What Are the Signs it's Time to Replace the Thermostat?

Signs a New Thermostat is Needed

The thermostat is the most recognizable part of the heating and air conditioning system. All it takes is one hot day to learn how to operate the thermostat in an attempt to get comfortable. In theory, thermostats will only need to be adjusted once or twice daily and will last a long time. Due to this, it can be hard to tell when the thermostat is having problems. 

The thermostat has total control over the air conditioner, so when problems arise with it, the effects can be far-reaching. Learning the signs of a faulty thermostat is important to keeping the home comfortable and cooling bills low. Here is a quick guide for the signs that a thermostat is failing to help keep homeowners comfortable and avoid additional problems. 

Higher Energy Bills for No Reason 

bill The air conditioner is the single biggest energy user in every home. Nearly 30% of electric bills can be attributed to cooling costs alone, especially in hot areas. Tracking electricity usage can reveal important information to homeowners. A spike in energy bills or higher bills than last year can signify a faulty thermostat

A faulty thermostat leads to higher energy bills by causing the air conditioner to work harder to maintain comfort. This extra work requires extra energy that will show up on monthly energy bills. Often, installing a new thermostat will pay for itself in energy savings if it’s the culprit of long run times and higher AC bills. 

Reading the Incorrect Temperature 

readings Thermostats are like digital thermometers. The information they get from being a thermometer they use to tell the air conditioner to cycle on and off to maintain a small temperature variation in the home. Over time, thermometers can lose their calibration and start to read slightly or largely incorrect temperatures. When a thermostat can’t read the right temperature, it is useless and needs to be replaced. 

New thermostats can more accurately control temperatures because they are more reliable thermometers. Installing a new thermostat can completely fix comfort and humidity issues in many homes. To check if the thermostat is reading incorrect temperatures, put a thermometer near the thermostat and check if they read the same temperature. 

The System is Short Cycling 

Short cycling is a process where machinery, in this case, the air conditioner, runs for a short period and then turns off, only to run again soon after. For air conditioners, this causes a lot of unnecessary starting and stopping. Starting and stopping the air conditioner is when the highest chance for damage to the system occurs. The damage can be severe and irreversible if allowed to continue for a long period. 

Short cycling is often caused by faulty thermostats that are overdue for replacement. The thermostat is to blame because it incorrectly measures the temperatures at which the air conditioner starts and stops. New, smart thermostats are more accurate and less susceptible to conditions that cause thermostats to read inaccurately. They also more tightly control the range at which the air conditioner cycles, leading to a longer-lasting air conditioner and more comfortable home. 

About Morrow Mechanical

Morrow Mechanical has over two decades of experience serving the community of Spring, TX, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, same-day service, and extended hours. Call them today for thermostat services in Spring, TX.

It's National Wellness Month: Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is the state of air cleanliness in and around buildings and structures, especially concerning the occupant's health and comfort. Understanding and controlling common indoor pollutants can help homeowners avoid developing potentially serious health issues. Indoor air pollutants can cause immediate health concerns or may even cause problems not identified for a long time.

How Poor Indoor Air Quality Affects Health

headaches Fatigue, headaches, irritation of the throat and nose, and other flu-like symptoms are among the effects homeowners may experience shortly after exposure to excessively poor or contaminated air. Ailments such as asthma can also be triggered after short-term exposure to poor indoor air quality.

Short-term health effects, while dangerous, can be managed and appear to go away after indoor air quality is improved. However, the long-term health effects associated with exposure to these pollutants are more disturbing and cause for concern. If the air quality in the home is poor because of pollution, the family is at risk. Some potential problems include liver or kidney damage, harm to the central nervous system, and even some cancers.

Air Filter Replacement and Maintenance

replace the air filter Breathing cleaner air improves the health of individuals. It’s easy to catch a sickness during the winter and spring, but getting rid of it is difficult. Homeowners using the correct air filter and replacing it at least every three months can aid in the reduction of bacteria, as well as disease transmission.

Allergies are another condition that can be alleviated by utilizing an air filter and replacing it on time. Air filters remove irritants and allergens, preventing symptoms from being as severe. These health advantages are particularly important for toddlers, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory problems. This population is also more prone to illness and breathing difficulties.

Furthermore, some experts believe that dirty filters are the most common reason for HVAC system failure. When the air filter is clogged, air ducts become dirty, and the air circulating throughout the house is also contaminated. Airflow is also decreased and may lead to constant repairs.

Benefits of Portable Air Cleaners

Another way to improve indoor air quality is by getting an air purifier or sanitizer. Air purifiers have several filtration stages of filtering the air and trapping particulate debris from the indoor air, including allergens, smoke, pet dander, etc.

An air sanitizer destroys germs with UV-C light or aerosol vapors and is ineffective against big particles. Air sanitizers are excellent for high-microbial environments like hospitals. If an aerosol-based sanitizer is used, the filtration is carried out outside the machine’s body. In contrast, if a UV-C sanitizer is utilized, it takes place inside the machine’s body.

Air sanitizers and air purifiers may be used simultaneously and work well together. If a homeowner is looking for just one, an air sanitizer will be best where there are few airborne particles, but germs can be a problem. An air purifier is the best solution in cases with a greater quantity of particles and pathogens.

About Morrow Mechanical

Morrow Mechanical has been an industry leader in providing AC and heating solutions to the Greater Houston Area for over 20 years. They offer upfront pricing, same-day service, and extended hours. Call them today for indoor air quality services in Spring, TX.

How To Know When Air Ducts Need to Be Repaired or Replaced

When to Consider Air Duct Replacement

Air ducts are a crucial part of a heating and air conditioning system and the conduits for the conditioned air to be distributed around the home. Damaged air ducts can cause a house to be uncomfortable and can be terrible for a home’s utility bills. Air ducts are like the veins and arteries of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system; keeping them in working order is vital to the overall system's function.

What Indicates a Damaged Air Duct?

smell If a home’s ducts are damaged, there will be signs that indicate it. There are several obvious indicators that ducts have sustained damage or require attention. They include:

  • Malodorous Vents: If unpleasant smells come from the ducts, this indicates several possibilities. It can mean mold or mildew growth, or some sort of pest may have taken up residence inside. While neither of these options is pleasant, professionals can fairly easily remedy them.
  • Unusual Noises: Whistling and whooshing sounds can mean that there are punctures in the air ducts. Scratching and skittering sounds can indicate pests.
  • Low Airflow: If certain rooms do not seem to be getting the proper amount of airflow, there may be a block or some kind of damage to the air ducts.
  • High Energy Bills: Damaged air ducts are inefficient, and the HVAC system must work harder to keep the home cool. Thus, the utility bills will be higher.

Why Should Ducts Be Replaced?

save There are many benefits of air duct replacement. While most people are hesitant to spend money, the cost of repair is outweighed by the efficiency of a completely functional HVAC system. The repairs often pay for themselves over time through savings on the utility bills. This is just one major benefit of having ducts replaced by professionals. Here are some others:

  • Less noise
  • More consistent temperatures
  • Better indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • More energy-efficient system
  • Less likelihood of future problems

What Are the Methods of Duct Repair?

Air duct replacement and repair are fairly simple for the trained HVAC pro. Repair methods include things as simple as patches and caulking to slightly more complicated techniques involving spray lining using an aerosol-based sealant. While these sound like methods that might be appropriate for a DIY repair, repairing ductwork is not as simple as it seems. 

A homeowner should leave it to the professionals because they can use the proper tools and know the appropriate methods of checking their work to verify that the problem is indeed solved. Allowing a professional to complete the project gives the homeowner peace of mind and prevents injury or damage that might be caused to someone who tried to perform the repair without any training.

About Morrow Mechanical

Morrow Mechanical has over 20 years of experience serving its neighbors in Spring, TX, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, same-day service, financing, and extended hours. Call them today for heating and air conditioning services in Spring, TX.  

Slash Cooling Costs This Summer Using These 3 Tips!

Pro Tips for Spending Less While Staying Cool This Summer

With summer rolling in, air conditioning season is in full swing. Unfortunately, summer is also the season of massive electricity bills for most Texas homeowners. The same AC that keeps the house nice and cool uses more energy than any other appliance. 

But staying cool in the year's hottest months shouldn’t cost a fortune. This article will outline three easy ways for homeowners to save money by cutting their cooling costs without sacrificing comfort or convenience. 

Upgrade To a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

thermostat One of the best things homeowners can do to improve their home’s energy efficiency is to get rid of their old manual thermostat and install a programmable thermostat - or better yet, a smart thermostat. The two are similar in that they allow homeowners to create a custom cooling schedule to fit their habits, selecting the desired temperature for any time of day. This “set it and forget it” function can reduce energy waste and enhance convenience.

But intelligent thermostats have additional features that set them apart from basic programmable models. They can be controlled using a smartphone or other device from virtually anywhere, making it easy to adjust the temperature as needed. Secondly, some models track usage patterns and make suggestions or automatic adjustments to maximize efficiency.

Other possible smart thermostat features include occupancy sensors, zone sensors, energy reports, weather and performance alerts, and geofencing (technology that detects whether or not the homeowners are within a certain radius of the home and turns the AC on or off accordingly). With all these energy-saving features, it’s no surprise that smart thermostats can help homeowners save anywhere from 10-23% on their heating and cooling costs.

Add Weatherstripping To Windows and Doors

A new thermostat can work wonders for optimizing efficiency, but if cold air is escaping through gaps under doors and around the edges of windows, it defeats the purpose. And unfortunately, the more significant the temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor air, the faster cold air will rush out, and warm air will flow in to take its place.

Homeowners can install weatherstripping around windows and exterior doors to solve this problem. Various weatherstripping ranges, from vinyl tubing and foam tape to metal V-strips and magnetic gaskets. But they all serve the same purpose: sealing the gaps where air can escape.

Weatherstripping is an effective and inexpensive method for improving energy efficiency. Most homeowners will be able to install it themselves without much effort (though some types are a little trickier than others). The best part is that the benefits of weatherstripping last all year long, as it does just as well at keeping warm air inside during the colder seasons so that homeowners can enjoy lower heating and cooling costs with this one simple tip!

Turn Down the AC and Crank Up the Fans

fan Finally, with the new thermostat and weather strips in place, it’s time to cut costs the old-fashioned way - by relying less on air conditioning and more on fans. As mentioned, air conditioners consume more electricity than anything else in the house. Ceiling fans, by comparison, consume very little energy. 

Raising the temperature setting on the thermostat by 7-10 degrees for about 8 hours can save up to 10% on cooling costs (roughly one percentage point per degree). During the summer, the Dept. of Energy recommends keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees while at home and even a few degrees higher while away (not accounting for any pets in the house). That may seem high, but that’s where the fans come in.

Fans help circulate cold air throughout the house and produce a pleasant breeze that can help carry off heat energy from the skin, effectively lowering body temperature and making the house feel more relaxed. In the summer, ceiling fans should be set to spin counterclockwise (when viewed from below), which will push air down. A clockwise spin will circulate warm air that has risen to the ceiling, which is helpful in the winter but not so much in the summer.

With these tips, homeowners can sit back, enjoy the cool air, and watch with glee as their electric bills shrink!

About Morrow Mechanical

Morrow Mechanical has provided the residents of Spring, TX, and The Greater Houston Area with award-winning service for over 20 years. They offer same-day service, upfront pricing, financing, and extended hours with no additional after-hours fee. Call them today for air conditioning services in Spring, TX.

Why Air Conditioning Coils Matter

Dirty Coils Cause Unexpected Problems During Summer

Air conditioners are complex systems that run when all components work together. In addition to the mechanical parts required, cleaning is a key factor in maintenance. Dirty coils inside the system can cause profound problems during the hottest months.

What Are AC Coils?

Air conditioners are unique in the way they produce cool air. Unlike furnaces, they do not generate indoor air. Instead, an air conditioning system uses refrigerants to absorb heat in the air. This air is then released outdoors.

Since air conditioners work to remove hot air, different coils are necessary to keep an entire indoor area cool. Two types of coils are used and are considered one of the most important parts of an HVAC system. 

The Evaporator Coil

coils An evaporator coil is located indoors. It can be tricky to locate because it is in line with the ductwork. An evaporator core is where the refrigerant absorbs heat. Typically an evaporator coil can be found near the blower fan. They can be identified by the type of material used. Most evaporator coils are made from copper, aluminum, or steel. These tubes are typically bent into semicircles for residential air conditioners before being placed into panels. 

Evaporator coils will collect dust, pet dander, and pollen. Once this dirt has built up over time, it is no longer energy efficient and may increase homeowners' electric bills. Even a thin layer of dust can reduce the evaporator coil’s efficiency. This dust essentially keeps the coil from absorbing hot air during the summer. Dirty evaporators can create higher pressure and raise indoor temperatures causing the system to work harder.  

The Condenser Coil

coil The condenser coil is located outside the home and is made up of tubes and fins. This part of the system works by transporting the indoor heat outside through a system of copper tubing. Warm refrigerant gas will enter the compressor so it can be pressurized. Once the fan blows air over these coils, the refrigerant loses heat.

A condenser coil can also become dirty in a relatively short period. This is usually due to debris such as tree limbs, plants, dirt, and inclement weather conditions. If yard debris interferes with the compressor’s fins, this can damage part of the system. Mowing the lawn, fallen leaves, and even animal hair can ultimately cause indoor temperatures to rise. 

Cleaning the fins of a compressor must be done carefully. If there is damage to this area, it can decrease the whole system's efficiency. A stiff brush or vacuum is recommended so fins do not bend or snap.

Without routine maintenance, the air condenser may develop a casing of ice. This is usually due to an airflow issue. Dirty air filters and vents may be to blame. If the ice is caused due to low refrigerant, a trained technician can help. 

How To Clean and Maintain Compressor Coils

Compressor coil cleaning will prolong the life of an air conditioner and reduce electric bills. Routine cleaning is recommended to make the most out of an HVAC unit.

Cleaning the coils can be difficult, depending on where it’s located. One way to prevent dust and pollen from ruining the coils is to change the air filters regularly. There are several air filters, and some may need to be changed more often than others. It depends on their material. Washable filters can save money.

Turning off the air conditioner first before accessing the coils is important. This can be done at the thermostat. Once the access panel is removed, compressed air will allow a touchless cleaning. Technicians can use a nozzle attachment for hard-to-reach places close to the bottom. High pressured air should be directed at a 90-degree angle to prevent fin damage.

A brush can work for those who do not wish to use this AC coil cleaning method. The brush must be swept gently but firmly across the fins. Cleaning solutions are unnecessary when using this method, but all material must be scrubbed. Hard bristles are not recommended during this process.

Evaporator Coils vs. Condenser Coils

Cleaning condenser coils are slightly different than cleaning evaporator coils because of where they are located. Since condenser coils are found outside the home, other debris may be found on the fins.

Most Do-It-Yourselfers usually use a garden hose and cleaning solution to clean condenser coils. An all-purpose cleaner will work for outdoor coils. Like cleaning the evaporator coils, the air conditioner must be turned off before cleaning. After the system is shut off, the outer casing can be gently removed not to damage any wires. Once the caging has been lifted, the fan will be easy to access.

A small hand brush can be used to remove debris. Leaves, insects, and dirt are frequently found. During this process, homeowners can check for any potentially broken aluminum fins. Since the coils are located outdoors, the fins are more likely to be damaged by heavier debris. A fin comb can be purchased online or at a local hardware store to straighten bent fins. 

Cleaning both evaporator coils and condenser coils will help the system run smoothly. When an air conditioner does not have to work at a high energy capacity, it will reduce the overall utility cost during the summer. This is particularly important for residential homes in hot climates.

About Morrow Mechanical

Morrow Mechanical has served its Spring, TX, and The Greater Houston Area community for over 20 years. They provide same-day, upfront pricing and after-hours service at no additional charge. Call them today for an air conditioning tune-up and maintenance in Spring, TX.