TECH TALK

Here, you will find answers to several technical topics that affect air conditioning and heating systems in Panama City, Panama City Beach, and the surrounding areas. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to contact us with your question. Like we say, talking doesn't cost anything.


What causes a unit to freeze and form ice on the copper lines?
An air conditioning system freezing up is normally caused by one of two common problems--either the unit is low on freon, or there is an airflow problem such as a dirty air filter or blocked evaporator coil. Although there are a couple of other scenarios that can cause a unit to freeze-up and form ice, these are the most common.

What does my unit being "low on freon" mean?
If your air conditiong and heating system is low on freon, most times it means you have a freon leak somewhere in the system. In the case that you just had a brand new system installed, the installer could have either left a freon leak or could have left the system undercharged with freon.

How do you fix a freon leak?
First and foremost, it's vital to find all of the freon leaks. Once a freon leak has been found, the repair could be as simple as tightening a cap or valve that may be leaking. Or, the solution could be more complicated such as requiring the leak be soldered up, or a leaking component replaced.

How do you find freon leaks?
There are several different methods used today. Most Air Conditioning Companies use either electronic leak scanners or a flourescent dye system, which pinpoints freon leaks with a dye.

When the temperature outside is extremely cold, my outdoor Heat Pump makes strange noises and I see smoke rising from the unit. What is that?
You just described what happens when a Heat Pump goes into the Defrost Mode. The noises you here are the reversing valve switching the direction the freon is flowing. Most of the time, the noises resemble hissing, clanging, grinding, and may sound like the unit is falling apart. The outdoor fan stops spinning, the compressor continues operating, and the unit begins putting off steam/smoke. Don't worry, all of this is the normal operation of the Heat Pump.

Why does a Heat Pump have a Defrost Mode?
Because ice will form on the Heat Pump's condenser coil(outdoor coil) when the outdoor temperature drops below 32 degrees, due to condensation that forms on the coil during normal operation. When the condensation freezes, the ice will prevent the Heat Pump from operating normally and efficiently. The Defrost Mode will melt the ice and help the Heat Pump work normal and more efficient.

My furnace is leaking water--what should I do?
If your furnace or air handling unit is leaking water, most likely the drainline is stopped up. This is a common occurence here on the Gulf Coast due to the heat and humidity we experience. The solution requires the drainline to be cleared out and cleaned. Although not an extensively technical procedure, if you're unsure about clearing the drainline yourself, you should contact a professional.

Is there anything I can do to prevent drainline blockages?
Yes. One very simple solution is to pour about 1/4 cup of bleach into the drainpan or drainline every 2-3 months. The bleach will kill the algae that forms in the drainline and help keep the line clean and clear. Putting a "T" in the drainline provides easy access for pouring bleach into the drainline.

How often should I clean my air filter?
We recommend every 30-45 days. Even a light coat of dust will affect the efficiency and performance of air conditioning and heating equipment.

How often, and why, should I have my air conditioning and heating equipment maintenanced?
Many people fail to realize that air conditioning and heating equipment is mechanical equipment, which means there are moving parts that require routine maintenance. With Panama City, Panama City Beach, and other areas of the Emerald Coast experiencing a caustic environment due to "salt air" from the Gulf of Mexico, we recommend having routine maintenance performed on your air conditioning and heating system twice a year(every 6 months). Most manufacturers of air conditioning and heating equipment require their equipment be maintenanced at least once a year in order for the warranty to be valid(read your manufacturer's warranty information to see their requirements). If you live directly on the beach, you may want to consider having your air conditioning and heating system maintenanced more frequently, such as every 3-4 months.

What is the advantage of having routine maintenance performed on my air conditioning and heating system?
Several advantages are:
Increased efficiency of the system
Extended life of the equipment
Fewer breakdowns and repairs of the equipment
Prevention of possible future problems with your air conditioning and heating system

For more information about routine maintenance on your air conditioning and heating system, CLICK HERE.

What should the temperature be coming out of my vents?
While there is no "set standard" for air temperature, a good rule of thumb in the summertime is the air temperature coming out of the vents should be about 18-20 degrees cooler than the air temperature of the home/building. Many people fail to realize that the hotter the air is circulating into the air conditioning system, the warmer the air will be coming out of the vents. As the home/building begins to cool down, the temperature of the air coming from the vents will also decrease.

I barely feel any air coming from my vents. Why?
There is probably a restriction of airflow. The solution can be as simple as a dirty air filter, or as complicated as a blocked evaporator coil or faulty blower motor. If you've checked, changed, or cleaned your air filter and are still experiencing low airflow, contact a professional.

The temperature in one room of my house doesn't get as cool/warm as the rest of the home.
Normally, this is a sign of problems with the ductwork. Several things can cause duct problems. A duct supply-line could have come loose. Sometimes ductwork can be damaged by animals. Many times, people climbing in attics to do other work will crush or damage ductwork, so be careful.
If the problem has just begun, it's probably caused by one of the preceding scenarios. However, if the problem has been ongoing and lingering, the problem is most likely a problem with the duct configuration or installation. In this case, it's best to contact a professional and have the ductwork configuration analyzed.

I have sweat/moisture on the vents of my air conditioning system. What does that mean?
There's probably nothing major wrong with your system. If our area is having a period of high humidity, that's possibly what's wrong, If you're home is having the doors opened several times throughout the day, you may be getting enough outdoor air and moisture to cause sweat on the vents due to the very cold air coming from the vent, meeting the warm moist air normally found up high by the ceiling(remember, heat rises). If you are experiencing alot of water such as a steady stream or trickle, there's probably a water leak somewhere because ductwork and supply air grills should definitely not be producing water.



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