Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog:
Archive for the ‘Air Conditioning’ Category

AC Coil Cleaning – How Important Is It Really?

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

So, your service technician recommended a coil cleaning and I wanted to explain it’s value.

Not many people even know what an air conditioning coil is!
This is what an indoor coil looks like:

…and an outdoor coil:

Coils have lots of delicate metal fins that create surface area where temperature transfer can occur. Warm air becomes cold as it passes over the coil. Sometimes your coil looks clean but we can tell by the rust in your drain pan that things are not functioning properly. 

To give you some idea about how important clean coils are: 1/100th of an inch of dirt on your air conditioner’s coil hampers efficiency by 5%.

Now I understand that you may think, “So what. Five percent? I can live with that!”

But what’s worse is what it does to the condensation!

You know how water condensates on your cold drink in hot weather? Well, the same condensation forms on your cold air conditioning coil in hot weather. Sometimes so much condensation forms that it cannot easily be dispersed through your air conditioning system back into the air in your home. That’s why you have a condensate drain line.

Dirt on your coil is TERRIBLE when it mixes with condensation because the dirt grabs onto the water and keeps it pressed against the cold coil. That water then FREEZES and sets off a chain reaction of freezing and grabbing more condensation and freezing and grabbing until your WHOLE COIL becomes frozen.

Like this frozen coil:

Shocking, isn’t it? 
When the coil freezes like that ^^^ your whole system shuts down. You can see that the coil in this photo doesn’t even look that dirty!

Now, here is the important part: Before your coil becomes a block of ice it has probably had many days where it partially freezes. It may produce just enough frozen condensation to cause your system to be less effective and efficient during the day. Then at night the ice melts and sits in your drain pan causing rust – that little telltale sign that something is wrong.

So, yes, it seems like your system is working. You may even ask yourself, “Why is Kilowatt telling me that I need a coil cleaning, my system is fine!”

Then a particularly hot day comes along, your system is producing and freezing more and more condensation and suddenly the system shuts down.

Dust on the coil is like high cholesterol in the blood stream – a silent killer. The symptoms are not dramatic but a dirty coil can cause serious damage.

That is why we are recommending a coil cleaning.

Obviously, investing in a coil cleaning is your decision. No hard feelings if you choose to wait. But I wanted to make sure that you understand  why we are recommending one so that you can keep an eye on your system. Here is a list of things that can exacerbate the situation…
Watch out for:

• Pet fur
• Loose fiber glass insulation
• Ashes and soot from wildfires
• Street grinding and repaving
• Construction dust
• Tree trimming
• Pollen and other plant matter
• Dusty wind  • Smoking indoors – tar build-up on the coil

As always the best thing you can do for your system is regularly scheduled professional maintenance twice a year and changing the filter yourself as needed in between visits. Other than that we are a phone call away and at your service.

Coil Cleaning advice from Lisa

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How Efficient Are Ductless Mini Split Systems?

Monday, August 12th, 2019

IMG_6445

As older home specialists, our Kilowatt team often works with ductless mini split systems. Going ductless is an excellent choice for these homes because they allow for cooling and heating around the house, much like a central HVAC system, but without needing to add an inch of ductwork.

But ductless mini splits offer other benefits for homeowners, such as improved energy efficiency. How much of a difference can a ductless mini split make in home comfort? We can’t give you specific dollar savings amounts because every home is different, but we can show you how ductless systems improve efficiency.

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Understanding Capacitors and Contactors: Essential Air Conditioning Parts

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Byron-holding-Capacitors

Air conditioning systems are often called refrigerant-based systems because they use the circulation of refrigerant to move heat from inside a building to the outside. But air conditioners don’t actually run off the refrigerant: they’re electrical devices that take the power to run their components from the electrical system in a building. They’re complex electrical devices as well, and the majority of malfunctions an air conditioner can encounter happen because of electrical problems.

We’d like to focus on two electrical components in your AC that are essential for it to work: the capacitors and the contactors. These parts work together to allow the motors in the air conditioner to run—and they will both eventually wear out, fail, and need replacement. It’s best to think of them as temporary parts. Regular AC maintenance will help technicians catch dying capacitors and contactors early, but you may find yourself caught off-guard and need AC repair in West Hollywood, CA.

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Is It Normal for the AC to Run Constantly?

Monday, July 1st, 2019

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Summers in Southern California are long and hot, with the heat often extending well into October. Air conditioning systems get extreme workouts during this time—so much so that it may seem as if a home’s air conditioner is always running from July onward.

But there’s a difference in an air conditioner that runs frequently and one that is actually running constantly and never powering down.

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Some Quick Troubleshooting Tips for a Central AC

Monday, June 17th, 2019

ac-unit

You can trust your air conditioning system to turn on and cool your house during the hot summer weather. Well, most of the time you can trust it. No AC system can work perfectly in all circumstances, and you may find one day that you turn on your air conditioner and that it either doesn’t come on, or it turns on but the air coming from the vents isn’t cool enough.

Your first instinct may be to call a professional for air conditioning service in Studio City, CA That’s a good idea—it’s much better than trying to see if you can fix the problem yourself or finding an amateur (“a guy who knows a guy”) to do the work. However, there are a few troubleshooting steps you may go through that may reveal the cause behind your AC not cooling properly.

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Do Attic Fans Make Sense for My House?

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

old-fan

Handling the summer heat in Los Angeles can put immense strain on a residential air conditioning system. Many homeowners want to find ways to cut back on their AC use to lower their bills. There are several ways to help combat the indoor heat without using a refrigerant-based air conditioning system. Attic fans are one of these tools, although people are often unsure if these types of fans will help or not.

You can always ask an electrician in West Hollywood, CA at Kilowatt for help in making a choice about cooling your home and improving ventilation. We’ll give you a short overview of attic fans in this post to help you see the possibilities—but please call us before you make any major decision!

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Why We Don’t Recommend Portable ACs for Home Cooling Solutions

Monday, May 20th, 2019

ASminisplit
A ductless mini split air handler

Many older homes in Southern California weren’t built with central air conditioning in mind. But today it’s hard to imagine making it through our summers in comfort without some type of AC. If you live in a home that doesn’t have central air, you’ve probably looked for a cooling solution, such as a portable air conditioner.

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When the Compressor Fails, Do You Need to Replace the Whole AC?

Monday, May 6th, 2019

compressor-in-ac-unit

The compressor is the workhorse of an air conditioning system. It’s like the engine—without it, nothing happens and an air conditioner becomes a central fan blowing around room temperature air.

What happens when the compressor in your AC stops working and it can’t be repaired? This is a serious situation, and you’ll have a number of options to consider—one of which is to have the entire air conditioning system replaced. Is this the best option, or are the other choices more cost-effective?

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Watch Out for These Shady AC Stories From Non-Professionals

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

We would love to tell homeowners who are looking for air conditioning solutions for their home that the entire HVAC industry is honest and above-board. But it’s not: there are many unlicensed contractors prowling around, searching for ways to take advantage of customers who just want a quality air conditioning system installation or repair.

In general, you shouldn’t hire any HVAC contractor who doesn’t have a license, since that means the contractor probably lacks insurance to protect you in case of an accident and probably lacks experience as well. A specific thing to watch out for are shady claims and stories you’ll hear from HVAC contractors who aren’t on the up-and-up. Below are a few of these sneaky stories:

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Change Your Air Conditioning System’s Air Filter!

Monday, April 8th, 2019

dirty-hvac-filter

Spring is the season when we recommend our customers arrange for their annual air conditioning maintenance. Scheduling this air conditioning service in Los Angeles, CA is the best way to enjoy dependable, energy-efficient cooling during the summer and to extend the AC’s service life.

We want to address a specific step in AC maintenance—one you’ll have to do on your own. It’s regularly changing the air filter. Our technicians will change this filter during maintenance, but you’ll need to follow up and change it regularly during the rest of the year, usually every 1 to 3 months.

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