A melting ice cube on a blue surface representing why air conditioning units freeze.

Why Do Air Conditioners Freeze?

An air conditioner unit has the potential to freeze. It’s a strange sight, especially in the middle of a hot summer day, but that’s when it’s most likely to happen. A frozen air conditioner is a common problem and can sometimes be fixed easily. Other times, however, you’ll need an air conditioner repair technician to take a look at it.

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A man holding HVAC gauges demonstrating how to recharge a home AC unit.

Recharging a Home AC – What You Need to Know

Central air conditioners have one primary job: to keep you comfortable. If your AC doesn’t do this and it is appropriately sized for your home, something is wrong. You have heard the advice to change your filters, keep it cleaned, and to have a smart thermostat, but did you know that air conditioners may also need to recharge? If your system has malfunctioned or has been damaged, your refrigerant may need to be recharged. Here’s what you need to know about recharging a home AC.

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Air Conditioner and Heat Pump Compressor Unit in Backyard that has common problems.

Common AC Problems

Throughout the years, we’ve seen and repaired a lot of AC problems. The more complex the system, the higher the potential for problems. Knowing the symptoms and what the problems are can potentially add a few years to the life of your system as you may be saving other parts in the process. Here is a list of the most common AC problems and their symptoms.

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A standard dehumidifier representing how a dehumidifier functions.

Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

dehumidifierIn the summertime, the heat brings humidity to many homes around the US. Humidity is a result of moisture in your home, which can come from a variety of sources. During summer, however, the weather brings moisture with it and combines with moisture you create in your home passively. Moisture can lead to health problems, such as allergic reactions to mold and mildew. Mold and other fungi are fond of wet areas, making your basement the ideal place to grow. Your AC does some dehumidification, but that’s not its primary function.

Air conditioners work by pulling air out of your home via return ducts, cooling the air, and then recirculating it throughout your home. But sometimes all your home needs is dehumidification. Along much of the East Coast, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, Delaware, and New Jersey, a lot of our heat is unbearable because of the humidity levels in the air. The sticky, thick 90º weather is awful, but when the humidity finds its way inside our homes, sometimes all you need is the movement of air. Ceiling fans are a common choice in homes with temperatures around the upper 70ºs. A ceiling fan can reduce the temperature you feel in the room by up to 10º in some cases. But do air conditioners dehumidify your home or just cool it?

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A green grassy landscape and green leaves emerging from the top representing the green effects of geothermal heating and the maintenance it requires.

Geothermal Maintenance

One of the main benefits of a geothermal heating system, besides economic friendliness, is a relative lack of maintenance. A majority of the geothermal components are buried underground so much like a radiant underfloor heating system: What you can’t see you can’t maintain (because the parts shouldn’t go wrong). The lack of maintenance perception is a common misnomer because all heating systems need regular upkeep, especially ones that feature a conventional duct work and air handler as the geothermal pumps do. The required maintenance shouldn’t be a deal breaker in purchasing a system though, because the savings still produce roughly $5 of heat for every $1 of cost. Here’s just an idea of what you should do and expect to maintain those high savings ratios:

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A large pile of US dollars with blues skies in the background representing geothermal heat pump savings in Pennsylvania.

Geothermal Savings in PA (Tax Incentives, Grants, and More)

In recent years, geothermal heat pumps have gained popularity. However, the cost of installation for geothermal heating is still more expensive than other forms of heating and cooling. Don’t let this initial cost scare you, though, as the cost to run the systems over time will result in savings that pay for the system in full. Most families see savings of equivalent or greater value to the cost of the installation within 5-7 years.

The savings aren’t the only assistance available out there. The government is pushing for renewable energy sources in residential and commercial establishments. For many families, the only way they could install the system is with financial assistance. Fortunately, there are a lot of tax incentives for you to take advantage of out there, including federal and state tax incentives. Read More

A traditional heat pump next to a house showing comparison to geothermal heat pump.

Why is My Air Conditioner Making Clicking Noises?

With any forced air heating or cooling system, there’s going to be sounds associated with air flowing through the duct work, in fact, it’s one of the main reasons people opt for the quieter radiant heat in the winter. Some units give off a light whirl that is ignored as background noise after a homeowner becomes familiar with it, while others sound like an Airbus A350 preparing to leave the runway.

While the sound of airflow is a necessary evil with a forced air-conditioner, there are some other sounds that are an indicator that something may be malfunctioning within the system. One such racket is a persistent clicking noise that may develop within the air-conditioner over time. While the clicking noise isn’t as sinister as a loud banging or the crackling of fire coming from your utility room, it’s still important to be checked out for one of these main causes:

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Inclined Reading, PA HVAC Company line graph

What is the Life Expectancy of My HVAC System?

Whenever we install a new heating/cooling system we are always asked the same question: “How long will it last?”. The simple answer: it depends on how well you maintain it. Every manufacturer makes their system slightly different than another and one part could last longer than another. For example, if a manufacturer produces systems that have poor quality compressors, then the overall life expectancy could drop significantly because compressors are sometimes more expensive to replace than the system itself.

Here is a chart which outlines the average life expectancy of HVAC systems based on how much maintenance you use, national averages, and plain old estimates. Please keep in mind that these are estimates, not guarantees. Your brand could result in higher or lower life expectancies.

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A blue water drop representing why your air conditioning unit is leaking.

Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking?

Leaks are generally never a good thing, whether you’re talking about a car tire, a hot air balloon, or important government documents. An area of the house that experiences leaks frequently is the air conditioner and, although it’s not quite as an imminent threat as a hot air balloon spiraling into a lake, the pooling of water near the A/C is something that should be tended to sooner rather than later as it can indicate a bigger problem.

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