Pre-Season AC Maintenance Tips

Before you know it, summer’s sweltering heat will be upon us. The last thing you want is for your air conditioning unit to give out on you during the hottest months of the year.

One way to avoid this is by being attentive to some of the basics of AC maintenance. There are a few specific steps you can take before the season even begins to make sure your unit functions at a peak level.

AC Maintenance Tips: What to Do Before Summer

Change Your AC Filters

One of the simplest things you can do to ensure the proper functioning of your AC unit is to replace the filters in your AC returns. Ideally, these should be changed out every month or so. If you haven’t changed yours recently, you’ll definitely want to do that before the summer season begins.

Clean Debris Away from Your Unit

If you have leaves or grass clippings that have accumulated around your unit, gently sweep them away, ensuring that you do not brush them into the unit itself. As you begin spring lawn care, make sure you avoid blowing any debris into your AC unit.

Make Sure Your Unit is Level

You will also want to double check that, if your AC is set on a slab, that slab is nice and level. If it’s obviously slanted, you’ll want to place a small piece of wood under the corner to correct it.

Check the Age of Your Unit

Today’s AC units typically last at least 10 years, maybe as many as 15. If your unit has been around for longer than that, you may wish to weigh the merits of simply replacing it now, rather than face the possibility of a sudden outage during the hottest months of summer.

Schedule an AC Maintenance Appointment

Schedule a pre-season maintenance  appointment, or give or give us a call at (910) 791-1988 today to learn more. We are excited to provide you with the solutions you require to live safely and comfortably.

Common A/C Problems and Solutions

Heating and air conditioning systems are complex units with a lot of moving parts that are tasked with performing under extreme temperatures. As a result, it should come as no surprise that HVAC systems can be prone to the occasional hiccup. 

The most common problems with HVAC units are listed below, along with the most likely solutions.

1. Dirty air filters

A dirty and clogged air filter is one of the most common problems people experience with their systems. A dirty filter makes it harder for air to flow through the unit which then forces it to work harder to achieve the same result. This in turn places undue strain on the blower and can shorten the lifespan of the critical parts, not to mention the increased energy bills you’ll experience in the meantime. 

The best solution for a dirty air filter is an easy one: change out your filters at least every 90 days. 

2. Blown fuses and tripped breakers

When the blower is overworked, it can cause a trip in the circuit breaker. This is done as a precautionary measure to prevent short circuits or damage to your electrical system due to an overload. 

Dirty filters, duct leaks or blocked air registers can all cause a system to work so hard that the circuit breaker trips. If you’ve been diligent about changing your air filters, you may need to call a professional to have your unit inspected to locate the source of the problem. 

3. Water leaks

HVAC systems produce condensation, which is then properly removed with drain pipes. If those pipes are clogged or leaky, you can end up with a build up of water where you don’t want it. Pouring bleach down the drain pipe can clean it and potentially unclog a dirty pipe, but a technician should otherwise be contacted in the event of a water leak. 

4. Dirty condenser or evaporator coils

Dirt can build up on your condenser and evaporator coils in the same way it can on your air filter. And just like a clogged up air filter, a dirty coil can reduce efficiency and force the system to work harder to do its job. 

Condenser coils are located outside the home and can be hosed off with water. Evaporator coils are located inside the home in the furnace and can be cleaned with a coil cleaning solution. 

5. Pilot or ignition problems

Pilot light or ignition switch faults can be caused by gas supply issues, wear and tear, or dirt in the pilot, flame sensor, or burners. Because they frequently include natural gas and high voltages, these issues are best left to professionals.

Wilmington Air Is Here For You

Wilmington Air has been providing professional AC maintenance services for more than a decade and is always on hand to assist with anything you need. We offer upfront pricing and are available 24 hours a day for emergency repairs. 
Schedule your appointment online or call us at (910) 791-1988 for a solution to your heating and air conditioning needs.

What to Expect When You Have Your HVAC Unit Replaced

If you are planning on having the HVAC system replaced in your home or business, you will want to know what to expect so that you can be properly prepared. Fortunately, HVAC system replacements are a fairly standard event and when handled by experts, you can easily predict how the process will go. The following information should help you to better understand what is going to happen.

Shut Down and Removal of the Existing System

One of the first things that will happen is that your existing system will need to be shut down and removed. This, of course, means that your heating and cooling will be offline. Depending on the size and complexity of your system, it may be offline for the entire day, or even longer. If the weather is very hot or very cold, it is important to plan for alternative methods of heating or cooling. If you need help planning this, don’t hesitate to talk to your HVAC specialist about your options.

Installation of New System

Once the old system is removed, it is time to start installing the new one. In some cases, this will simply mean putting the new HVAC system into the same location as the old one and hooking everything up. If you are replacing an older furnace with a new high efficiency furnace, however, it may also require the installation of PVC exhaust and other steps. Your HVAC technician can walk you through the specific steps that will be involved in the process, including whether any modifications to your home will be required.

Testing

Once the new system is fully installed, our team will run through a number of tests to make sure everything is working properly. They will also show you how to operate the new HVAC system, if there are any changes from your older system.

Contact Us with Questions

If you have any questions about your HVAC replacement, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Our experts are available 24/7 at (910) 791-1988 to help ensure your systems are working their best. You can also book an appointment online to get your HVAC system repaired, replaced, or inspected. 

Money-Saving Tips for Heating Your Home This Winter

We all like to keep warm and cozy in the winter time, but we don’t always enjoy opening those heating bills every month. Fortunately, heating your home doesn’t have to be so expensive and there are several easy tricks you can use to stay warm while saving money.

Saving Money While Heating Your Home

Seal cracks and crevices

A draft from outside allows the cold air in while letting your money escape. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal up any cracks or crevices around doors and windows where drafts of cold air may be seeping into your home. 

Welcome in sunlight

Many people fail to capture the natural heat generated by the sun. Leave curtains and blinds open on the south side of your home to let in sunlight and take advantage of the free heat. 

Switch your fan direction

This is a little-known trick that can make a big difference in the temperature of your home. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the direction in which their blades spin. Spinning the fan in the opposite direction pushes warm air back down and helps keep the room a little more comfortable. 

Cover your floors

An area rug with a thick pad underneath it can efficiently block hot air from escaping while offering something cozier to walk on than a chilled hardwood floor. 

Smarten your thermostat

A programmable or smart thermostat can improve the comfort of your home by making adjustments to the temperature on the fly and warming your home without needing input from you. Plus, it will save you money on your home energy bill.

Schedule a Checkup

When it comes to saving money while heating your home, efficiency is everything. Nearly one out of every three households in the U.S. have a heating system that’s over 15 years old, and homeowners lose bundles of money every year because of inefficient systems caused by leaks, faulty wiring, rusted-out parts and more. Any of these things can force your unit to work harder than it should to heat your home and run up your energy bill as a result. 
Schedule a checkup with the team at Wilmington Air so we can inspect your heating system and diagnose and repair any issues. We are the leading providers of HVAC service in Wilmington, NC and work with all types of systems including furnace repair. If you’re searching for “HVAC maintenance near me,” you’ll find the best with Wilmington Air. Contact us today so we can help you save money while staying warm.

Get Your HVAC Ready for Winter

The weather is changing, and that means it’s also time to make some changes to your HVAC maintenance strategy. Due to shifting temperatures, each new season requires its own steps for homeowners to get their heating and cooling system ready. Below is a great beginner’s checklist for prepping your HVAC for winter. 

  1. Change the filters. You’ll be running the system a lot in the winter, and clean filters will maximize performance while keeping your energy bills at a minimum.

  2. Test the thermostat. It’s a good idea to make sure your thermostat is in good working order before the cold sets in.

  3. Test the ignitor switch. No ignitor switch, no heat. Test yours every year whether it’s a pilot light or an electronic ignitor.

  4. Run the heat a couple of times before the cold weather sets in. Don’t wait until it’s too late to learn that your heat isn’t working properly.

  5. Clear any leaves or other debris from your outdoor unit. Falling leaves and twigs can accumulate around your unit in the fall, leading to a performance lag in winter.

Schedule Your Winter Check-up

The best thing you can do to get your HVAC ready for winter is to schedule a preventive maintenance check-up from professionals like the team at Wilmington Air. Preventive HVAC maintenance is key to long-lasting performance and long-term savings. Our expert technicians will conduct a 15-point inspection to identify any problems before the cold weather sets in and you need the system the most. 

Wilmington Air is your source for HVAC repair and maintenance near Wilmington, NC. Schedule your tune-up today to stay warm this winter. 

Five Benefits of Frequently Changing Your Air Filters

It’s typically recommended to change the air filters in your home once every 90 days or so. But why is it important to change your filters so frequently and what are the benefits of doing so?

Below are five benefits of frequently changing your air filters.

1. Improved Air Quality

The air in your home is only as clean as the filters in your HVAC system. The filter’s job is to trap pollen, dust, mold spores, animal hair, and various other particles that affect air quality. The more particles that are trapped by the filter, the more clogged up the filter becomes and the less efficient it becomes at cleaning the air. 

2. Lower Energy Bills

When an air filter accumulates a lot of particles and debris, airflow becomes more restricted. That in turn forces the system to work harder to blow the treated air through the clogged filter, which results in a higher energy bill at the end of the month. According to the Department of Energy, you can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15% just by keeping your air filters clean.

An air filter only costs a few bucks at your local hardware store or major retailers like Walmart. Spending a few bucks every three months for a fresh filter more than outweighs the energy savings you will get in return with a more efficient system. 

3. Longer Lifespan

When an HVAC is forced to work harder to move air through clogged filters, it places additional strain on the system. This additional strain can shorten the overall life of the system. An HVAC can be a costly purchase, so frequently changing your air filters can pay dividends down the road by helping you get more years out of your HVAC.

4. Fewer Repairs 

Just as an overworked HVAC system can experience a shorter lifespan, it can also encounter more trouble along the way. Dirty or worn air filters can lead to a number of problems, many of which can be costly and all of which can be avoided by simply changing the air filter on a more frequent basis. 

5. Better Performance

Clean air filters help your HVAC system more efficiently treat and circulate higher quality air which in turn helps you better achieve your preferred air temperature throughout your home. That’s the purpose of any HVAC system, and frequently changed air filters help make it possible. 

Change Your Filter and Reap the Benefits

Changing your air filter is quite easy. Start by opening the grille to check which size filter you need. The size will be printed on the edge of the filter. Before removing the filter, take note of which direction it’s facing as each side of the filter is different. Many filters will have arrows on the edges indicating which direction faces out. 

Once you have the correct size, simply remove the old filter, position the new one in place and close up the grille. 
Schedule an appointment with Wilmington Air to get the most out of your HVAC system. Our preventative maintenance services include a 15-point inspection each spring and fall to identify problems before they arise and optimize the performance of your unit.  Wilmington Air is your solution for A/C maintenance in Wilmington, NC.

AC Failure Warning Signs

It’s usually pretty obvious when your air conditioning unit stops working, especially when it happens on a hot summer afternoon. However, you don’t have to wait until you’re covered in sweat to recognize that your system could use some repairs. Below are five warning signs of a failing AC unit to look out for so you can schedule a tuneup before having to change your shirt. 

AC Failure Warning Signs

Keep your eye out for any of the following warning signs of an AC failure. 

Warm or weak airflow

It sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be easy not to notice that the air coming out of your vents is not cooled. Thankfully, this may be indicative of a simple problem with an easy fix, such as a clogged filter or low levels of refrigerant. 

Sometimes the air coming from the vents may be cold, but the flow is very weak. Poor airflow is usually a sign of a leak or a buildup of debris in your filter or vents. Whatever the culprit, you may have a hard time cooling your living space until it’s addressed. 

Strange noises

A well-working AC unit should be mostly quiet. If you hear scraping or squealing noises coming from your AC unit, one of its parts may be knocked out of place or in need of lubrication. Even if you can tolerate the noise, the AC unit should still be serviced as an untreated issue could lead to more costly repairs down the road. 

Odd smells

A musty smell coming from your AC unit can indicate mold or fungus growth and presents a health hazard to anyone in the home. A burning smell can mean a wiring or insulation problem and pose a fire hazard. It’s also not uncommon for a deceased animal to turn up in a duct. Any odd smells coming from your vents or unit should be inspected by a professional immediately.

Leakage

If you notice any moisture leaking around your AC system, it should be looked at right away. Refrigerant is a hazardous substance and any exposure can be extremely dangerous. Even if the moisture turns out to just be water, it still indicates a problem with the unit that needs repairing. 

Increased bills

One sure sign of a failing AC unit is a sudden increase in your electricity bills with no increase in use. This indicates that your system is now working harder than it should to achieve the same results and is often due to a leak or clog.

Schedule Your AC Appointment  

If you notice any of the above warning signs with your AC unit, schedule an appointment with our team to get your AC maintenance done today. Our highly-skilled technicians have served Wilmington and the surrounding communities with our HVAC repairs for more than 10 years and will provide you with an easy-to-understand proposal and get your system running like new again. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you’re in need of AC repair in Wilmington, beat the heat with Wilmington Air. 

Why Outdoor HVAC Units Ice Over and How to Address It

An outdoor HVAC unit is left exposed to all sorts of elements, such as rain, dirt, debris, leaves, insects, critters, and more. One of the more challenging obstacles to any outdoor system is ice.

Below are the four most common reasons why an outdoor unit might accumulate ice and how to address the problem. 

Why Ice Accumulates on HVAC Units and What to Do About It

Reason #1: 

A dirty air filter. A clogged or dirty filter can restrict air movement, leading to the evaporator coil becoming so cold that moisture from the air freezes on the line.

The fix: Replace your air filter. Then, turn your system off, but turn the fan to “on” so the evaporator coil can defrost. It may take a few hours, but you’ll know it’s been fully defrosted when the air coming out of the vents has returned to normal. 

Reason #2:

A leak in the copper line caused by corrosion has led to a drop in the refrigerant level. This in turn drops the temperature of the evaporator coil so low it freezes over.

The fix: Call on a professional to locate the leak and discuss some options for how to fix it. 

Reason #3:

A faulty blower not generating enough warm air to stop the evaporator coil from freezing up.

The fix: Listen for the blower. If it’s not running, call a professional to investigate further. 

Reason #4:

Debris has accumulated on the evaporator coil and is impeding the flow of warm air needed to prevent ice formation on the coil.

The fix: Call on a professional to clean the coil. 

Keep Ice Away With Preventive Maintenance

An effective way of keeping ice off your HVAC system is to have preventive maintenance performed on a regular basis. Every spring and fall we offer our 15-point inspection for residents in the Wilmington, NC, area to help keep units clear of debris, leaks, and faulty parts that can cause ice to form. Schedule an appointment online or contact us at (910) 791-1988 to learn more about our preventive HVAC maintenance.

How to Fix a Blank Thermostat

The temperature in your home feels a bit uncomfortable so you walk to your thermostat for an adjustment. But when you get there, the screen is blank. 

If you’re puzzled by a blank thermostat, we’re here to help you fix it.

Causes of a Blank Thermostat

A blank thermostat can be caused by a couple of different things. One cause could be a faulty screen, which is typically evident when your HVAC system is running smoothly but the thermostat screen is blank. 

Another cause could be a power failure, which will usually be obvious and cause your system to shut down and not turn back on.

But perhaps the most common cause for a blank thermostat screen is actually just a clogged drain. 

How Does a Clogged Drain Cause the Thermostat to Go Blank?

Your HVAC system pulls moisture from the air inside your home, and some of it condenses into water and collects in a drain pan that is then routed outside the home. 

The drain can become clogged with algae and debris if not properly maintained. And when this happens, the water gets backed up and the level rises which in turn activates the overflow safety switch that kills the power and causes your thermostat to go blank.  

How to Fix a Clogged Drain and Restore Your Thermostat

The first thing to do is remove the standing water in your drain pan using a shop-vac. Once enough water is removed and the water level drops, power should be restored to your thermostat. 

Then take the shop-vac outside the home where the water drains out of a pvc pipe and use the shop-vac to remove water and debris from the pipe. You will likely see a rush of backed up water come out of the pipe once the shop-vac loosens the clog. This should restore proper function to your HVAC system. 

What If the Thermostat Is Still Blank?

If your thermostat is still blank or the HVAC system is not working properly after unclogging the drain, there may be another issue and it might be time to call in a professional for help. We offer HVAC repair and maintenance and have been serving the Wilmington, NC area for more than 10 years.

Book your service appointment online and our expert technicians will get your thermostat and HVAC system working like new again.

How to Install a Thermostat Correctly

At some point, most homeowners will be tasked with replacing a thermostat. Maybe the original one finally gave out or perhaps you’ve decided to upgrade to a Smart or programmable thermostat. 

Whatever the case may be, it’s important you install your new thermostat correctly in order to get the optimal performance from your HVAC system. 

Installing a Thermostat

Follow the steps below to install your thermostat correctly. 

1. Purchase the correct thermostat

A thermostat is not a one-size-fits-all product. If your outdoor unit runs both hot and cold air into your home, you have a heat pump system. If your outdoor unit only brings in cold air and you have a furnace that takes care of the hot air, you have a straight cooling system. 

Different systems require different thermostats, so be sure you buy the appropriate one for your home. 

2. Turn off the power

Locate the correct switch in your circuit breaker to turn off the electricity that is powering your thermostat. 

3. Remove thermostat

Use a screwdriver to unscrew and detach the thermostat from the base. Before you unhook any wires, write down which wires are going into which terminal. Better yet, take a picture of the wiring using a camera phone so you can reference it in the next step. 

Once the thermostat is unhooked from the wires, you may remove the base from the wall. 

4. Install the new base

Screw the base of your new thermostat into the wall and thread the wires through the holes in the base. 

5. Wire the new thermostat

Attach the wires coming out of the wall to the new thermostat using your notes or picture as a guide. Some thermostats use a backup battery, so if applicable you may want to insert the battery before completing any wiring. 

6. Attach thermostat to base

Now it’s time to attach the thermostat to the wall-mounted base. Some thermostats might screw into the base while others will simply click into place. 

7. Restore power and program

Turn the circuit breaker back on to restore power to your new thermostat. If it’s a programmable one, consult the user manual that came with it to program the settings. 

Call on Wilmington Air for Help

If you have any trouble installing your thermostat or encounter any other problems with your HVAC system, call on the experienced and highly-trained professionals at Wilmington Air. We provide round-the-clock HVAC repair and maintenance and can have your new thermostat up and running in no time. 

Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment and enjoy your new thermostat.