Air Conditioning FAQ: What Does the Compressor Do?

April 17th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

The modern air conditioner runs through a precision balance of components that all contribute toward making a home feel cool and inviting during a humid Florida summer. Each part of an AC needs to remain in excellent operating conditioning, but a few of these components deserve special attention. One is the compressor, which is essentially the “heart” of an air conditioner. Without a working compressor, you won’t have cool air… period.

If you encounter problems with your AC’s compressor, or if it fails and you need to have it replaced, call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling and speak to our experts in air conditioning in Wesley Chapel, FL. Don’t worry about the time of day: we have 24-hour emergency service so you won’t have to sweat it out too long with a busted AC.

The Basics of the Compressor

In a split air conditioning system—the standard central AC found in most homes—the compressor is located in the outdoor unit. Its job is to circulate the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange through the coils of the indoor and outdoor unit, and also to apply the energy to the refrigerant. When you think of the air conditioner requiring power to provide cooling, you’re thinking of the electricity sent to run the compressor. (Electricity also powers the fans, although they do not provide cooling on their own, and can operate in “fan only” mode.)

A motor powers the compressor, which is itself constructed like a motor, with a cylinder and piston.  The compressor compress the gaseous refrigerant, and this raises the refrigerant’s temperature so that changes it into a high pressure gas. The high pressure forces the refrigerant through a line that leads to the outdoor coil, where the refrigerant releases its heat and condenses into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant then continues its trip to the indoor unit, where the refrigerant evaporates into a gas again and absorbs the heat from inside your home. The refrigerant than returns to the compressor and cycle starts again.

Compressor Repairs

The compressor undergoes a great deal of stress during a cooling season in Florida, and it will wear down the same way a motor will. Grime and dust contamination will also affect it, leading to it becoming stuck. This will stop the cooling cycle, and usually the compressor must be replaced. A malfunction in the compressor’s motor will also stop cooling. Compressors can develop leaks at their connectors, causing a loss of refrigerant. Any drop in refrigerant charge can lead to damage to the compressor.

If you suspect any problem with the compressor in your AC (odd sounds when it starts up, icing on the coils, loss of cooling) call for repairs. Ierna’s Heating & Cooling has staff ready around the clock to repair your air conditioning in Wesley Chapel, FL.

Why Won’t My Heat Pump Switch to Cooling Mode?

April 10th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

It’s that time of year when your heat pump begins to perform the other half of its job: providing you with steady cooling power. With just a simple change on the thermostat, the heating system that kept you warm during the rainy and overcast winter days will change over to a powerful cooling system.

But you might switch your heat pump to cooling mode only to discover that the air from your vents isn’t crisp and cool at all. It’s still heated or lukewarm. What’s wrong? And what can you do about it?

We’ll look at possible culprits for a heat pump that isn’t cooling. In most cases, you’ll need professional work to remedy the problem. For repairs on your heat pump in Wesley Chapel, FL, call the skilled team at Ierna’s Heating & Cooling.

Reasons a heat pump might not switch to cooling mode:

  • Broken reversing valve: The reversing valve is a component that changes the direction refrigerant flows through a heat pump after it exits the compressor: one direction for heating, one direction for cooling. This is the key difference between a heat pump and a standard air conditioner. If the reversing valve breaks, the heat pump will become fixed in one mode until you replace it with a new valve.
  • Malfunctioning thermostat: The thermostat may indicate that it has turned on cooling mode, but if the thermostat has lost its connection to the unit because of loose or frayed wires, then nothing that you do with the setting will change the heat pump out of heating mode. A technician can restore the thermostat’s connection to the system. You may also consider replacing the thermostat unit with an upgraded model.
  • Loss of refrigerant: If the air coming from the vents feels lukewarm, as if the heat pump is struggling to provide cool air but failing, then the pump may actually have switched over to cooling mode but loss of refrigerant due to a leak is preventing it from effectively cooling the air. A technician can locate the leak, seal it, and recharge the lost refrigerant.

The worst thing you can do for a heat pump that won’t change to cooling mode is to “wait it out,” hoping the system will fix itself and the cool air will start flowing from the vents again. This rarely happens, and the problem will likely worsen: malfunctions can spread and cause additional repair needs. Call in the specialists to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Ierna’s Heating & Cooling can help your heat pump in Wesley Chapel, FL no matter its troubles. Our trained staff is ready with 24-hour service.

Repair These Air Conditioning Problems Before They Grow Worse

April 3rd, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

As we move into the cooling season, when our air conditioners will start to earn their keep, it’s important to keep careful watch for any problems that might develop inside the AC cabinet. Warning signs like uncanny noises, unusual odors from the vents, uneven heating, increases in utility bills, and plunges in cooling power can all point toward an air conditioner that needs to have professional repairs.

You must respond to air conditioning problems rapidly, because repair needs tend to grow worse due to the increased stress they create throughout the system. Before an air conditioner repair turns more expensive or shuts down the unit entirely, call for skilled help. Ierna’s Heating & Cooling has technicians ready to repair your air conditioning in Tampa, FL any time of the day or night. Bring us in to help whenever you run into these repair needs that will grow worse if ignored:

  • Clanging sounds from a broken fan: The fans that move air into your house and into the outside cabinet must remain balanced and undamaged or else they will begin to strike the outside housing. This will further damage the fan and other parts of the AC. Professionals can straighten the blades (don’t try it yourself, since you might bend them too much the other direction) and repair any issues they have already created.
  • Motors wearing down: If motors become dusty or do not receive regular lubrication during routine maintenance, they will start to wear down and create too much friction in their moving parts. Eventually, the motors will burn out. If you hear a shrieking or screeching noise from your AC cabinet, you must move fast to have technicians repair the problems before the motor requires replacement.
  • Leaking refrigerant: Have you noticed icing along the indoor coils and a drop in cooling power? You likely have refrigerant leaking from the system. If this continues, it will cause damage to the compressor and the refrigerant loss will generate more ice over the coils and the cooling power will eventually fail. Professionals will find the location of leak and seal it, and then place the proper amount of refrigerant back into the system (“recharging” it) so the AC will work at its regular cooling level once again.

You do not want to have an air conditioner fail during the height of the summer heat, which is when it is most likely to break down because of all the work you’ll need from it. Whenever you think you have an AC repair need, call for help from Ierna’s Heating & Cooling. We also recommend you have yearly maintenance done on your air conditioning in Tampa, FL to head off as many problems as possible.

Preparing for Summer with Air Conditioning Maintenance

March 27th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

If you’ve lived through at least one summer in Florida, you know how heavy the hot weather can get. To truly enjoy living in one of the great sunny vacation spots in the country, you need to have an air conditioner capable of taking on the muggiest and most blistering days of July.

The best way to know that your air conditioner is up to the task, and will make it through to the fall without a breakdown or major repair needs, is to schedule a regular maintenance visit for it this spring. You should have AC maintenance done every year at this time, but if you haven’t scheduled your first session yet, now is the time to jump on it… before the thermometer climbs higher.

Ierna’s Heating & Cooling has NATE-certified technicians on staff who can come to your home to take care of the maintenance that will keep your air conditioning in Trinity, FL humming and cooling you all through the summer months.

What air conditioning maintenance actually does

Maintaining an AC involves a number of steps that work toward providing you three basic services:

  1. An air conditioner that will work at its most efficient through the summer.
  2. Detection of any malfunctions or malfunctions waiting to happen that might turn into serious repair needs—or even a full breakdown—unless they are remedied.
  3. A prolonged lifespan for the unit.

To achieve these goals, your AC maintenance technician will check over all parts of the system and all the major components to see that they are operating correctly and without troubles. The check starts with the thermostat to see that it is calibrated properly and communicating with the AC. Then the inspection goes into the cabinets of the air conditioner itself to see that the compressor, the motors, and the fans are not dirty or starting to run down. The technician checks the refrigerant level to see that there are no leaks, and looks over the coils to make sure they are clean. Tests on airflow and voltage make certain the unit isn’t overworking.

If a maintenance technician discovers anything that needs repair or replacement, he or she will inform you about it. Some replacements a technician can take care of on the spot. Others will require scheduling a repair. If you follow the recommendations of the technician, you should have an AC in top shape for this summer and for the summers beyond.

Schedule maintenance today—for your heating system as well

A maintenance plan from a professional contractor will not only take care of your air conditioning in the spring; it will also take care of your heating system with a visit in the fall. This means efficient comfort all year and a heater and AC that will endure for many seasons.

Contact Ierna’s Heating & Cooling today to sign up for our maintenance program to prepare for your air conditioning in Trinity, FL for the summer.

There’s Ice on My Air Conditioner, Is That Normal?

March 19th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

It’s a perfectly plausible question: “there’s ice on my air conditioner, is that normal?” You might logically assume that it is, since ice implies cold, and providing cold air is your air conditioner’s job. Sadly, there’s nothing normal about ice on your air conditioner, though it is all too common among AC units. How does ice form on your AC? More importantly, why should anyone worry when ice forms on the air conditioner?

AC systems run on refrigerant, which cycles through a series of valves and coils that raise and lower the temperature. The condenser coils shift the refrigerant from a gaseous to a liquid state, while the expansion coils evaporate the liquid and return it to a gas. That process pulls heat from the air surrounding the coils, and the newly cooled air can then be blown into your home with a fan.

The process depends on set amounts of refrigerant particular to your model of air conditioning. When those levels drop – usually because a leak has formed in the system – then the entire process is thrown off. Ice forms on the expansion coils, as the temperature of the coils gets too low and freezes the condensate. Even worse, the ice forms an insulating layer between the remaining refrigerant and the air it’s supposed to cool.

Simply scraping the ice off won’t help (and may end up damaging to coils to boot) since it’s merely a symptom of the problem and not the cause. To fix the issue, a trained technician needs to seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant to its prescribed levels. The good news in that in this and other issue of air conditioning repair, Tampa, FL residents have the experts of Ierna’s Heating & Cooling to turn to. We can get it fixed and back to its expected running state again as quickly as possible!

Some Health Benefits from Regular Duct Cleaning

March 10th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

Scheduling regular duct cleaning for your home will keep your home cleaner, stopping dust from recirculating through your indoor air. Duct cleaning will also increase the efficiency of your forced-air heater and air conditioner, lowering resistance against the airflow and posing less risk of damage to the air components from dust, dirt, and debris contamination. But duct cleaning provides another benefit as well: better health through improved indoor air quality.

The U.S. EPA has identified ways that cleaner indoor air can ward off health problems. We’ll look at some of the ways that reducing the air contamination in your home from clogged ductwork can lead to better health for you and your family. But keep in mind that you’ll need professionals to handle your duct cleaning in Lutz, FL. Ierna’s Heating & Cooling can take care of the job so you’ll have the best indoor air quality possible.

Health benefits from improved indoor air quality

  • Reduction in asthma: Triggers for asthma are often found in poor quality air. Pollutants that can develop in your ducts that might lead to asthma attacks include dust mites, dander, pet hair, and mold. Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and general breathing problems.
  • Reduction in flu- and cold-like symptoms: You don’t have to have asthma to experience similar symptoms from poor quality air, especially if you have biological contaminants in your ducts, such as mold. Common symptoms that cleaner air will reduce include runny nose, congestion, sneezing, irritated eyes, headaches, and nausea.
  • Sleep better: Respiratory trouble often leads to difficulty sleeping. The better the quality of the air, the higher chance you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep.

These problems from poor indoor air quality are even worse for people who suffer from allergies. If you have people in your home with suffer from allergies, you should make duct cleaning a priority, since it will alleviate many of their symptoms.

Have professionals inspect your ductwork

If you suspect you have extensive contaminants inside your ducts, you should first bring in experts to perform duct testing to find out if your ventilation system has breaks and leaks that are making the problem worse. Once you’ve have any necessary repairs done, allow the specialists to handle the duct cleaning that will remove most of the pollutants from your ducts.

Ierna’s Heating & Cooling performs duct testing, sealing, and cleaning, as well as other indoor air quality services. We can help you and your family enjoy a healthier life inside your home. Call us today to schedule duct cleaning in Lutz, FL.

Understanding Your Heat Pump: Compressor Problems

March 3rd, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

Heat pumps make a viable and cost-effective alternative to more traditional heating and cooling systems. They work according to the same principles as air conditioners, transforming refrigerant gas into a liquid (releasing heat into the surrounding air) then returning it to gaseous form with an evaporator coil (absorbing heat from the air). In the summer, they absorb heat from inside your home and transfer it outside, and in the winter they absorb heat from the outside and use it to heat your home. Heat pumps work best in places with mild winters, making them ideal for the Tampa Bay area. It can help you know when to call for repairs if you have some understanding of your heat pump: compressor problems, for example, can be quite tricky, and knowing how to spot the signs will help you facilitate repairs that much more quickly.

Here is a brief list of the most common compressor problems:

  • Frequent cycling. If electrical problems develop in the compressor, it can lead the heat pump to turn on and off very quickly multiple times throughout the day. Heat pumps and air conditioners use the most amount of power when they start up and turn off, which means you want them to run for at least 15 minutes every time in order to prevent wasteful energy.
  • Lost heating or cooling capacity. The compressor relies on specific system pressure to do its job. If that pressure isn’t what it’s supposed to be – if there’s a leak or similar problems – with will interfere with the heating and cooling process, reducing the unit’s overall efficiency.
  • The compressor won’t start. If the compressor motor is faulty, it won’t start. In most cases, that means that the heat pump itself will simply won’t function. Your fan may still run, but the air coming out of the vents won’t be the right temperature.

Understanding your heat pump means spotting compressor problems as well as malfunctions in other parts of the system. If you notice an issue with your heat pump in Tampa, call the experts at Ierna’s Heating & Cooling. Our trained staff will get to the bottom of the problem quickly and correct it with professionalism and efficiency. Call us today to make an appointment!

Tools Professionals Use for Duct Cleaning in Wesley Chapel

February 24th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

Centralized furnaces and air conditioning systems use a series of ducts to move their air throughout the house. The ducts are hidden in unobtrusive parts of the household, such as the attic and the crawlspace, and release conditioned air through your vents. Over time, dust and debris can build up in your ducts, reducing the flow of air and lowering the indoor air quality in your home. H You may be wondering about the equipment that professionals use for the job. Here’s a brief list of some tools professionals use for duct cleaning in Wesley Chapel.

  • Rotobrush duct cleaners. These devices essentially act as industrial vacuums, combined with a rapidly rotating brush that first loosens the dust and then pulls it out of the ducts with dizzying speed. Devices like these serve as the staple for duct cleaning services, since they’re quite efficient, and their advanced technology means that duct cleaners can clear out more dust and debris with greater efficiency.
  •  Hand brushes. Hand brushes are useful in some situations to clear dust and build-up neared the vent. These are often the most important locations to clean, since they’re the most likely to be blown directly into your house. Hand brushes can also be used to keep the vent covers clean, as well as the surrounding wall.
  • Plastic covers. It doesn’t sound like much, but companies that care about your home and its furnishings will carefully cover every surface with plastic covers and similar protective measures. It keeps the dust where it needs to be and ensures that nothing is damaged or otherwise affected by the process.

For more information on the tools professionals use for duct cleaning in Wesley Chapel, or to talk about the specifics of duct cleaning, contact Ierna’s Heating & Cooling for help. We  offer excellent duct cleaning services, and we treat your home like our own throughout every stage of the cleaning process. Call us today and let us show you what we can do for you!

The 3 Types of Bryant Air Conditioners

February 17th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

That time of the year is almost here: air conditioning weather. If you’ve lived in Florida during one of our previous summers, you know the value of a reliable and powerful air conditioner working to keep your house cool. If you need to have a new installation of air conditioning in Tampa, FL before the summer arrives, now is the time to consider your options.

Ierna’s Heating & Cooling is proud to offer Bryant air conditioners to our customers. Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems was founded in 1904 and since then has developed one of the strongest reputations for quality design in home comfort systems. All Bryant products endure rigorous testing that goes beyond HVAC industry standards to provide homeowners superior heating and cooling they can depend on.

Bryant air conditioners come in three main types. All have their advantages, but you will need to rely on professional installers to help find the one that will best serve the needs of your home and fit your budget. Let’s take a quick look at the three types of Bryant ACs available:

  • Bryant Legacy: This type of AC will fit most homes. They can have up to 16 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) and come equipped with the DuraGuard protection package and environmentally sound Puron refrigerant. Each model also has a 10-year limited warranty. Most Legacy ACs meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR requirements.
  • Bryant Preferred: With up to 18 SEER rating, this type of AC is effective at reducing energy bills while delivering exceptionally high levels of cooling. Bryant Preferred ACs come with the AeroQuiet System II, which reduces the sound from the system to 66 dBA—which is as quiet as your dishwasher. The DuraGuard Plus system protects the outdoor unit from weather and increases its overall durability. All Preferred models qualify for ENERGY STAR.
  • Bryant Evolution: This is Bryant’s top-of-the-line, most technologically advanced AC available to homeowners. They offer up to 20 SEER and use two-stage scroll compressors different from the standard piston compressors to achieve their astonishing efficiency level. All Evolution models qualify for ENERGY STAR.

Find the Right Bryant Air Conditioner For You

We know that you’ll be happy with the Bryant AC you choose… as long as you consult with professionals to help you select the unit and install it. Ierna’s Heating & Cooling can assist you with all parts of installing air conditioning in Tampa, FL. Contact us today and get a head start on the hot weather.

How Poor Heat Pump Installation Leads to Heating Repair

February 10th, 2014 by Charlene Ierna

While it might be tempting to hire the least expensive contractor you can find, but it’s important to make sure that your technician is properly licensed and trained to work with your system. One of the main reasons that heat pump installation should remain out of the hands of amateurs is that a poor installing job will lead to numerous heating repair needs. The money you believe you’ll save with amateur installers will end up going into years of repair work. Instead of going this route, start off right and call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling for heat pump installation.

Heating Repair Issues from Poor Installation

Probably the most common problem that can arise from a shoddy installation job is from leaky connections between the indoor cabinet and the ductwork. The ducts must maintain a tight seal with the cabinet at all times or it will result in a plunge in air pressure. The ducts will to be repaired, sealed, and sometimes rebuilt around the heat pump to allow them to fit correctly.

Low refrigerant is another issue that happens because a heat pump was installed incorrectly. There’s a good chance the installers put in too little refrigerant or put in the wrong refrigerant blend. Other installation mistakes can lead to leaking around the seals where the refrigerant lines connect to other components. A loss of refrigerant is a serious problem that will lead to icing over the coils and a drop in efficiency eventually causing a total loss of heating and cooling power unless it is fixed.

Amateur installers will often create faulty connections from the heat pump to the power supply (causing tripped circuit breakers) as well as to thermostat (resulting in uneven temperatures or the heat pump refusing to come on when it should). Extensive electrical repair is usually required to fix this.

Make sure you have licensed professionals on the job from the beginning of the installation process, so you will have the right heater, at the right size, fixed up so it will run with as few problems as possible.

But even with the finest installation possible, a heat pump may eventually need repair work. Ierna’s Heating & Cooling has you covered there as well: we have NATE-certified technicians ready for your heating repair in Tampa, FL, any time of the day or night.