Why is HVAC Preventative Maintenance Important?

Save money for the important thingsWhole-home heating and cooling systems are expensive, there’s no other way to put it. Replacing a whole-home comfort system, especially with a quality system that will last 10+ years, can cost thousands of dollars. Money like that, to use a popular saying, “doesn’t grow on trees.” An unexpected failure in either your heating or cooling system will dip into your emergency fund, and make you allocate that money from something you really want to spend your money on, also known as in our business as a “luxury” item (think a trip, new car, boat, bike, etc.). Here at HVAC Parts Shop we don’t want you to have to go through this, so that’s why we stress to our customers preventative maintenance. Simple, preventative maintenance can help lengthen the life of your air conditioner and furnace, and put off those costs, allowing you to spend your money on what you really want.

First and foremost, changing the filters for the system is a priority.  If a filter is clogged up, the air is unable to get through. If the air can’t get through the filter, components of the system begin to overheat. When they overheat, that’s when the system can start to shut down, or even break down, leading to costly repairs or a full out necessary replacement. Preventative maintenance, like regular filter changes, can lengthen the life of the unit and help it run more efficiently, saving you money in both the long and short term. Depending on the size of your filter, the time between replacements can vary.

Generally, we suggest a one-inch filter gets replaced every month, and some of the thicker ones can last up to three-four months. However, regular checks are recommended to make sure it is not too clogged up and the unit is still running efficiently. Click here to view our selection of filters if yours needs to be replaced.Run Capacitor

Another important item to change on a regular basis is your capacitor. The capacitor regulates the electrical current running through the equipment. We recommend replacing them every 4-5 years. After a few years a capacitor can get weaker. This can cause all sorts of problems for your equipment. A weak capacitor puts unnecessary stress on the motor and compressor. This stress can cause them to overheat, or not start at all. A weak capacitor can even cause the motor and compressor’s life to be shortened. Replacing them every few years is a relatively cheap and easy fix for do-it-yourselfers. When you switch out your capacitor, it is important to discharge yourself and the capacitor before removing it. This will make it safe to touch, and can prevent an unpleasant jolt of electricity.

Contactors are important to change every 4-5 years as well. Contactors are connected to all of the main electrical. They are connected to the compressor, fan motor, thermostat, and capacitor. When the thermostat calls for cooling, the contactor closes the circuits. These closed electrical circuits let the electricity flow through the contacts and power the unit. As a contactor gets older and dirt gets into the contacts, it becomes more difficult for the circuits to close. If they can’t close properly, the contactor tries to push electrical current harder, and that causes extra stress on the electrical contacts. With extra stress on the contacts, the electrical equipment is stressed too. In order to prevent the unnecessary stress on the air conditioner, it is recommended to replace the contactor every 4-5 years.

These simple tips are the type of preventative maintenance that will help keep your home comfort system running efficiently. Replacing these parts consistently will help lengthen the life of your system. Replacing these parts will help keep the costs to a minimum, and can let you focus on the important things in life. If you need any of these parts, or other technical support, feel free to check out our website at www.hvacpartsshop.com. We’ll be happy to help you out.site-logo

Hard Start Kits: Do You Need One?

When a heating and AC system is working, it is marvelous. Having the temperature in your home exactly where you want it, regardless of the weather outside is a fantastic thing. However, like every other mechanical thing, some AC units are subject to wear-and-tear, and eventually breaking down. For many electrical units, the simple act of starting up is actually the hardest part in the lifespan of that unit. For example, many lightbulbs burn out when you start them, not when they’re on and running. This is due to the huge current that rushes in when a switch is thrown and power is first applied. Your A/C uses 5-10 times more power on start-up than it does when it’s running; this causes strain on its components. In addition to the power used to start-up your unit, a wave of heat rushes through and it could damage the compressor, terminals, windings and run capacitor; all vital components of your air conditioner.

One thing that happens when a compressor starts to wear down is an increase in electrical pull. As it wears down, it takes more and more electricity to shift the compressor from start-mode to run-mode. This extra electrical current can overload the capacitor, and it can stop working. In older units, start capacitors were required, and they helped shift the compressor into run-mode. Some units nowadays do not have start capacitors. If the compressor is having a hard time turning on, it could be drawing too much electrical current through the capacitor, and this will reduc71P48_300e the life of the capacitor significantly.

One way to prevent the extra pull of current through the  is to install a hard start kit, also known as a compressor saver. The hard start kit will shorten the start-up period of the compressor. It allows the compressor to start up quickly and use less power during the process of powering up your unit. Ultimately it will let you save money on your energy bill. You’re A/C may start upwards of 6,000 times in a single cooling season. Reducing the strain on your unit each time it starts will not only save you time and money, but it will also extend the lifespan of your unit.

Here at the HVAC Parts Shop it is our professional opinion that you consider adding a hard start kit for your unit. The hard start kit will allow your compressor to last longer, help your AC unit start and cool your home more efficiently, and ultimately cost you less money in power bills and the possible maintenance cost of a new compressor down the road. Here at the HVAC Parts Shop we sell hard start kits starting at $25; this is 90% less than replacing a new compressor, and 95-98% less than replacing you’re A/C unit. On our website the part number for the Hard Start Kit is a 71P48, and the direct link to the page is here. If you have any questions about the hard start kit, or anything parts related, remember we offer live tech support both on our website and over the phone.

Germicidal Light The Way To Cleaner Air

Fact of life: germs are present in every home, and no matter how much you clean there will be at least some germs in your home. The question then becomes what can you do to combat the germs in your home? One of the simplest ways to clean up the air in your home and eliminate those pesky troublesome germs is through germicidal lights. There are three different types of UV rays: UV-A UV-B, and UV-C. The germicidal lights give off UV-C rays. This level of ultra-violet light destroys a mold’s, virus’s, and bacteria’s ability to grow and multiply. When these cells try to divide and multiply, they die off, rendering them ineffective in your home.

Installing these germicidal lights is easy, and it will also clean up the air circulating throughout your home without any extra steps on your part.Germicidal Lamp Picture 1

These lights are installed inside the duct work for your heating and cooling systems. Because it is installed inside the duct work, as the air is pushed through the ducts, the air is passed through the light. When the air passes through the light, the germs and bacteria become incapable to reproduce. The result of these lights is a fresher, cleaner home because the pathogens die off.

As an added bonus to the air filtration these germicidal lamps provide, they also help your heating and cooling unit’s efficiency remain in tip-top shape. This will prolong the life of the unit considerably. All of the things floating throughout your home can reduce the efficiency and ultimately lower the lifespan of the system. This drives up your cost for running the system, and it puts unnecessary wear and tear on the unit. While the AC unit is running during the summer, these lights help the coil remain clean and pathogen free when it is fighting humidity during the warmer months.

These lamps will take care of those deposits of gunk and gross things in your home. As a result, the air you breathe will be cleaner, crisper, and fresher. This will lead to a healthier and more cost-effective lifestyle for you and your family. Who doesn’t want that?Germicidal Lamp

However, UV lights can be harmful to your eyes. We recommend before installing one of these to make sure all of your duct work is sealed off. A certified technician should be able to confirm that your duct work is sealed off correctly before the installation of the germicidal lights. This is done to ensure that no one’s eyes suffer damage from looking at these lights.

If you would like to order one of these lights, we’d be happy to provide one for you. You can look at our selection of germicidal lights at http://www.hvacpartsshop.com/germicidallampequipmentandpartsuv.aspx. If you would like to discuss the benefits of having one of these lights more, or would like to order one, feel free to give us a call at (866) 215-3831. We’d love to hear from you!

How Cool is your Thermostat?

An important part of every heating and cooling system, the thermostat is how a homeowner regulates the temperature inside their home. Some thermostats have settings to allow week-long programming. Others, they aren’t quite as advanced. Some of the top-of-the-line thermostats can be connected to a smart phone via Wi-Fi and an app. The homeowner can be hundreds of miles away and still control their thermostat.

But what does a thermostat actually do?iS30

When it comes down to it, the thermostat is the temperature regulator for the home. Thermostats are a tool to control the level of comfort/temperature in a particular setting. Some people prefer warmer temperatures, and others prefer cooler ones. With the weather starting to heat up, it is important to make sure your thermostat is in proper working order to keep you comfortable during the warmer months.

If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure it is set for the temperatures you want. And, if you know you will be out of the house for long periods of time (going to work, for example), set it to stay off during those times. This will lower your electricity bill, and who doesn’t want that?

1f971277Some furnaces modulate their airflow. These modulating furnaces have variable speed motors. A variable speed motor is meant to be running 24 hours a day. When it is not heating or cooling it is cycling about 200 cubic feet of air per minute. This keeps the entire house the same temperature. Another added bonus to having the furnace constantly running is the constant filtration of the air.
With a thermostat placed on each level, some units are capable of keeping different levels at different temperatures. The thermostat tells the dampers to shut or open accordingly, and when the temperature called for is met, they close and run on low power mode. An added advantage to the variable speed motors is the conversion of an AC electrical current to DC.  This conversion of energy makes the unit considerably more efficient, and cost-effective.

Thermostats dictate the comfort of the home. Having a functioning thermostat and one that best fits your needs is important to have the highest level of comfort possible. We have a wide range of thermostats to choose from. Come check out our selection at http://www.hvacpartsshop.com/thermostatsandcontrols.aspx! We at HVAC Parts Shop hope to serve you soon! Give us a call at (866) 215-3831!

Shocking Truth Behind Static Electricity

control boardA furnace circuit board uses two types of voltages. First is the control voltage. This always operates at 24 volts. Second is the line voltage. This is used to run the motors, and the voltage required for the line voltage depends on the unit. Typically, this is around 120 volts. With just one touch, a technician or homeowner can burn up the electrical components of a furnace. To avoid this type of incident it is important for anyone working on the furnace to discharge their self of any static electricity before working on the furnace.

Static electricity can build and burn up electrical components without any warning. Typically, when a person feels a static shock, they are feeling at least 3,000 volts of electricity. That is 20-25 times the normal capacity for that board to handle! If static discharges to the board with less than 3,000 volts, but more than the amount needed to run the board, the board can become ruined without any warning.

Grounding the electrical current out of the body is important to prevent shorting out any electrical components of the furnace. To ground the static electricity from the body, before doing any work on the electrical components, touch a metal object away from the furnace. The current will move from the body’s point of contact to the metal surface. This happens because metal is a better conductor of electricity than the human body.control board

 

Once the electricity is discharged from the body, working on the furnace is less dangerous to the electrical parts. And, if there are issues with electrical components or any other technical questions, we do offer technical support at (866) 215-3831. We have videos posted online for our most common parts, and we add more videos periodically. They can be viewed at www.hvacpartsshop.com. Feel free to give us a buzz if you need any parts for your furnace!

Basic HVAC home troubleshooting

H1: Basic HVAC Heating and Cooling System Troubleshooting

Your home heating and cooling system is a vital piece of your home that makes sure you and your family can feel comfortable year round. If it isn’t maintained properly, you run the risk of your system becoming less efficient that will not only wasting costly energy, but make it difficult to maintain that perfect, comfortable environment in your home.  When something goes wrong, there are a few common things to check in the HVAC system for some quick troubleshooting.

H2: Time to Swap Filters

A filter that is full of dirt and dust cannot properly move the air your HVAC system needs to operate efficiently. Even if the air still is flowing, the mechanics of the system might be working harder than they need too, prematurely aging your equipment. Plan to change your filters once a month in high-use seasons and every three months the rest of the year.

H3: Thermostat Is BrokeniS30

If your house is suddenly too hot or too cold and nothing seems to be wrong with the HVAC equipment, the culprit might just be your thermostat. Fortunately, this is a simple and relatively inexpensive repair to make.  Make sure that you check the status of your thermostat and see if it’s functioning properly before you start looking into other pieces of your system or planning a bigger repair project.

 

H4: Tripped Breaker

HVAC equipment that is completely unresponsive might throw you into a panic, but the reason might just be a tripped breaker. Be sure to immediately check out your breaker panel before doing anything other detective work. Flip the appropriate breaker back to the “on” position. That should get your system back up and running unless there was another problem inside your system.  It is possible that a breaker switch could be a fluke, but if the breaker continues to trip, contact a professional to help you address what may be causing the issue.

H5: Unbalanced Dampers

Dampers in your home heating and cooling ducts restrict the airflow into any section or room. If it seems like a particular space is always too cold or too warm, you might need to adjust the dampers that lead to that room.  If adjusting the dampers doesn’t completely solve the issue, you may have another issue on your hands.

H6: Leaking Refrigerant

If your home cooling system doesn’t seem to be producing air that is as cold as expected, you might have a problem with refrigerant leaking from the AC unit. If so, you will need to call a professional out to reload the system and repair any leaks.

Whole-House Humidifiers: Bypass vs. Power

whole-home humidifiers: bypass vs. powerIn an earlier blog post we explained that the best way to fight dry air is to install a whole-house humidifier. We also mentioned two different types of whole-house humidifiers – the bypass humidifier and the power humidifier. So which should you install? Let’s get into the nitty gritty of which is right for you.

Both the bypass humidifier and the power humidifier have the same task at hand – to add moisture into the air of your home. Both do that by working in conjunction with your furnace or air handler, but there are some major differences in how they deliver the humidity to the rooms of your house.

The bypass humidifier is connected to the return of your furnace or air handler. It does not have a motor of its own and instead relies on the blower motor of the furnace to push warm air through it. The warm air is then pushed through the water panel that is within the humidifier and absorbs moisture from it. That moisture is then delivered back into the air stream and back into your home.

The bypass humidifier is probably the more common of the two, but the power humidifier is quickly gaining popularity and is replacing many bypass humidifiers in many of our customers’ homes.

When comparing the power humidifier to the bypass humidifier, the major differences are that it has its own blower motor and does not rely on the furnace blower motor. The fan delivers moisture to the supply, which sits above the heat source. Once humidity is created it is sent through the ductwork to the rest of the house and does not have to recirculate through the furnace and heat exchanger, as is the case with the bypass humidifier.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each.

Bypass Humidifiers

Pros

A bypass humidifier is more affordable, it adapts to various water types (i.e. hard, soft) and requires very little maintenance.

Cons

It has to be connected to a bypass duct, which is aesthetically unpleasing and unfortunately can eat up more space. Also, since it uses the blower motor of the furnace the humidity that it creates has to be redistributed back through the furnace and heat exchanger again and again in a continuous loop. Therefore, a notable amount of moisture and humidity is lost. In other words, it is less efficient than the power humidifier.

Power Humidifiers

Pros

The power humidifier produces more humidity than the bypass humidifier. In fact it creates about one gallon of humidity more per day than the bypass humidifier. Another pro is that it can humidify more square feet and is ideal for larger homes.

Cons

The one downside to a power humidifier is that it is much more expensive to repair than the bypass humidifier.

We hope that this information is helpful in choosing the right whole-home humidifier for you and your home. And if you have any further questions please feel free to contact us. HVAC Parts Shop is here to help!

Static is in the Air

Static is in the Air

dry airValentine’s Day is long over and while there still may be some love in the air, there’s definitely something else too. Oh, that’s right, its static electricity!

Every winter it’s the same old story – my skin is peeling, my eyes are itchy, my kids are getting nosebleeds and the fear of static electricity is keeping me a mile away from my cat! So what can I do to get over this dry air? Keep reading for tips to add a little moisture to your life.

Why does colder weather bring along drier air?

Well, it’s all about humidity. Humidity equals moisture and while warmer air can carry lots of humidity and moisture, colder air has low humidity and little moisture.

What’s the solution to dry air?

Any HVAC professional will tell you that the simple answer is to install a humidifier. A humidifier will increase humidity in your home by pushing moisture into the air. There are point-of-use humidifiers that are used to reduce dry air in a single room and whole-house humidifier which are connected to your HVAC system and are used to humidify an entire house. The latter of the two can be found and purchased on our website.

There are different types of whole-house humidifiers. Check out our next blog to learn about the pros and cons associated with both power humidifiers and bypass humidifiers.

Besides adding moisture to your house, humidifiers actually make you feel warmer as well. Have you ever noticed how 90 degrees in Southern California feels a whole lot different than 90 degrees in the Midwest? It feels cooler in Southern California, right? That’s because there is less humidity in Southern California and having less humidity actually makes your body feel colder. Put extra moisture into the air in your home to make you feel warmer. With extra humidity you may even be able to lower your thermostat a few degrees, saving you energy dollars.

Besides installing a humidifier in your house (and we highly recommend that you do) there are some other easy methods to fighting dry air and the side effects that accompany it.

  1. Seal your home with caulk, spray foam or weatherstripping. Keep the cold, dry air from entering your home.
  2. Hydrate often. Dry air can pull moisture from your mouth, throat and nose. Make sure you are fighting the dry air with extra hydrations.
  3. Shorten your showers. Warm water and the steam will only dry out your skin further.
  4. Moisturize. Use lotion frequently during the dry, winter months, especially after washing your hands and showering.

Control Boards and Furnaces 101

control boards

Control board

A furnace control board is essentially the computer, or the brain, in a furnace. It operates the key functions in the order that they are supposed to happen and controls everything from turning on the gas to shutting down the fan after your home has reached your desired temperature. While it is a very essential piece to your furnace it is common for control boards to be replaced.

TYPES OF CONTROL BOARDS
There are two types of control boards for gas furnaces. The first is a simple ignition control board module, which is more common in older, less efficient models. It controls the gas valve, the igniter and the flame sensing circuit. These older units will have a fan control board along with the simple ignition control board.

The more common control board, at least in newer units, is the integrated furnace control board. This controls the same things as the simple ignition control board but it controls the furnace blower as well. Ultimately it is the simple ignition control board and the fan control board in one.

STEP-BY-STEP SEQUENCE
To understand whether or not your control board is operating correctly, it is first imperative that you understand the step-by-step sequence of your furnace, which should be like this:

  1. The thermostat is set and calls for heat.
  2. The induced draft motor turns on.
  3. The pressure switch senses a drop in pressure and closes to complete a circuit.
  4. The control board sends a signal to the hot surface igniter and the igniter lights up.
  5. Then a few seconds later the gas valve clicks and releases gas to the burners.
  6. The burners ignite in sequence.
  7. The flame sensor senses the flame and allows the gas to continue to flow, heating up the furnace.
  8. The blower motor turns on and moves air through the furnace to keep it from overheating.
  9. The limit and rollout switches remain closed and continue to monitor the airflow.
  10. Once the thermostat is satisfied, the control board shuts off the gas.

TROUBLESHOOTING
The control board can also help you diagnose a problem with your furnace. Most control boards have LED lights that flash to indicate a problem. The different flashes serve as codes. Follow the chart on your control board to decipher what the flashing code means. The code might tell you that you need a new control board.

Control boards also have lights to let you know that it is on and functioning correctly. If this light is not on, then the control board can be reset by turning off the furnace power and restarting it. However, this is not normal; a control board should not have to be reset.

CONTROL BOARD REPLACEMENT
If you find that you need a new control board, HVACPartsShop.com can help you find the correct replacement part. Use our furnace model drop list to select the correct control board using your furnace model number. You can also use the manufacturer’s part number to find the correct part. If you are still having problems figuring out which control board is right for your model you can use our online chat feature to chat with a certified technician or you can call us at 1-866-215-3831.

When you begin the replacement, please first make sure that the power to the furnace is off. Before removing the wires make sure that you have marked them so that you know which connection they go to. Then remove the wires, screws or clips and the old board.

Attach the new board and carefully reconnect the wires to the proper terminals. Then restore the unit and run it through a complete cycle, verifying that is follows each step of the sequence.

 

Warmth Equals Love and a Working Furnace

love warmthA Warm And Cozy Valentine’s Day

Here at HVACPartsShop.com, when it’s cold outside we are all about keeping you, your family, and ourselves warm.

Right now, it’s still cold! Even the typically warm west coast is at 50 degrees or below. And as Cupid’s big day draws nearer and nearer, we have to ask, is your home warm and cozy for that Valentine of yours? Or is it more comparable to a Valentine’s evening that a polar bear would enjoy?

If your home is more comparable to the latter, we can help with that. We have the HVAC parts to keep your furnace running! And we can get them to you in as little as one day! Wouldn’t your Valentine enjoy a running furnace and a warm house?

Love That Warming Feeling

Now don’t go thinking that we, at HVACPartsShop.com, aren’t a romantic bunch. We understand that there are different types of warmth than just the one coming from our furnace. We’re talking about love and the warmth that that feeling can create. And with Valentine’s Day coming up so fast, there’s no better time to talk about it!

Since we’ve been talking about polar bears, please bear in mind that we’re not just talking about the romantic kind of love. Any kind of love can make you feel warm – whether it’s the love you feel for your family and friends, or the kind you have for a significant other. In fact, there have been studies that have shown a direct correlation with strong, loving relationships and a feeling of warmth.

Love & Warmth Are Connected

In this particular study that we wanted to mention, a group of close family and friends were tested to see if positive interaction created warmth and if warmth promoted a stronger connection.

The first test had pairs give each other either a positive message or a neutral message. Essentially, it’s the difference of being told “I love you” versus “you have blue eyes”. Each person would have their brain scanned during the experiment to see any activity, and also be asked how warm they felt and how connected they felt with the other person. The test showed that those who got a positive message felt a warm sensation and felt that their connection with the person deepened, while those who got a neutral message didn’t feel much of a change.

The second test had pairs hold heated objects or room temperature objects while in a room together, with the goal of measuring if the pairs felt more connected with each other after the time spent together. After the test, those holding the warm objects said that they felt a stronger improvement in connection versus those who had the room-temperature objects.

Share Some Love This Month

Now that we know a little bit more about how love and feeling warm are connected, let’s try to spread some warmth this month! Spend some time with your friends, families, or significant others and let them know how much you care and value them, so they can experience that warm feeling inside that comes with being loved.

Of course, we’ll continue to do what we do best to make sure you and all of your loved ones stay warm by offering all of the HVAC parts that you need to keep your home warm and comfy, plus the best customer service around, so we can show our customers that we love each and every one of them! As a special offer, use the code CHILLY to receive a free ground shipping on your order that’s $100 or more!