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Ways to Take the Strain Off Your Central Air System

A properly functioning air conditioning system makes it easy for all of us to stay cool at an affordable cost. But it’s easy to make mistakes along the way that could cost you money, especially when we’re trying to muddle through a stifling heat wave like the one we recently experienced.

With that in mind, here are some tips from our air conditioning experts to help everything run more smoothly for the rest of the cooling season.

Don’t Be Impatient

Some people turn off their cooling system when everyone leaves the house for the day. When they get back home, especially on a hot day, they will turn the thermostat down as low as possible to speed up the cooling process.

But this won’t cool your house any faster! In fact, it just keeps your system working longer than necessary and will actually cost you money, especially if you forget to reset the thermostat to an energy-saver mode.

The best advice is to program your thermostat at a set level and leave your system on, even when you’re out of the house for the day. For most people, a comfortable temperature ranges between 76-79 degrees.

If you haven’t done so already, you should consider upgrading to a wireless smart thermostat. This lets you view and change temperature settings, check indoor humidity levels, and more, all from your smartphone. You can even receive alerts when you’re away from home to let you know if there is a sudden or drastic change in temperature or humidity that could indicate an equipment breakdown.

Don’t Obstruct Your Outdoor Condenser

Don’t block your outside air conditioning unit with plants, shrubs, or other objects. Make sure there is 18-30 inches of clear space around the unit to allow it to “breathe.”

This helps it run more efficiently. Don’t stack anything on top of the unit either, like garden hoses or landscaping tools and products. When mowing the lawn, position the mower away from the condenser. This will help you prevent grass clippings and other debris from getting blown into your system and reducing its efficiency.

Don’t Ignore Your A/C System

Over time, dirt and debris build up inside a system, lowering efficiency. Not only will your home become uncomfortable, but you will also spend a lot more money on electric bills. You also risk a costly repair and the loss of your manufacturer’s equipment warranty, which can be voided if a proper maintenance schedule is not followed.

That’s why we always recommend that you schedule air conditioning maintenance service with us in the spring—before it gets too hot. We also highly recommend investing in an air conditioning service plan, which covers the cost of your annual maintenance and provides coverage for common repairs.

On your own, you should change or clean the air filter on a regular basis during the cooling season to keep your system running as efficiently as possible.

Take a Load Off Your System

You can take some of the pressure off your cooling system by running ceiling fans when your air conditioning system is on. This will move cool air more efficiently around your home, creating a wind chill effect. Using ceiling fans allow you to keep your home comfortable at higher room temperatures.

If you’re having problems with your air conditioning system, feel free to contact us. We’re always available to help solve a problem for our customers,

Ready to Replace Your Old A/C System?

If your equipment isn’t keeping up any longer, talk with us about replacing it. A new high-efficiency system could cut your cooling costs in half—and eliminate the expense and annoyance of breakdowns—while keeping your home more comfortable, no matter how hot it gets.

Our cooling experts can evaluate your needs and help you choose a cooling system that’s the right size for your home.

Go here if you would like to become a Wilson customer.

Weak Airflow, Unusual Smells, and Other Problems

If you have taken care of getting your annual maintenance done on your central air conditioning system, chances are good you will be able to keep your cool even when Mother Nature throws us some high heat.

But if you never got around to getting your A/C tune-up done, you may experience various problems that could compromise your comfort. To help you be aware that there is trouble brewing, our service department has put together these 10 signs that let you know you should schedule a service call with us. Our cooling technician will diagnose and fix the problem as soon as possible.

  1. The A/C unit is on but blowing warm air – If the air that’s coming out of your vents is warm, it’s usually a sign that your A/C is either low on refrigerant or having a problem with its compressor.
  2. The airflow is weak – If not enough air is coming out of your vents, it is often a sign that either the compressor is failing or that you have a duct leak; either way, it means less comfort and higher bills for you.
  3. Your air conditioner is “short cycling” – If your air conditioner runs for short lengths of time and then shuts off before completing a full cooling cycle, it’s working harder than it should to keep you cool. The reasons for this vary: there may be problems with the electrical system, the refrigerant may be low, the air filter may be clogged, etc. An inspection by our cooling technician can provide the answer.
  4. Your home is cool but too humid – Air conditioners are designed to not only lower the temperature of your home but dehumidify it too. If your home air usually feels cool but remains too humid, there’s a problem. There are a number of possible reasons for this, but the main cause is usually an oversized air conditioner. In other words, a system that is too big and powerful for your home. It operates fast enough to cool your home, but not long enough to draw out the humid air. Contact us for a solution.
  5. Strange sounds – Unusual sounds – including grinding, scraping and squealing – usually indicate that there is a worn or loose part somewhere in your cooling system. Serious air conditioning repairs are on the horizon if you don’t take care of this problem quickly.
  6. Unusual smells – An electrical smell often means that wire insulation has burned out somewhere in your A/C system; a musty smell could mean you have moldy ductwork.
  7. Water or refrigerant leaks – Liquid around your A/C unit could indicate a serious problem – a refrigerant leak, for example, or a clogged condensate drain that causes water to back up in your home.
  8. Higher electric bills – Higher than average bills can result from problems ranging from duct leaks to a faulty thermostat – and everything in between.
  9. Frequent repairs– If you’ve been calling for repairs the last few years, you’re probably overdue for an A/C replacement system. You’ll eliminate annual repairs right away, reduce your energy bill and not have to worry about anything beyond routine maintenance for years to come.
  10. Your A/C system is past retirement age. – Today’s air conditioners typically last 12 to 15 years. Towards the end of its lifecycle, your air conditioner will start to drop in efficiency, especially if it has not been properly maintained. By investing in a new, high-efficiency HVAC system, you will eventually save enough to offset the cost of your equipment. In the meantime, you’ll get a home cooling system that performs better, runs more reliably, and is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.

Are you seeing any of these signs with your home air conditioner? Contact us today to schedule A/C service. And don’t worry. If your A/C breaks down during a hot summer day and you have one of our air conditioning service plans, you will receive priority emergency service, along with savings on repairs.

Improve Your Indoor Air & Lower Energy Costs

If you have a forced-air system, it’s easy to overlook the importance of your air ducts. But the fact remains that your duct system plays a critical role in keeping your home comfortable and your annual energy costs under control

Let’s start with the basics. Your warm-air furnace or central air conditioning system pushes heated or cooled air through the network of air ducts built inside your home so they can reach their exit point: the air vents or registers.

However, if parts of your ductwork deteriorate and start leaking air, harmful pollutants can get distributed through your home. Besides causing poor indoor air quality, ductwork that’s in disrepair will lower the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, increasing your energy costs by as much as 30%. Your home will also not feel as comfortable as it should be.

Our Solution: Aeroseal Duct Sealing

At Wilson Oil and Propane, we have a proven method to repair leaky ductwork. The Aeroseal process we use is designed to seal the leaks in your duct system—even the ones hidden behind walls and under your home’s insulation. These hidden areas account for about 90% of your total ductwork.

Aeroseal has been used in thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, and government installations throughout the country and the world. The process usually takes less than one day to complete and we will provide you with a “Certificate of Completion” that illustrates the before and after results.

Experience the Benefits of Duct Sealing

Once your ducts are properly sealed, you will save more than just money on energy costs. You will also improve:

  • your comfort: sealing and insulating ducts can help you keep a consistent temperature throughout your home–in any season.
  • your health: sealing ducts can reduce the circulation of fumes, allergens, and other pollutants drawn from inside and outside your home, minimizing allergy, asthma and other respiratory problems.
  • your safety: your gas appliances (water heaters, clothes dryers, furnaces, etc.) can emit carbon monoxide and other gases as they operate. Leaky ductwork can cause backdrafting– which means toxic gases get drawn back into your living space. Duct sealing reduces that risk.

By sealing your ducts, you will also reduce the amount of energy needed to heat or cool your home–and the emissions that come from generating that energy.

Wilson Oil and Propane is an authorized dealer for Aeroseal duct sealing. This advanced technology is considered by most experts to be the premier method for sealing ducts available today!

How Do I Get Started?

Please take our brief Comfort Survey so we can learn a little more about any problems you may be having.

We will then contact you and arrange for a FREE duct leakage inspection before scheduling your duct sealing service. During our home performance evaluation, we pressure test your ductwork to calculate duct leakage. We can then tackle those leaks with Aeroseal and close the leaks that we can’t even see! On average, we’ve been able to reduce air leakage by up to 90% through the Aeroseal process. The Aeroseal product is entirely non-toxic and comes with a 10-year warranty.

If you have further questions about Aeroseal, or you would like to set up a duct leakage inspection right away, please reach out to us today.

The People You Can Trust

Wilson Oil & Propane is the company that people in the Delaware Valley area of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey can depend on for expert maintenance or repair of heating and cooling systems.

We have professional technicians who can handle anything from annual maintenance (tune-ups) to emergency heating and cooling system repairs to top-notch equipment replacement.

We’ll be happy to answers any questions you have about your HVAC system or indoor air quality.

The Magic of Creating Cool Air

Most people think that their central air conditioning system just delivers cool air into the home, but, in fact, it does double duty. To keep your home comfortable, it also needs to pull the heat out of the home too. Here’s how it all happens.

  • Within your A/C system are two coils – an evaporator coil (located inside your house) and a condenser coil (located outside your house).
  • Traveling within and between these coils is refrigerant – a chemical that has the ability to change from a liquid to a gas very quickly, quickly transferring heat in the process.
  • Passing along the indoor evaporator coil, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the surrounding indoor air, leaving cooled air behind for redistribution to your house.
  • Meanwhile, the refrigerant – now a warm gas, thanks to the heat it has drawn from your air – travels to the outdoor unit, where the condenser coil squeezes all the heat out of the refrigerant, turning it back into a liquid.
  • The compressor’s fan then pushes the heat it has gathered into the outdoor air, while the cool liquid is recycled and sent back to perform its heat transfer duties once again.

These are just the basic principles. The process is a little more complicated than that – which is why you need a professional cooling technician to service your home A/C unit every year to make sure your equipment keeps working properly.

When Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

If you think you’re spending too much money on repairs or your electric costs keep climbing every summer, consider replacing your central cooling system. The performance and reliability of central air equipment typically deteriorate after 15 years (sooner if maintenance has been neglected).

Over time, federal energy requirements have led to major improvements in residential air conditioning equipment. The result: dramatically higher efficiency ratings, much lower energy costs, and minimal need for repairs. New cooling equipment also uses environmentally friendly refrigerant instead of the harmful and expensive R-22, which is no longer being manufactured.

Our air conditioning experts 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.

Contact us today to request a free estimate. Read more about air conditioning.

What to Do and What Not to Do

Without question, propane is one of the safest fuels you can use in and around your Delaware Valley home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your propane gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required.

Facts About Propane

To help guide you through a summer that will be safe and comfortable, we share these tips from the Propane Education and Research Council.

  • Propane smells like rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Propane manufacturers add this smell to help alert consumers to propane leaks. If you have someone living in your household with a diminished sense of smell (elderly relative, etc.), look into purchasing a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security. Please visit our Propane Safety page to learn more about what to do if you suspect a gas leak.
  • When appliances operate properly, propane burns with a blue flame. If you see yellow flames—or notice significant amounts of soot on any equipment–the gas may not be burning completely. This can create carbon monoxide. Contact us for maintenance service if you notice a yellow flame or soot on your appliances.
  • If you need to move an appliance, speak with us first for advice. This is not a do-it-yourself task—you may inadvertently damage the gas connector. Older connectors can easily crack if twisted, which can lead to a gas leak.
  • Any time you disconnect and then reconnect an appliance, a gas leak test must be performed to ensure that the fittings are secure. For the sake of safety, if you are renovating or otherwise need to move your gas appliances, again, please speak with us first.
  • Regularly check the outdoor vents of your appliances to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Insects, birds, and small animals have been known to build nests in vent pipes. To prevent any damage, use a broom or a soft brush to gently remove any obstructions you find in your vents.

More Tips to Be Safe at Home

  • Make sure that carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are installed on every level of your home, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for placement and maintenance. Test your CO detectors every year, and replace batteries at the beginning of each heating season (you should replace the whole CO detector every five or 10 years, depending on the unit you have).
  • If you have a propane backup generator, make sure it has enough fuel to run for at least a week in the event of a power outage. Run your generator periodically to make sure it is operating properly. This will also help critical moving parts remain lubricated.
  • Never store portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
  • Never use outdoor propane equipment (grills, portable generators, etc.) indoors. Carbon monoxide (CO) from these devices is a dangerous and potentially deadly hazard.

You can go here to review more propane safety tips.

This Is an Expensive Problem If You Have R-22

Do you feel warm air blowing from your vents when your air conditioning system is operating? Have you noticed frost or ice forming on your outside central air conditioner lines?

These are classic signs that an A/C unit may be low on refrigerant. If the refrigerant level is low, that means it’s slowly leaking out of your system. And that’s an expensive problem if you have an older system. Here’s why.

Refrigerant is what your system uses to transfer heat from inside your home to the outdoor compressor. R22, the main refrigerant used in older A/C systems, has been replaced with a refrigerant called R-410A that is not harmful to the ozone layer.

Because of this, adding R22 to your system has become a tremendous hassle. First, it’s very hard to find this obsolete refrigerant because it’s not being manufactured any longer. As the supply of this outdated product continues to dwindle, its price becomes more and more expensive.

Why Does My A/C Refrigerant Leak?

The outdoor portion of your cooling system experiences wear and tear from the elements, which eventually results in a leak. Often, refrigerant leaks are not easy to detect (as you would be able to do with a water leak). When we do our annual tune-up and inspection, our cooling technician will always check the level of refrigerant to be sure your system will perform properly throughout the summer.

Sensing Other A/C Problems

Besides a refrigerant leak, there are a lot of other problems that can cause your A/C system to perform poorly. Most problems are accompanied by something you either see, hear, smell or feel.

If you notice any of the AC symptoms outlined below, please contact us. Ignoring the problem can only lead to more severe damage—and a more expensive repair.

  • You can feel there is very little cool air blowing out from your vents.
  • You can hear loud, strange noises coming from your air conditioning system.
  • You smell strange odors when the A/C starts up.
  • You see a pool of water around your indoor unit.

Be Cool, Contact Us Today

Call on the experts at Wilson Oil and Propane to solve problems and make sure your A/C unit is working at its best for the rest of summer. We have more than 50 years of experience providing air conditioning service in the Delaware Valley in Pennsylvania, New Castle County in Delaware and Gloucester and Salem counties in New Jersey. Read more.

Please reach out to us today and we’ll be happy to help.

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Ways to Take the Strain Off Your Central Air System A properly functioning air conditioning system makes it easy for all of us to stay cool at an affordable cost. But it’s easy to make mistakes along the way that could cost you money, especially when we’re trying to muddle through a stifling heat wave like the one we recently experienced. With that in mind, here are some tips from our air conditioning experts to help everything run more smoothly for the rest of the cooling season. Don’t Be Impatient Some people turn off their cooling system when everyone leaves […]
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