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Why is routine maintenance important?

Just like your car, your home HVAC system requires routine maintenance. Without performing routine maintenance on your car such as oil changes, tire rotations, changing brake pads etc. your car wouldn’t last that long. Same holds true for your air conditioner and heat pump, they won’t run at peak performance or efficiency and will end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. An air conditioner is a very tough piece of equipment. It is engineered to withstand all sorts of abuse and keep on running. This is great in most respects, but it can lead to complacency about maintenance.

Consequences of not properly maintaining your HVAC System.

Without regular maintenance an air conditioner loses about 5% of it’s original efficiency for each year of operation. This means that the 12 SEER unit that you bought just a few years ago may be functioning like a 9 SEER unit now! The good news is that you can recover most of that lost efficiency through regularly scheduled maintenance. Studies have shown that with regular tune-ups a unit will maintain up to 95% of it’s original efficiency. This means that the cost of an semi-annual tune-up is recovered very quickly in savings on your monthly electric bill and reduced repair costs. A properly serviced air conditioner will also do a better job of dehumidifying your home.

One of the most important items to check is the refrigerant level in the air conditioner. A system that is only 10% low on coolant will cost on average 20% more to operate! The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) recommends that coolant levels be checked every year.

Things you can do to help maintain your HVAC System.

There are some things in addition to yearly tune-ups that you can do to help ensure a high level of comfort and proper system operation.

merv-7-filters

Buy quality air filters and change them regularly.

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Keep bushes and other materials away from the outside unit of your air conditioner.
air-outlet
Avoid closing supply air outlets in your house. In almost all cases, closing supply outlets is harmful to the operation of the overall system.

What kind of benefits can you expect from having your air conditioner serviced?

All equipment, even the most reliable, needs routine maintenance. Complicated equipment like today’s air conditioners benefit in many ways from semi-annual maintenance.

  • Air conditioners recover much of their lost efficiency.
  • They are less likely to suffer a major break down.
  • They have a longer lifespan.
  • They operate for less money.
  • They are able to keep you more comfortable, year round.

What are you waiting for? Schedule your tune-up now and start saving today!

If you haven’t scheduled routine maintenance on your air conditioner or furnace, there has never been a better time than right now. Precision is currently offering a Preventative Maintenance Program for less than $14 a month!

So for less than $14 a month you will have your HVAC system serviced twice a year. Precision schedules and performs our unprecedented 15-Point Air Conditioning Tune-Up before peak energy usage in the summer, and our 26-Point Heating Tune-Up before peak energy usage in the winter, to help keep you cool all summer and warm all winter! With hassle free scheduling and lighting fast, 5 star service guaranteed you can’t go wrong.

Furnace making odd noises?

If your furnace (heater) starts making unusual or odd noises, it might be a warning sign of trouble. Furnaces tend to be the one thing in your home that can be neglected. However, you probably know what sounds to expect from your furnace when it’s operating normally, so anything out of the ordinary needs your attention. Your furnace may get your attention by making some of these sounds.

  • Screeching Noise: If you hear a screeching noise, it could be a problem with the motor, or a bearing in the motor that is making the noise.
  • Metallic Chirping Noise: If you hear a metallic chirping noise, it could be caused by the wheel being out of alignment, a motor mount might be loose, or your bearings could be going out. Sometimes you may be able to wiggle the wheel to get the alignment to resolve itself but if you don’t know what you’re doing it is always a better idea to have an experienced HVAC Tech check things out.
  • Rattling sound: If you hear a noisy rattling sound when your furnace shuts off, it is probably the metal parts to your furnace cooling down. However, it may be something more serious. The blower may be out of alignment or a malfunction in the motor occurred. If you hear this noise you should give Precision a call.
  • Clanging noise: If you hear a clanging noise, the problem is more than likely in the pipes, rather than the furnace itself. This tends to happen when the pipes are able to cool down and contract after the furnace shuts off.
  • Loud Boom or Thud: A loud boom or thud sound may be caused by the ducts, which can expand and contract in cold weather. Especially if where the furnace is located is not heated. However, it might be an indication that the burners in the furnace are dirty and need to be cleaned. These are relatively easy to clean yourself with hot soapy water. If you do attempt to clean these yourself, make sure they are completely dry before reinstalling them. If it’s determined that it’s not the ducts or the burners, it may be that your gas valve is defective (if you have a gas furnace), which can cause a delayed ignition. In most cases, it is wise to call Precision to have one of our experienced HVAC Technicians evaluate the problem.
  • Pinging and or Popping: A pinging or popping sound is most likely coming from one of the ducts and is not really something to worry about.
  • Odd Vibrating Noise or Whining: If you hear an odd vibrating noise or whining, it may indicate a problem with your Furnace and a Precision technician really needs to check it out.
  • Loud Humming: A loud humming noise may come from when the furnace burners light and its cold outside. You can eliminate this noise by turning the off/pilot/on control to reduce the burner flame.
  • Rattling Noise When the Furnace Starts Up: If you hear a rattling noise when the furnace starts up, it could be a motor bearing going out.
  • Crackling Noise: A crackling noise is more than likely caused by the metal parts of your furnace cooling down when the furnace shuts off.
  • Clunking and Banging: A clunking and banging sound indicates a cracked belt. If you hear this noise you need to have a Precision HVAC Tech out to your home to replace the belt.

Have your system evaluated by a HVAC Professional

Overall, if your furnace is making sounds that are out of the ordinary its definitely a good idea to schedule one of our NATE Certified HVAC Technicians to come out to your home to do a system diagnosis to evaluate any potential problems before its too late. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Experts recommend investing in a energy-efficient HVAC system.

invest-in-2015

The biggest energy hog in a home is the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, so it’s smart for you to consider investing in new energy efficient products. However, replacing an entire HVAC system is a large investment, so you should consider your needs carefully before making a decision. A home energy audit will determine where problem areas are in your home and help you decide what will bring you the most return on investment.

So what should you invest in for 2015? Here is our top choices:

hvac-tune-up

HVAC Tune Up

It may sound silly, but just having a simple Air Conditioning or Heating Tune-Up performed on your home can cut your monthly energy costs by up to 30%! With the average electric bill here in Austin, TX being *$102.71 a month thats an average-immediate savings of over $30 a month or $360 for this year alone. I would say that is a sound investment.

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Digital Programmable Thermostat

According to the government’s Energy Star program, households that use a digital programmable thermostat can save about $180 a year on their energy bill. These thermostats make it even easier to keep your house comfortable, allowing you to adjust your settings even when you’re not at home. No matter what your budget may be, a smart thermostat is a smart investment.

attic-blown-insulation

Attic Insulation

A properly insulated attic can reduce heating and cooling costs by an average of **$600/year. Proper insulation will also make your home more comfortable and extend the life of your HVAC system.

duct-work

Repairing or Replacing Ductwork & Air Balancing

Even though your Air Conditioner, Furnace or Heat Pump is working properly and efficiently doesn’t mean your HVAC system is in complete working order. Are there hot or cold spots in your home? This could be causing you to unnecessarily adjust your thermostat to accommodate for that hot or cold room, which costs you more money. Having your home properly air balanced and air ducts in working order can save you up to 10% of your monthly energy costs.

carrier-infinity-series-central-air-conditioner

HVAC Replacement

The federal government recommends replacing air conditioners over ten years old and furnaces over 20 years old. The primary reason for this, according to the EPA and Department of Energy, is that newer air conditioners and heat pumps offer significant long-term energy savings. Replacing older air conditioning units can save you 20% or more on air conditioning energy use. The older the unit, the less efficient and more costly it will be.

* Average Electric Bill in Austin, Texas provided by MyEnergy.com

**Based on a national average; actual savings may vary.

home-protection-when-freezing

With the temperature dropping below 32° tonight and throughout the week your going to want to ensure your home is safe from the elements. Keeping your pipes from freezing is actually relatively simple and you will be glad that did. Frozen pipes can cause thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. We’ve listed our 12 simple and cost effective steps to ensuring your homes safety this winter.

How to keep your pipes from freezing:

insulating-pipes

  1. Insulate Pipes: Try an insulate all hot and cold water pipes in the crawlspaces under your house as well as in the attic, and exterior walls if they are accessible with snap-on foam insulation. Make sure foam insulation fits tightly without gaps and apply duct tape to joints in insulation, and miter foam around elbows, so joints in pipes are completely covered.
  2. Heat Pipes: Consider wrapping problematic pipes with UL approved heat tape* that has a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Follow the instructions that come with heat tape carefully to keep from causing a fire hazard.
  3. Sprinkler System: Turn off your sprinkler system, and if possible blow compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.
  4. drip-faucets

  5. Drip Faucets: Drip both hot and cold water at faucets in kitchen and bathroom. This not only keeps water moving through the pipes, but relieves built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Set single lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip and pay special attention to pipes running in outside walls.
  6. Laundry Room: If there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room to drip, set your washing machine on warm, and start the fill cycle periodically for a few minutes to run water through the pipes.
  7. Ice maker: Set your ice maker to make ice if the ice maker water line runs under house.
  8. Cabinets: Open cabinet doors under sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are located on exterior walls, to allow inside heat from inside your home to pipes.
  9. Garage: Keep garage door closed during extreme cold weather.
  10. Foundation: For houses that have a crawlspace, make sure the foundation is completely enclosed, and to fill any gaps in foundation walls with caulking or expanding foam. If there are the foundation vents under house try to either close them or cover them up during extreme cold weather.
  11. Garden Hose: Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
  12. Exterior Faucets: To protect exterior faucet around your foundation, either cover faucets with insulated foam covers, cut off water to exterior faucets and open faucets to drain pipes, or install exterior faucets that cut water supply off inside foundation walls.
  13. Check for Leaks: Once the weather has warmed up, turn off any dripping faucets as well as the ice maker, then monitor the water meter for any unseen leaks.

*Heat tapes look like electrical extension cords. But unlike all other wiring that can become hazardous if it gets hot, these tapes are specifically designed to produce heat. They are used mainly to keep water pipes from freezing, but they also prevent ice dams at gutters, downspouts and roof edges. Heat tapes are useful as well in many other situations, including exposed fuel-supply lines on mobile homes and refrigeration piping on commercial fishing boats. A modern heat tape certified to meet recognized standards by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) can be used safely to prevent freeze-ups and costly repairs.

Fireplace warming up happy woman winter home

Its that time of year when the temperature outside drops and causes most of us to retreat inside for warmth. But, with the high cost of home heating fuels and utilities its caused many to search for alternate sources for home heating. The use of fireplaces and space heaters are ideal solutions. However, they are major contributing factors in residential fires. Thankfully, many of these fires can be prevented by following these simple safety tips.

Safety tips for kerosene heaters

keroseneheaters

  • Your heater needs to be in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Ensure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  • Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
  • NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel for it may expand in the tank as it warms up.
  • Refueling should be done outside of the home. Keep young children away from space heaters–especially when they are wearing loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
  • When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Safety tips for wood stoves and fireplaces

fireplaces

  • Ensure your fireplace or stove is installed properly, is in proper working order and is of good quality, solid construction and design.
  • Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite theses materials.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace.
  • A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
  • Check the chimney for any cracks or loose bricks and have a certified professional fix any found.
  • All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.

Safety tips for furnace heating

furnace

  • It is important that you have your furnace inspected prior to each winter season to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Other fire safety tips:

  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load.
    • TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • If your water pipes have frozen NEVER try to thaw them with a blowtorch or other open flame. The pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Instead use hot water for thawing or a device, like a hand-held dryer.
  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
  • Contact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on home fire safety

If your homes furnaces isn’t heating properly call us today at 512-300-7422 to schedule our industry leading 26 point heating tune-up to get it running in tip top shape again.

During the Texas summer, Precision Heating & Air most commonly receives calls regarding the following four issues:

  • The AC system is not sufficiently cooling my home.
  • The AC condenser is not running.
  • The AC system continuously cycles on and off.
  • The AC system is running, but is not cooling my home.

Common causes of these issues, as well as some preventative steps, are provided below. We are in the business of helping you to enjoy a wonderfully cool home all summer long!

The AC system is not sufficiently cooling my home.

If the AC system is not cooling your home as well as it should, there are several potential causes:

  • Ensure that you regularly change the filter, to help the system to run efficiently.
  • If the thermostat is set at a very low temperature, your system may have some problems trying to keep up (i.e., when it is 100 degrees outside and the thermostat is set below 70 degrees). Lower the thermostat by 5 degrees to address the cooling issue.
  • If lowering the thermostat temperature does not work, check the evaporator coil (typically located in the attic or a closet). If it is frozen, turn off the system at the thermostat and turn on the fan; it takes six to eight hours for a frozen system to defrost, and running the fan will speed up the process. Then, call Precision at 512-300-7422!

If the coil is dirty, you can attempt to clean it (which is not recommended) or you can call Precision at 512-300-7422 for a coil replacement estimate.

The AC condenser stops running.

The condenser is a big, metal box located either on the ground or on the roof outside your home. If the condenser is not running, the issue is generally caused by no power to the system or a faulty motor/compressor.

  • Check for a blown fuse or a tripped breaker.
  • If the fuses and breakers look normal, the issue may be due to a bad motor or compressor, which typically cannot be repaired and must be replaced. Call Precision at 512-300-7422, and we can have a technician out to your home the very same day!

The AC system continuously cycles on and off.

This problem usually stems from a dirty condenser unit or evaporator coil. The condenser unit can be blocked by outside debris, such as weeds and grass.
Check the outside portion of your unit to ensure that there are no obstructions; this can prevent the continuous cycling from occurring.
Cleaning the system will also help address this issue. Precision Heating and Air offers AC tune-ups for just $89! AC tune-ups include checking the refrigerant charge, cleaning the condenser coil, flushing the drain line, and ensuring that all components are running smoothly.
The AC system is running, but is not cooling my home.
This is the most commonly reporting issue during the summer months, and can be caused by any number of problems:

  • A dirty condenser or evaporator coil
  • A thermostat set at a very low temperature
  • A blocked condenser
  • A clogged drain line
  • A lack of system refrigerant

As there are so many factors that can cause this problem, we recommend that you call Precision Heating & Air at 512-300-7422 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Precision Heating & Air is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to address all your AC issues and help your family stay cool and comfortable all summer long.
Keep Austin Cool!

To Repair or Replace: That is the Question.

Many people will tell you that it costs less to repair an HVAC system than to spend the money to replace it and, the first time a repair is needed, that might be true. It might even be true the second time. But what about the third and fourth repair? What if you are making repairs to an air conditioner that is 12 years old, or a furnace that is 30 years old? Is it really worth that much frustration and money? Where do you draw the line between repairing your HVAC system and replacing it?

Determining the lifespan of your system

The federal government recommends replacing air conditioners over ten years old and furnaces over 20 years old. The primary reason for this, according to the EPA and Department of Energy, is that newer air conditioners and heat pumps offer significant long-term energy savings. Replacing older air conditioning units can save you 20% or more on air conditioning energy use. The older the unit, the less efficient and more costly it will be.

When faced with the choice of repair or replacement, one should weigh the current and future operating costs against the cost of installing a new system. If your system has received regular maintenance and has not needed frequent repairs, and your energy costs have not increased, then it may not be time to replace the system. Instead, it may be more cost-effective to make the minor repairs on a well-maintained system, regardless of its age. If components in your system have failed a couple of times in the last two years, it may be time to consider replacement; if it’s wearing out parts faster than you can replace them, it will continue to do so.

How efficient is your system?

The efficiency of your air conditioning and heating system is important to the environment, and should be important to you. Even if your system is only eight or nine years old, it could use twice the energy of a newer, more efficient system. By federal law, the current minimum SEER rating (or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for an air conditioner is 13 SEER, as opposed to 10 SEER back in 2006. The SEER rating is determined by the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input. While your system may not yet be ten years old, it could still be inefficiently using energy and greatly increasing your energy costs. In the long run, replacing that old 10 SEER unit with a 21 SEER unit could save you up to 56% on your energy bill.

Consider the structure of your home

If you have trouble keeping your home cool enough in summer or warm enough in winter, a poorly insulated home may be part of the problem. Sufficient insulation decreases the demand on an HVAC system and allows it to run more efficiently. If insulation issues are addressed, it may be possible to replace your current system with a smaller, less expensive one, or keep your current system for a few more years.

Still not sure if you should repair or replace your current unit? Review the questions below to help you decide.

  • What are the annual repair costs for your current heating and cooling system?
  • How old is your current system?
  • Have you seen a significant increase in your energy bill over the last couple of years?
  • How often is your system turning on (i.e., how hard is it working) to meet your heating and cooling needs?

Do you have a good understanding of what you might need, but would like a second opinion? Give Precision Heating & Air a call at 512-300-7422! Precision offers free quotes for system replacements, and our Comfort Consultants will work to provide you with a quote that fits your budget.

It may seem strange that evaporator coils can freeze when the outside temperature is 95 degrees or more, but a frozen coil is a common issue during the hot summer months. There are a number of potential causes of a frozen evaporator coil.

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COVID-19 VIRUS NOTICE:

Precision Heating & Air and HVAC contractors are considered essential service providers, therefore, we are open as usual. However, we are taking the following safety precautions to keep everyone safe. We are following all safety guidelines laid out by the CDC. Our technicians will show up to your home wearing masks, rubber gloves, and one-time use shoe covers. Both our customers and our techs safety is our number one priority. Trust Precision to keep your home and environment clean. Stay safe out there!

Austin, Tx may seem like a roller coaster ride during the winter season, with temperatures ranging from the low teens to the upwards of 90 degrees within the same week. It can really wreak havoc on a poorly maintained or aging HVAC system. With Precision’s cooling and heating solutions, you can be sure that you’re never at the mercy of the weather forecast. Our whole home comfort solutions control temperature, humidity, and air quality at precise conditions year round — even when it’s blistering hot or freezing cold outdoors.

Precision is committed to helping customers maintain a healthy bottom line when it comes to energy bills. Our Preventative Maintenance plan on top of the highest efficiency Carrier products, best promotional offers on the market, and NATE Certified technicians will ensure you keep cool while keeping your budget under control.