Summer has really heated up and the “dog days” are in full swing. With your a/c system working overtime, it’s a good time to remind you about a few common air conditioning problems that we see.
If you detect the problem early enough and call us in, you may be able to avoid more costly air conditioning repair down the road. (It might also be helpful to try troubleshooting first before you call for service.)
Four Common Problems
- Restricted airflow – Hold your hand up to the vent – do you feel a steady flow of air? If you don’t, you’ll most likely need service (try other vents, too – knowing if the problem is in one area or several can help narrow down the cause).
- Frequent cycling – If your home cooling system cycles (turns on and off) too often, it can cause your system to wear out prematurely (frequent cycling is often a sign that your system is too large for your home, but the problem could also be mechanical).
- A too-warm house – There can be a number of reasons why your air conditioner is constantly running but the house isn’t cooling, and our technician has to do a fair amount of detective work to determine the real cause.
- Noticeably higher bills – If you notice your bills creeping up year after year – or even month after month – despite using your cooling system about the same amount, your air conditioning system could be straining to cool the house – and that can eventually lead to a breakdown.
Contact our a/c specialists if you need us to get your home’s cooling system running right again. We’ll also be glad to give you a free estimate on a new system.
A hot summer can lead to some not-so-cool electric bills. Here are tips that will help you keep your cool and save money too.
- Raise the temperature when A/C is not needed as much – Why cool the house if no one’s around to enjoy it or if everyone is asleep? Use your programmable thermostat to set day and night temperatures. Tip: with a smart thermostat, you can adjust the temperature for your cooling system from your mobile phone a few hours before you’re due to arrive back home.
- Maintain your A/C – Did you know the efficiency of your air conditioner could drop 5% or more in a single season if it’s not properly maintained? That costs money! Stay on top of routine annual maintenance by enrolling in a service plan. You should also check the condition of your air filters on a regular basis.
- Get a duct leakage inspection – Improperly installed or poorly maintained ducts can rob you of significant efficiency. You can lose one third or more of the cool air your A/C produces
before it ever reaches the vents! Duct sealing could be a great investment for you. Contact us about scheduling a FREE duct leakage inspection and our special summer offer on Aeroseal duct sealing. Read more here.
- Clear obstructions – Don’t cool your chair – cool the air! Rearrange your furniture to make sure it doesn’t block your A/C vents.
- Cool in moderation – Keeping your air conditioner at 78 degrees is a good starting point to balance performance and comfort. Remember: it’s the difference between the temperature of the outdoor and indoor air that makes you feel cool, not the absolute temperature of the air in your home.
- Install window reflectors – Minimize the greenhouse effect of a hot sun by using light-reflecting window treatments.
- Use ceiling fans – Air that keeps circulating in your home feels cooler; think of a summer breeze). Using ceiling fans let you run your A/C at higher temperatures with no change in comfort. That can save you a bundle during a hot summer.
Want an even better way to save on your energy bills this summer? Install a new high-efficiency cooling system! We’ve got great specials on new systems that will save you money upfront—and help you cut your cooling bills dramatically in the summers that follow. Contact Wilson for a FREE estimate today!
When we think about summer fun, many images come to mind: hanging out with friends and family, enjoying the great outdoors, vacations, cold lemonade—and delicious backyard barbecues!
With plenty of summer fun still ahead of us, our propane team has put together 10 reminders to help you enjoy safe outdoor cooking with your propane grill. This is especially relevant right now because July is the peak month for grill fires. In fact, about half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns that could be avoided if safety guidelines are followed.
- Clean your grill after each use to avoid flare-ups when cooking. Leftover grease causes about 20 percent of grill fires – more than any other factor.
- Keep your grill outdoors and keep it positioned at least five feet from the house. It should be on a level surface that is clear of outdoor furniture, overhead trees, or other potential fire hazards.
- Before cooking, always check hoses for kinks, cracks or damage.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near your propane grill; make sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it.
- Stay close to the grill when cooking and keep it in sight at all times.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your propane grill cover open until you’re sure the grill is lit – even if you have electronic ignition.
- When finished cooking, turn off the burner controls and close the cylinder valve.
- Always store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright, vertical position.
- When transporting your tank, put it in a secure, well-ventilated place in your vehicle. Place it upright with the valve off, and take it directly to the refilling location. Do not leave a tank in a vehicle for long periods of time during the warm weather!
If you have any questions about safety for your propane grill, or if you want to learn more about your options in new outdoor grills, please contact us and our propane experts will be glad to help. You can also read more propane safety tips here.
Have a safe and happy summer!
The onset of summer is always a good time to consider some cool facts about one of our most taken-for-granted but relied upon technologies – air conditioning. Here are just 10 tidbits about the development of the one of most appreciated, influential inventions ever.
- An early air conditioning concept came about some 500 years ago in Persia, where engineers built wind towers with wind scoops to catch prevailing breezes in the desert heat. Internal vanes then circulated the cool air throughout buildings.
- In 1902, mechanical engineer Willis Carrier invented an “apparatus” that used cooling coils to cool the air and lower humidity in commercial buildings.
- The term “air conditioning” was first coined in 1906 by a North Carolina textile mill engineer, who created a device to add water vapor to the air, lowering humidity. The improved indoor air conditions made yarn easier to spin and less likely to break.
- Before home air conditioning was common, the film industry drew in crowds by marketing movie houses as refrigerated escapes from the oppressive summer heat.
- Electric fans (invented in the 1880s) were the most popular way to cool down before air conditioning took over the job after World War II.
- Architecture was greatly affected by the widespread use of air conditioning, as high ceilings, sleeping porches, and other more costly features were deemed no longer necessary. Modern high-rise buildings and skyscrapers would not be possible without the use of air conditioning.
- Since 1960, almost two-thirds of America’s economic growth can be attributed to development in the south and southwest of the country – development that would be almost impossible without year-round climate control.
- Many of the most incredible technological advances we enjoy – from computers and data storage centers to the manufacture, delivery and storage of food and medicine – would not be possible without the use of air conditioning.
- The amount of energy the United States uses each year to power air conditioning units is about the same amount of energy consumed by the entire continent of Africa.
- Our natural tolerance for heat has been lessened since air conditioning has become prevalent, according to scientific studies.
One of the most common problems we see is an air conditioning system that runs but fails to generate any cool air. When we dispatch our technician on a call like this, he will begin his diagnosis by checking out these typical causes:
* obstructed airflow blockage, in the ductwork or filters
* dirty evaporator coil
* system controls: the thermostat and blower fans need to be set correctly and operating properly.
In some cases, our technician may find an ice build-up on the evaporator coil and stains on the refrigerant piping. This usually indicates a loss of refrigerant. A few tests will confirm this. If a system has lost too much refrigerant, it can no longer cool the home properly.
The technician’s solution: use a detector to find and fix a leak in the refrigerant line. Next, he will “recharge” the system with the proper amount of refrigerant so cool air can flow again.
If you have an old system that uses R22 refrigerant, which is becoming scarce, adding more refrigerant can be a costly expense. Please contact us to check out all your options and see how much you could save with an upgrade to a high-efficiency system that uses environmentally friendly, less costly refrigerant.
Summer is just a whisker away (June 21) and no other fuel can do as much as propane can to make lounging in your backyard a relaxing and memorable experience.
With that said, here are five different ways propane can turn an average summer into a great one at your home.
- Grilling and Beyond. Propane grills light instantly, heat faster than charcoal, and emit less carbon monoxide and soot. For the sake of convenience, higher-end grills offer drawers, side burners, surface lighting and LED temperature displays. Many people are taking cooking to new levels by creating outdoor kitchen—adding cooktops, ovens and rotisseries to their deck or patio.
- More Power to You. A whole-house propane generator will not only keep the lights on during a summer power outage – it will also keep your air conditioning, medical equipment, sump pumps and security systems running.
- Midnight Swims. Nothing beats a cool dip on a hot day…except perhaps a warm dip on a cool evening! When you’re ready to wind down for the evening in your heated pool or spa, nothing does the job better than a propane pool heater. It will warm your pool water much faster—and at a lower cost—than an inefficient electric heater. Many propane pool heaters include sensors that shut off the unit if water temperatures rise above pre-set limits.
- Lounge on the Patio Anytime. Take the chill out of the night air with patio heaters and outdoor fireplaces, which can raise outdoor temperatures by as much as 30 degrees. Propane-fueled fire bowls also allow you to enjoy a cozy fire year-round without lugging around wood and cleaning up ashes afterward. A large fire pit can be used as a centerpiece for your yard, or you can set up a series of small ones at the entry of your home to wow your guests. Many models have ignition systems that can be turned on and off with a smartphone or tablet.
- Light the Way. Propane can be used to light all areas of your home’s exterior. Popular applications include propane-fueled tiki torches, which provide plenty of lighting and ambiance while eliminating the smell and residue created by oil-burning torches. Best of all, they will light the way for you in a power outage.
Discover all the ways you can use propane power and enjoy a wonderful summer. Contact us to learn more. Read more about propane here.
After a gloomy and cold spring, you’re probably looking forward to the few months of warm summer weather that’s ahead of us. Heating your home is probably the last thing on your mind.
But NOW is actually a great time to take care of the annual maintenance that’s recommended for your home heating system, whether you have a boiler, furnace or heat pump, or heat your home with oil, propane or natural gas.
Our service schedule fills up fast in the fall and we may not always be able to accommodate the time that’s most convenient for you. Fall storms and early cold snaps cause further complications because sometimes we have to cancel scheduled tune-up appointments so that we can respond to no-heat emergencies.
Annual maintenance on your heating system helps to maximize operating efficiency, improve your home’s comfort level, helps to prevent breakdowns and can save you money on fuel. A summer tune-up also allows us to detect and fix minor problems before they get the chance to turn into expensive and inconvenient repairs over the winter.
And don’t worry about getting a heating tune-up early; it won’t “wear off.”
Contact us today to request a heating system tune-up. We also recommend enrolling in a heating service plan before the cold weather returns. A service plan guarantees you an annual tune-up to prevent breakdowns, extend equipment life and cut energy costs by ensuring your system runs at peak efficiency. You will also save money with comprehensive repair coverage and rest easy with our promise of priority service should you ever have a no-heat emergency.
And if you think it’s time to replace your old heating system, now is also the time to get this done. You’ll have plenty of time to weigh your options and make an informed decision about a replacement system. Plus, you can save a lot of money with available manufacturer rebates. Go here to read more.
Your air conditioning equipment creates cold air by passing warm air over the indoor evaporator (cooling) coil. This causes condensation to form and flow off the coil. During normal operation, a cooling system produces large amounts of water from condensation.
Normally, the water exits through a drainage system. But if the drain line gets clogged, water backs up and spills over the drain pan, and into your house. If not detected right away, you could be faced with costly water damage. In a typical a/c system, about 27 gallons of water goes down the drain every day!
We can stop this from happening. When we do annual service on your a/c system, we’ll clean the coil and flush the condensation line to prevent dirt build-up in your system. A float switch can also be installed. This switch will automatically shut down your system if a drainage problem occurs.
If you haven’t had your a/c system checked and serviced yet this season, please contact us today to request an appointment.
Posted: May 26, 2017
Will my investment pay off? That’s a question everybody asks, whether they’re dabbling in the stock market or making home improvements, like investing in a new a/c system.
Today’s high efficiency systems are as much as 60% more efficient than the models of yesteryear. This will drastically lower your utility bills. And that’s why the purchase of a new system is an investment with a return, not just an expense.
But like any investment, you have to do some research to make sure you make smart decisions. Here are some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen people make with their a/c purchase.
- Overspending on efficiency. Sometimes it makes sense to spend extra for an ultra-high-efficiency system. Sometimes it is not worth the cost. It depends on your total usage and the trade-off between up-front cost and energy savings.
- Choosing the wrong contractor. It’s not the equipment but the quality of the installation that makes the biggest difference. You can invest in the best system in the world, but if your contractor installs it improperly, you will not get the comfort and savings you paid for. What’s more, it can be a nightmare to try to get contractors to stand behind what they sell.
- Not understanding all the options. The air conditioning experts at Wilson Oil and Propane can give you lots of different options for your budget and physical space. If you have more choices and good guidance, you are much more likely to live “comfortably ever after.”
Please contact us to request a FREE consultation and estimate on a new system. We can perform a complete comfort analysis of your home, talk with you about your needs—and your budget—and help you choose the right size and type of system.
We’ll then install it properly to ensure that your new system keeps your home more comfortable and costs less to operate than your old one. We’ll help you save even more by showing you how you can qualify for rebates and financing on new cooling systems.
Posted: May 22, 2017
Right from the start in 1926, our business has been dedicated to providing service at the highest level, offering our customers true value and real peace of mind. A big part of that means keeping the lines of communication open with our customers.
Of course, we are available to take your calls around the clock and we send a technician to your home quickly when it’s an emergency. But good communication also means keeping you up to date on all the ways we can help you save money and improve your energy efficiency without your having to sacrifice an ounce of comfort.
Our blog posts, email alerts, website, newsletter and Facebook page all represent our continued efforts to stay in touch with our valued customers.
You know you can count on us for reliable fuel deliveries, and many of our customers already appreciate our range of convenient payment options that keep bills manageable. We also install and repair heating and air conditioning equipment, and offer service plans, which help prevent breakdowns and provide valuable savings when problems do occur. We also offer innovative Aeroseal duct cleaning and a whole lot more.
As we all look forward to a much needed summer break, remember that we can help you stay cool during the warm weather, just as we keep you warm and safe during the cold months. If you haven’t had your a/c system checked and serviced yet, please contact us.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re always happy to hear from you!