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.  

How to Save on Air Conditioning This Summer: 5 Tips

Did you know that air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average home energy bill? And that number could be even higher in Wilmington, NC, thanks to the particularly hot and humid summers. 

But there are some ways to keep your electric bill down without the temperature going up. Below are 5 ways to save money on your air conditioning expenses this summer. 

5 Steps to Lowering Your A/C Costs

1. Cover your windows

It’s nice to let some natural light into the room, but it also lets the heat in at the same time. Keep your windows covered with curtains or blinds during the hottest part of the day, especially any windows on the sun-side of your house. 

2. Plant some trees

Heat creeps into the house through the roof and walls. But planting some tall trees or shrubs near the house can shade the areas where the sun is normally shining. Planting trees may require more of an investment upfront but will pay dividends once those trees are providing enough shade to cool your house naturally and allow you to turn down the air conditioner. 

3. Install ceiling fans

The cost to run a ceiling fan at full speed is minimal in comparison to an air conditioner. Moving air helps evaporate sweat from the skin and is cooler than stagnant air. Installing and running numerous ceiling fans throughout the house will allow you to take it easier on the air conditioner. 

4. Get a smart thermostat

A lot of money is lost when homeowners run the air conditioner when they aren’t home. Nobody likes coming home to a sweltering house, but keeping the unit running when nobody is there is not exactly efficient. 

A smart thermostat can save you a significant amount of money on your air conditioning bill by programming it to only turn on at certain times of the day when you expect to be on your way home, and many can even be controlled remotely with your smartphone. 

5. Place your thermostat on the correct wall

A thermostat located on an exterior wall or near a window can register higher temperatures and therefore kick on the air conditioning prematurely or more frequently. Your thermostat should be positioned on an interior wall away from any outside doors or windows. Don’t place it anywhere that receives direct sunlight in order to read the indoor air temperature accurately. 

Have Your Air Conditioner Serviced

The above tips are all helpful ways to save on air conditioning this summer. But the single biggest culprit of large air conditioning expenses is an inefficient unit. When an air conditioner is not working properly, it’s forced to work harder. And the harder it has to work, the higher your electric bill ends up being. 

A great way to save money on air conditioning every summer is to have your system inspected and tuned up every spring. Our HVAC repair and maintenance includes a 15-point inspection to make sure your system is working efficiently and minimizing your energy output. 
Schedule an appointment with Wilmington Air today to get your air conditioner — and your wallet — primed for summer.

Get Your AC Unit Ready for Summer With Repair in Wilmington

Today’s preparation means a cooler, more comfortable tomorrow in Wilmington, North Carolina. We’re talking about AC repair, and we’ve got a few things in mind to help you get ready for summertime. 

Ready to beat the summer heat? Continue reading to learn more. 

How To Prep Your AC Unit for Summer

Clean and check the filters

Once you’ve successfully disconnected the power to the condenser, take a look at the filters. These filters not only act as the first line of defense against indoor pollutants, but they also directly impact the efficiency and longevity of your AC unit. 

If a filter appears salvageable, use a vacuum hose to remove as much dust and debris as you can. Then, take the filters to the sink and gently wash them using one part water and one part white vinegar before rinsing with clean water and laying them in the sun to dry. 

If there is visible damage to the filter, then it will need to be replaced. This process is fairly simple: Just follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Clean the coils and fan

Most AC units are located outside. Often, these units are covered during the winter, in which case very little maintenance will be required. If not, however, the open grates on the sides of the unit will allow dust and debris to build up on the fan as well as the condenser coils. 

Using a soft brush vacuum attachment, gently clean the coils and fan taking special care not to bend anything out of place. If you see any debris at the base of the condenser, be sure to remove it and check that the drain (if applicable) is clear of any obstruction. If there is grime on the blades of the fan, simply wipe them down using a damp cloth. 

Inspect the insulation

Coolant lines run from the air handler to the condenser and should be covered with a layer of insulation to combat against extreme temperature changes. Typically a foam coolant line insulation sleeve and insulation tape are used to protect these lines. 

Take a look at these lines and replace any insulation that appears damaged or missing as soon as possible to protect the lines from unwanted exposure. 

Give the AC a test run 

The most important step to ensure your AC unit is ready for summer is to power it up and make sure everything works as expected. 

Once the AC unit dries off and the air filters have been replaced, switch the power breaker back on and switch the thermostat to cool to ensure there are no surprises. 

Schedule an HVAC Inspection in Wilmington, NC

Of course, not everyone is the DIY type. Remove the guesswork from the equation by scheduling a 15-point HVAC inspection with Wilmington Air. We provide top rated HVAC services in Wilmington, NC. Schedule your service appointment today. 

Common HVAC Issues And How to Troubleshoot Them

When trouble arises with your HVAC unit, it’s typically best to call on the professionals for help. But there are a few common problems you may be able to address yourself. 

HVAC problems can be put into one of three categories: no air, weak air, or inconsistent air. Below are some troubleshooting actions for some of the more common HVAC issues to help you diagnose or even fix problems before calling the team at Wilmington Air for help. 

The 3 Most Common HVAC Issues

No Air

If your HVAC system won’t turn on, check the power source. Hopefully it’s as simple as the cord becoming unplugged. Inspect it for damage caused by moving furniture or pests. And if the unit has a built-in circuit breaker, reset it and try to power the system on again. 

If you still don’t have any luck, plug something else into the same outlet and turn that device on to determine if the problem is the outlet or your HVAC system. 

Weak Air

One common problem with HVAC units is a weak flow of hot or cold air. A dirty and clogged up filter is often to blame, so the first thing you should do is check or change the air filters in your house. It’s recommended that these filters be changed every 60-90 days

If a fresh filter doesn’t do the trick, the problem may be present in the motor, fan blade, or compressor and may require a professional set of eyes. 

Inconsistent Air

Sometimes a faulty HVAC unit will heat or cool the house inconsistent with the desired settings. This can often be an issue with the thermostat. Thermostats run on batteries, so first try checking the battery connecting points for dust or corrosion before then replacing the battery altogether. 

Let the Professionals Step In

If you’ve exhausted your troubleshooting options and the problems with your HVAC unit persist, it may be time to call in some professional help. At Wilmington Air, we offer the HVAC repair and maintenance expertise that can go above and beyond simple troubleshooting to restore your system to its proper working order. 

Schedule your service appointment today and let our team of expert technicians help you find some comfort in your home again.