Finding the Best High-Efficiency Air Conditioner

Did you know that approximately one-quarter of the average Arizona home’s energy use goes toward heating and cooling? If your energy bills are higher than you would like, investing in a high-efficiency air conditioner could help. There are many options out there, so it’s helpful to do some research to find the one that’s best for you.

Here are some things to consider when purchasing a high-efficiency AC unit:

ENERGY STAR Certification

ENERGY STAR is a program that is in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Products that have been ENERGY STAR certified must meet government-set standards for energy savings. This benefits consumers by lowering energy costs while also helping to protect the environment and public health. In 2018, ENERGY STAR products saved 200 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity for consumers. This equates to $20 billion in savings and 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.

SEER

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit measures the system’s ability to efficiently control your home’s temperature. Like the miles-per-gallon of a car, the SEER represents a maximum value and the actual operation may vary. A higher SEER indicates a more energy-efficient air conditioner. Most modern AC units have a SEER between 13 and 21 and ENERGY STAR certified units must have a SEER of 14.5 or more. To see how much money you could save with a high-SEER AC, you can use Lennox’s energy savings calculator.

Air Conditioner Brand

The brand you choose for your air conditioner can make a difference in how efficient it is. Lennox is committed to quality and is continually researching and implementing new HVAC technology. Their units are built to last and energy efficiency is a major focus for the company. Many of their units are ENERGY STAR certified or have a high SEER. Signature Heating and Cooling is an authorized Lennox dealer and can help you find the best system for your needs.

Do You Need a New AC for Better Energy Efficiency?

If you want to improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC but aren’t ready for a new AC unit yet, there are many steps you can take. For example, cleaning your filters and scheduling regular maintenance appointments can be beneficial. It’s also important to have professionals examine any issues with your AC so that they do not cause the system to work harder than it needs to.

Install a New High-Efficiency Unit

Signature Heating and Cooling can install a new energy-efficient HVAC system for your home or business. We can also fix any problems with your current unit or examine it to make sure it is running properly.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to install a high-efficiency air conditioner.

Problems a Dirty AC Filter Can Cause

There are many different parts of your air conditioner (AC) and each one helps cool your home effectively. One element that can cause multiple issues for the unit as a whole is your filter. In fact, checking for a dirty AC filter is one of the first steps you should take when you notice a problem with your unit. Changing your filter regularly is also important to prevent problems from arising.

Here are some of the issues a dirty AC filter can cause:

Short-Cycling

During the day, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system will typically shut off and restart a few times. However, this should not be happening constantly. When your AC is turning off and on repeatedly (short-cycling), it results in excess noise and can make the system less energy-efficient.

AC Not Blowing Cold Air

One of the most common problems is an AC that isn’t blowing cold air. There are many potential causes for this, and a dirty AC filter is one of them. If your filter is clogged, air can’t flow through properly and your home won’t cool down.

AC Leaking Water

Water can begin to leak from your HVAC unit for many different reasons. One possible cause is if your evaporator coil (indoor coil) freezes. A clogged air filter can restrict air flow, which can start to lower the temperature inside of your AC unit. When cold air can’t flow out, it can eventually result in a frozen coil and a water leak.

Lower Indoor Air Quality

Dust and allergens can quickly build up on your air filter. If this filter gets dirty, these particles can quickly start to spread throughout your house. This can negatively affect the health of you and your family, especially if anyone in the household has asthma or allergies.

Higher Utility Bills

Your HVAC accounts for approximately a quarter of your energy bills. If your system has issues that are reducing its energy efficiency, you may notice higher costs than usual. A dirty AC filter is one common culprit for this.

Reduced System Longevity

Proper maintenance is essential to keep your AC system running for as long as possible. If you routinely neglect to change dirty AC filters, your unit will need to work harder for longer periods of time, increasing wear and tear. Dust can even enter crucial parts of the AC and result in system failure.

When to Change Your Air Filters

During the summer, your AC is working its hardest and you should plan to change your filters every month. For the rest of the year, every 3-4 months is usually acceptable, although you should check the recommendations for your specific unit. This simple step can prevent many HVAC problems and could save you money by avoiding the need for repair or replacement.

AC Maintenance in Tucson

In addition to changing your filters regularly, you should schedule professional maintenance checks at least once a year. At Signature Heating and Cooling, our HVAC professionals can examine your system. This includes checking and replacing air filters as needed.

If a dirty AC filter has damaged your AC unit, contact us today.

Causes for an AC Leaking Water

If you notice your air conditioner (AC) is leaking, the first step is to turn the unit off to prevent further damage. You can then start troubleshooting to determine what may be causing the issue. Calling a professional is usually the best option, especially if the leak continues for longer than a day. However, it may be helpful to understand the most common reasons for an AC leaking water so you have an idea of what you can expect from your service appointment.

Why Water Forms in Your AC

Your AC system has two different coils. The one inside is known as the evaporator coil and it cools down your indoor air. When warm air flows over it, drops of water often form, similar to how water condenses on the outside of a cold glass of water on a hot day. When your unit is working properly, this water will fall into a drip pan and will then travel out of your home through a pipe known as the condensate drain line. If there is an issue with any of these parts or more water forms than usual, it can result in a leak.

Possible Causes for Water Leaks in Your AC

Broken Drain Pan

If the condensate pan is cracked, corroded, or missing, the water that drips from your evaporator coil will not be able to enter the drain. Instead, it will start to pool in the unit and will eventually begin to leak.

Clogged Condensate Drain Line

The drain line that transports water from the evaporator coil to the outside of your home can become clogged due to rust, debris, or algae. One of our professionals can clean out your drain line to allow the water to flow out of the unit properly again. It’s also possible for the drain line to become disconnected, which can also result in your AC leaking water.

Malfunctioning Condensate Pump

The condensate pump removes excess water from the drain pan. If it is not functioning, then the water will start to build up and overflow.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

If your evaporator coil freezes, the melting ice can cause the condensate drain pan to overflow and result in water leaks. This can happen for a variety of different reasons. For example, if your air filters are dirty, this can reduce airflow and lead to a frozen coil. Your evaporator coil can also freeze if you try to run your unit while the temperature is below 60 ºF or if the refrigerant level is low. In the case of low refrigerant, it is likely that there is a refrigerant leak in addition to the water leak that will need to be resolved.

Trustworthy AC Repair in Tucson, AZ

If you notice water leaking from your AC unit, the professionals at Signature Heating and Cooling can help. We will find and fix the cause of the problem and are available 24/7 for emergency service.

If you notice your AC leaking water, contact us today.

Why AC Coil Cleaning is Beneficial

There are many different parts of an air conditioner (AC) and each one plays an important role. There are two different types of coils within your system and both of these need to stay clean to keep the unit running efficiently and effectively. AC coil cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

More information about cleaning your AC coils:

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

There are two separate coils within your AC, one in the indoor unit and one in the outdoor unit. The inside coil is known as the evaporator coil. It contains refrigerant in its liquid form which then absorbs heat and transforms into a gas, cooling the air inside. In the outdoor unit, the condenser coil does the opposite. The gaseous refrigerant in this part of the system turns into a liquid and releases heat into the outdoor environment. The liquid refrigerant then flows back into the indoor portion of the system to repeat the process.

The Importance of AC Coil Cleaning

Your coils may attract dust, pollen, and other contaminants from your indoor air. This can happen more quickly if your air filter is dirty or if there is more dust in your air than usual, such as after a home improvement project. When dirt and debris stick to your coils, they form a barrier that prevents them from transferring heat effectively. This can increase energy use by up to 40% and decreases the cooling capacity of your system by approximately 30%. Putting off AC coil cleaning can have a long-term effect on your HVAC and could cause breakdowns or other issues.

How to Tell If Your Coils are Dirty

If you notice that your home is not getting as cool as it should, dirty coils may be the cause. You can check your coils visually. The evaporator coil is located behind your HVAC’s access panel. Be sure to turn the unit off before examining it. The condenser coil is inside the outdoor unit and although you can’t see it from the outside, you may want to consider cleaning if the exterior of the unit is dirty or has any debris on it.

During an AC inspection for routine maintenance, our technicians will check the coils for you. This is often easier than locating and inspecting them on your own and we will also look for a variety of other possible issues.

Professional or DIY AC Coil Cleaning

If your coils are only slightly dirty, you may be able to clean them yourself. However, you will need to purchase the proper tools and supplies and it takes time to get the job done right. You also risk damaging the coils, which may result in needing more serious and costly repairs. Our professionals at Signature Heating and Cooling can clean your coils if necessary and we are always transparent about the process so you know what to expect.

AC Maintenance

If you need any type of AC maintenance, including coil cleaning, we can help.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for AC coil cleaning.

 

HVAC Noise: What Is and Isn’t Normal

You should expect some sound from your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.  However, some types of HVAC noise are a sign that there is an issue which could require professional attention. Knowing the difference can help you determine if you need to schedule a visit from one of our technicians.

Normal HVAC Noise

These sounds are common for functioning HVAC systems:

Blowing

A steady blowing noise is the sound of air flowing through your ductwork. In most cases, this should be quiet enough that you only hear it if you are trying to. Otherwise, it will generally fade into the background.

Humming

Every heating and cooling system makes some noise while it is operating due to the many moving parts. This is softer for newer, more efficient units, but may be a little louder if you’ve had your system for a long time.

Start-Up Sounds

When you turn on your air conditioner, it will usually make some noise while the many different parts begin working.

Sounds That May Be Normal or Abnormal

These sounds may be normal, but could also be a reason to call a professional depending on the circumstances:

Popping

Metal ductwork naturally expands and contracts as the temperature changes. Popping is usually normal if it happens when you first turn your heater on or if it is only coming from the ductwork occasionally. However, you should get your system inspected if the noise is very loud, doesn’t stop, or comes from somewhere other than your ducts.

Clicking

You should expect your HVAC system to click when you first turn it on or off, as this is the sound of the different parts either starting to move or coming to a halt. However, constant clicking or very loud clicking from your indoor unit can be a sign of an issue with your capacitor.

Squeaking

Older units may squeak when they start up. This is less frequent for newer systems. The best rule of thumb for this is to call a technician if this type of HVAC noise is not common for your particular unit.

When to Call an HVAC Technician

If you hear any of these sounds, you should schedule an appointment with an HVAC company:

Screaming

A high-pitched screaming or whistling sound is a bad sign and if you hear it, you should turn your system off right away and call for emergency AC repair. This can indicate a refrigerant leak or a build-up of pressure within the unit.

Buzzing

Buzzing can indicate a compressor malfunction or a loose part. A professional can find and fix the cause of this noise.

Hissing

If you hear a hissing sound inside your AC compressor, it could be a refrigerant leak. In this case, it is best to turn the unit off until it can be inspected. If the sound is coming from your furnace or ducts, it could be an air leak. Either way, an HVAC technician can help.

HVAC Repair in Tucson, AZ

There are many other sounds you might hear from your unit such as banging, rattling, or thumping. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment just to make sure everything is working the way it should. At Signature Heating and Cooling, our team is available 24/7 for emergency repair. We will work to get your system up and running quickly so you can stay comfortable during the hot Tucson summer.

If you are noticing any unusual HVAC noise, contact us today.

Reasons for an AC Not Blowing Cold Air

Air conditioning (AC) is an absolute necessity during hot Tucson summers. Any issues with your unit can make your home uncomfortable. One common problem is a lack of cool air from your air conditioner. Is your AC not blowing cold air? If so, we can help find the cause and get your system working properly again.

Here are some common issues that can prevent your air conditioning system from blowing cool air:

Problems You Can Fix On Your Own

If your air conditioner is not cooling your home, you should check for the issues below first. You can generally resolve all of these on your own and they can help rule out more serious problems before you call a professional.

Thermostat Issues

If you notice a problem with your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), a good first step is to check your thermostat. Make sure it is set to your desired temperature and is in cooling mode. It sounds simple, but ensuring that the settings are correct can potentially save you an unnecessary maintenance appointment.

Dirty Air Filters

A lack of proper airflow is one of the most common reasons for an AC not blowing cold air. This may be due to a clogged air filter. If you notice a lack of cool air in your home and you’ve already checked that the thermostat is set properly, you should examine your filters next. If they are dirty, change or clean them and see if this fixes the issue.

Regular filter maintenance is essential and if your filters are dirty for too long, it can cause other issues with your system. Even if your AC is running properly, you should change your filter once a month.

Dirty or Blocked Outdoor Unit

The outdoor portion of your AC unit is where the system releases extra heat back into the environment. If it cannot do this, it will have a much harder time cooling your home and you’ll likely notice a lack of cold air. Clear any debris from around your unit and gently spray the outside with a hose if you notice that it is dirty.

Problems that Require an HVAC Technician

If you’ve checked for the three possible causes above and the unit is still not functioning properly,  it’s a good idea to call a professional.

Some possible issues include:

Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant is a chemical inside your AC system that transfers heat by transitioning from a liquid to a gas and vice versa. If there isn’t enough of this substance, it can cause a lack of cold air. This is usually due to a refrigerant leak since the chemical does not naturally deplete or go bad. An HVAC technician can find the leak, repair it, and replenish the refrigerant to get your AC working again.

Fan Motor

The fan allows the unit to dissipate heat and keep your home cool. If there is an issue with the motor or other fan hardware, the system will not work properly.

Compressor

The AC compressor connects the outdoor and indoor units of your system. A broken or malfunctioning compressor is one common reason your AC may not be blowing cold air.

Old AC System

After 10-15 years, your HVAC may not work as well as it used to. A lack of cool air may be related to your system’s age and in this case, you should consider getting a new AC unit.

Tucson HVAC Professionals

If you are noticing any issue with your AC, contact our team of professionals today. We can inspect your unit to find and fix the cause of your problem. We are available 24/7 for emergency air conditioning repairs when you need us most.

AC not blowing cold air? Call Signature Heating and Cooling today.

Signs It’s Time for a New AC Unit

Air conditioning (AC) is essential to keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, especially during the hottest days of the Tucson summer. If your system is working the way it should, you probably don’t think about it very often. However, you should be aware of possible signs that it’s time to replace your AC unit. A new air conditioner gives you peace of mind knowing that your home will be cool all summer long and modern systems can even save you money on your energy bills.

Here are some signs that it’s time to replace your AC:

Age of Your AC Unit

Your air conditioning system is not built to last forever. Most units need to be replaced after 10-15 years. After this time, your AC is more likely to need frequent repairs. These costs can quickly add up and if you’ve had your system for longer than a decade, replacing it is usually a better option than repairing it.

Your Air Conditioning is Not Energy-Efficient

Since heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) uses a significant portion of your home’s power, energy efficiency is essential. One factor to consider is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). New AC units have to have a SEER over 13. If your existing air conditioner has a lower rating, replacing it can help lower your energy bills and may be more cost-effective in the long run.

Your AC Uses R22

If your unit uses R22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, you should plan to replace it sooner than later. The United States phased out R22 as of January 1, 2020. This means that it is illegal to produce or import this substance. If your AC system uses Freon and needs to be repaired, you can expect very high costs, if you are able to find R22 at all. Replacing the unit will be less expensive and you will enjoy the other benefits that a new air conditioner offers.

Your HVAC Frequently Breaks Down

No one likes getting stuck without air conditioning. Regular maintenance can help prevent HVAC problems. However, if your system is older, you may notice that it breaks down frequently even if you are taking all the proper steps to keep it running smoothly. In this case, a replacement can give you peace of mind and help you avoid the hassle of constant repairs.

Your Home Isn’t Comfortable

One of the major indicators that you should consider replacing your AC is if your home doesn’t stay at a comfortable temperature. There are many different issues that can contribute to this. One example would be if your unit is not producing enough cool air. It may also be the wrong size for your home. Making an appointment with an HVAC professional can help you determine if the problem can be fixed or if replacement is the best option.

What Type of AC Should You Install?

If you are planning to replace your air conditioner, you should consider a Lennox system. These units are incredibly energy-efficient and are built using state-of-the-art HVAC technology. You can also add additional features such as an air purifier to improve your indoor air quality.

Upgrade Your HVAC

Signature Heating and Cooling is an authorized Lennox dealer. We can help you determine which new system will be the best fit for your needs.

To replace your AC unit, contact us today.

How Your AC Compressor Works

There are many different components that make up your air conditioner (AC) and each one contributes to the process of cooling your home. Your AC compressor is a part of the outdoor portion of the unit and it is essential for your system as a whole to function. If the compressor fails, your AC will not work properly.

How your compressor works:

The Basics of Air Conditioning

To understand how your AC compressor works, you first need to understand the basics of how the system functions as a whole. The unit works to keep your home at your preferred temperature by transferring heat. It does this by using refrigerant, a type of compound that transitions between a liquid and a gaseous state. By switching phases, the substance either gives off heat (gas to liquid) or absorbs heat (liquid to gas).

There are three main parts that help control when the refrigerant changes phases: the evaporator, condenser, and compressor. The first two are fairly straightforward in their function. The evaporator is inside the home and turns the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. Since this absorbs heat, running air over the coils where the evaporation process takes place cools the air. The air conditioning system then circulates the cold air throughout your home. The hot refrigerant gas moves to the condenser in the outdoor unit. Here, it releases heat into the air outside and turns back into a liquid. It can then cycle back into the house and repeat the process.

The Role of the AC Compressor

While the compressor does not actually change the state of the refrigerant, it is a key element in the overall process. It acts as the connection between the two halves of the system. In order to return to its liquid phase, the refrigerant must release heat. To do this, it needs to be hotter than the outside air. The AC compressor is the part of the unit that heats the refrigerant up to accomplish this.

The way it works is that the gaseous refrigerant enters the compressor through a suction line. There is a piston inside this part of the unit that draws the gas in and compresses it to push the molecules closer together. This speeds the molecules up and increases the temperature of the refrigerant. The hot, pressurized gas is then able to move into the condenser to transfer heat energy into the outside air.

How to Tell If Your AC Compressor is Malfunctioning

If you are experiencing problems with your AC system, the compressor may be responsible. One common indication of a compressor malfunction is if you are not getting enough cool air inside your home. However, this can also be caused by other parts of your system, so the only way to tell for sure if you need to replace your compressor is to call a professional. Two other warning signs of a bad AC compressor are hissing sounds or loud motor-like noises. If you notice an unexpected sound from your unit, you should schedule an appointment with an AC contractor.

AC Service in Tucson

Our team at Signature Heating and Cooling can fix any problems with your AC. During a service appointment, we will thoroughly examine your unit to find the cause of any issues. We are always transparent about our recommendations and are happy to explain the details of why your unit is not functioning properly. We know that air conditioning is a necessity during hot Tucson summers, so we are available 24/7 for emergency service when you need us most.

If you are experiencing problems with your AC compressor or any other part of your system, contact us today.

What is a HEPA Filter?

A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is a type of air filter that meets specific standards for the ability to remove particles from the air. True HEPA filters must remove a minimum of 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter. In the United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) defines whether or not a filter meets HEPA standards. These filters are present in various types of air purification systems and can improve your indoor air quality.

More information about how HEPA filters work:

Parts of a HEPA Filter

A HEPA filter has three basic parts: the frame, filter medium, and aluminum separators. The frame surrounds the filter and holds it together. The filter medium is the part that actually filters particles from the air. This is a collection of fibers that are randomly arranged to create a sheet. These are usually made of fiberglass. The filter sheet runs continuously through the filter by layering it over aluminum separators. As a result, there is a greater surface area of fiber that air comes into contact with when it enters the filter.

How Filtration Works

Although many people think that filters work by creating spaces that are too small for particles to pass through, this is not actually the case. Instead, the filters trap particles using three different mechanisms.

These are:

Diffusion

Diffusion is when a small particle, usually under 0.1 micron in diameter, collides with a gas molecule while moving through the filter. This slows it down and increases the probability that one of the other two mechanisms will trap it. When air flow is low, diffusion has a larger impact on the amount of particles the filter traps.

Interception

When a particle comes close enough (varies per system) to a filter fiber, it adheres to it. The particle does not touch the fiber itself at first. This is known as interception and is more common for smaller particles.

Impaction

Whereas interception does not involve direct contact between particles and filter fibers, impaction is when an airborne particle hits a fiber and becomes embedded within it. Larger particles are more likely to be trapped with this mechanism.

Combining HEPA Filters with Other Methods

While HEPA filters are very effective for removing airborne particles, there are some other air quality issues that you may notice in your home. Combining these air filters with other methods can be helpful. Some models of Lennox air purifiers, such as the PureAir, already include additional features besides HEPA filtration. You can also add these separately.

Carbon Filtration

HEPA filters do not remove unpleasant odors from your home’s air. This is where carbon filters come in. They break down the chemicals that cause bad smells and can help your home smell fresher.

Germicidal UV Light

Lennox offers germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lights. These kill germs by destroying their DNA. When combined with filters that trap germs in your air, a UV light can help keep your family healthier.

Controlling Humidity

Humidity imbalances can be uncomfortable and may negatively impact your health. Lennox offers a variety of humidity control options.

Filters That Work With Your Heating and Cooling

While you can use a standalone HEPA filter, adding a filter that works with your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is more effective. Signature Heating and Cooling offers a variety of air quality solutions and we are proud to be an authorized Lennox dealer.

To learn more about HEPA filters and other air purification methods, call us today.

The Importance of Pre-Summer AC Service

Tucson summers are extremely hot and air conditioning is essential if you want to stay comfortable. One way to make sure that your cooling system is ready for the heat is with pre-summer AC service. A preventive check-up before the temperature gets too high gives you peace of mind knowing your unit is working properly.

Here are some of the benefits of a pre-summer AC unit inspection:

Avoid Emergency Air Conditioning Repairs

No one wants to get stuck without air conditioning during the hottest months of the year. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it also creates more of a hassle for you if you need to get emergency repairs, not to mention the potential expenses. When our professionals inspect your air conditioner, we will check for any problems that could arise and will address them before they stop the unit from working. This reduces your risk of having an air conditioning issue during the summer.

Help Your Air Conditioner Last Longer

Regular AC service helps your unit last longer before you need to replace it. By the time you notice problems with your system, there may already be lasting damage that shortens its lifespan even after it is repaired. Finding these issues and fixing them promptly helps prevent this. AC check-ups also allow us to ensure your AC isn’t working harder than it needs to, which can put strain on the system over time.

Increase Your AC Unit’s Energy Efficiency

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) accounts for approximately a quarter of your home’s total energy use. During the summer, you likely see a spike in your energy bills as you use your AC more often. If your air conditioning system isn’t running as well as it could, this could result in even higher utility costs. Having your unit serviced regularly is one way to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

What You Can Do And How We Can Help

There are certain steps that you can take as a homeowner to get your air conditioning system ready for summer. Other actions are best left to our HVAC professionals. Trying to do too much on your own can damage your unit and can void your warranty.

You can take these steps on your own:

  • Change or clean your air filter. You can do this before your seasonal AC service appointment. Additionally, you should clean or change your filter monthly during the summer to keep your unit working efficiently. If you would like assistance, we can change your filter for you during your service appointment or we can give you tips for completing this on your own.
  • Clean around the unit. Wipe down the outside of your indoor and outdoor AC to remove dust and clear the area of any debris.
  • Check your thermostat Some issues with your heating and cooling system are not caused by the unit itself, but by the thermostat. Checking your thermostat can help rule this out as a potential cause of any issues that arise.

During your service appointment, our team will handle a variety of concerns including checking your ductwork, cleaning hoses, checking refrigerant levels, and more. If you have any specific concerns, be sure to let us know so we can better assist you.

Schedule Your Pre-Summer AC Check-Up

Make sure your HVAC system is ready for the heat. Signature Heating and Cooling can complete a thorough inspection of your unit and ensure that you are summer-ready.

To make an appointment for AC service, contact us today.