanent filters, are another option to explore if you are interested in cost savings over time.  The filters can cost around $100, but if cared for properly they can last as long as the HVAC system itself.  The two most important things to remember are to clean them regularly so they don't clog up and to let them dry completely before reinstalling them into the system and turning it on.  A wet filter inside an HVAC system can end up blowing mold into the ductwork and into the home.
washable furnace filter_the giler company
Every home is unique and so are its HVAC needs.  Let us check out your system and our experts can determine what filter type is right for you and your home.  

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