Benefits of AC Maintenance You May Not Have Realized

April 21st, 2014 by David Roussel

Georgia summers are as hot as they come, which means you need your air conditioning system to function at its peak to provide the cool, comfortable home environment you expect. Air conditioning maintenance in Atlanta is a vital part of keeping your system running without a hitch. Most people think maintenance sessions exist to spot small problems before they can become big ones: giving you the flexibility to deal with such issues in a timely fashion and cutting down on repair costs in the process. But there are other benefits of AC maintenance you may not have realized, and which you should consider when scheduling a session.

AC Maintenance: What’s Included?

AC maintenance includes a lot of little steps designed to keep things running smoothly. This includes recharging refrigerant levels, cleaning off dirty components, tightening loose screws and checking electrical components to make sure they’re functioning as they should. This is intended to spot any problems and prevent wear and tear from developing in the future.

That last part has numerous advantages beyond simply stopping a breakdown before it starts. It reduces friction on moving parts and helps the system function with a lot less strain. That translates to two direct benefits to you. In the first place, the system will last longer and postpone the date when you need to replace your air conditioner with a new one. In the second place, a system under less strain is a system that performs its job much more efficiently. By cleaning the components and tightening bolts and lines, the technician helps it perform much more efficiently: saving you money on your monthly cooling bills.

Over time, there’s no telling how much a given session can save, though it can certainly spare you worry and heartache in the process. The experts at South Air Inc. handle air conditioning maintenance in Atlanta, and can explain some of the benefits of AC maintenance you may not have realized.

If you’d like to get your system into fighting shape before the heat of summer arrives, give us a call to set up an appointment today. You’ll be glad you did!

Signs of an AC Fan Problem

April 11th, 2014 by David Roussel

When you run your air conditioning, you expect to hear two sounds from it: the hum of the compressor (when the cooling cycle is on), and the whir of the fans. The blower fans are an essential part of both how an air conditioner cools down a home and how it distributes the conditioned air throughout the rooms.

Fans are the largest mechanical components inside an air conditioning unit. Like any mechanical device, they can suffer from operating issues leading to breakdowns. Losing any fan in an AC will cause a plunge in cooling ability and airflow, and you need to have the problems addressed as soon as possible. This requires work from an AC professional: never attempt fixes to complex mechanisms on your own without proper training.

Here are some ways to tell you have fan trouble in your AC. Whatever the issue, you can depend on South Air Inc. to assist you with your air conditioning in Atlanta, GA. Our team has more than a decade of experience with repairs on cooling systems of all brands and sizes.

Indicators of AC fan problems

  • Drop in airflow from the vents: One of the earliest warnings you’ll receive that a fan has slowed or stop working is when the airflow from the vents feels weaker than it should. The air may still feel cold, but you will discover rooms will take longer to reach their target temperature, resulting in uneven cooling.
  • Grinding and slapping noises: Bizarre, loud, and unpleasant sounds from an AC cabinet are almost always signs of repair needs. These sounds can mean a number of different problems for an air conditioning fan. On older ACs with fan belts, it could indicate a loose belt striking other components. Bent fan blades (which can occur because of debris in the cabinet) will cause the blades to hit the fan casing. Dying blower motors will create grinding sounds. Whatever the disruptive sound, you’ll need to call for repairs right away.
  • Airflow/cooling stops entirely: These are signs of a fan that has completely stopped working. Listen to the cabinet to find out if the fan is moving. Often, a full fan breakdown is due to motor failure or a problem with an electric relay. Let a professional repair technician troubleshoot this for your and find out why the fan has stopper turning.

To help head off potential fan dilemmas, sign up for regular maintenance on your air conditioner. The majority of fan troubles stem from excess dirt and dust inside the cabinet, and regular maintenance from a professional will provide the cleaning and adjustments necessary to reduce this and keep your fans turning without excess strain. Call South Air Inc. for repair services and to sign up for maintenance on your air conditioning in Atlanta, GA.

Why You Should Schedule Duct Cleaning This Spring

April 4th, 2014 by David Roussel

Duct cleaning is a process by which a professional technician pulls dust, debris and other contaminants out of your duct system to keep them from circulating in your house. Ideally, you should schedule a duct cleaning every two or three years, more often if you have pets or similar mitigating factors in your home. The spring makes an ideal time to do this, and here in Marietta, duct cleaning can be conducted by a number of reputable companies. But that doesn’t explain why you should schedule duct cleaning in Marietta this spring. We have a few answers below.

In the most general terms, duct cleaning makes you home cleaner and helps your air conditioning unit function more efficiently. Any dust that gets stuck in the ducts will be circulated throughout your home whenever the air conditioner runs. That means drier, dustier air that can irritate the nose and throat as well as exacerbating allergies in sensitive family members. Furthermore, the dust can coat the interior components of you air conditioner itself: increasing friction, reducing cooling capacity and preventing the refrigerant from doing its job. A good technician can perform a maintenance session to clear the dust off of your components, but if there’s dust in the ducts, it will accumulate again very quickly.

Here in the spring, dealing with duct cleaning can reap immeasurable benefits. Not only will it help ensure that your air conditioner stays cleaner just when you need it the most, but you have the time and flexibility to schedule a session when it’s convenient to you, not when some crisis with your A/C demands immediate attention.

For more reasons why you should schedule duct cleaning in Marietta this spring, or to set up a session for your system, contact the experts at South Air Inc. We conduct duct cleaning with courtesy and care, and our 100% guarantee means that you’ll be happy with every stage of our work. You and your family deserve a clean home with good indoor air. Call us today to make an appointment, and let us make sure you get them!

Benefits of Installing Zone Control

March 28th, 2014 by David Roussel

When you have central heating in your home, it usually means you have two choices for how extensively you wish to warm up your house: all of it, or none of it. You can change the settings on the thermostat to alter how warm you want the house, but the air traveling to the vents will go to all of them, whether the rooms on the other side need it or not.

Zone control gives you more choices. Installing dampers in the ductwork and individual thermostats to control them divides your home into “zones” that can act independently of the central heater. You can adjust which rooms receive heat and which ones don’t. This provides you with a number of significant advantages when it comes to comfort and costs.

A skilled heating and cooling contractor like South Air Inc. can retrofit your current HVAC system for zone control, or install a new system equipped with it. Call us today to learn how we can improve your heating in Atlanta, GA.

What a zone control system can do for you:

  • Lower your heating bills: With home heating no longer and all-or nothing proposition, you will see a reduction in costs on your utility bills. Zone control is especially helpful if you have guest rooms or other rooms that often lack occupants and require less heat. Even if you only have two broad zones (upstairs and downstairs), there are times when you will not need both heated to the same degree.
  • Offer individual comfort for your household: The people who live in your home will each have specific comfort requirements. Some people react quicker to cold, others to heat. Without zone control, someone will always feel either too hot or too cold. But the individual thermostats will give each of your home’s residents the ability to adjust the local temperature for themselves.
  • Heat rooms to temperatures that fit their purpose: Rooms are similar to people: they have individual needs for heat. Kitchens and home gyms won’t require as much heat as an upstairs bedroom near windows or spacious family rooms. You can tailor the heat across your house to serve the needs of each room.

See if your home is ready for zone control heating

You’re probably wondering if your home’s heating system will benefit from installing zone control and how large a job it will be. Call South Air Inc. and talk to our specialists in heating in Atlanta, GA. They will answer all your questions about zone control and set up an appointment to see how they can install it in your home.

Is My System Worth the Cost of Heating Repair?

March 19th, 2014 by David Roussel

If you’ve lived with your heater long enough, or if you inherited an older heater with your home, you will eventually come to a point when you need to balance the cost of repairs to keep it running against the cost of replacing it with a new system. Sometimes, it’s worth a few repairs to keep the system going for a couple more years; other times, you will receive far greater benefits and cost reductions with a new installation. We’ll look at how you can tell if you should repair or replace.

Regardless of the choice you make, South Air Inc. will be there to help you. We perform heating repair in Atlanta, GA that will keep your heating running, and we provide excellent installation jobs. If you feel uncertain about whether you should repair or replace, you can always call in your specialists for the advice that will help you decide.

How to tell it’s time to replace, not repair

  • High repair costs: How much is too much to pay for repairs? Look over your repair bills for the last year to see what you’ve needed to pay in order to keep your heating system operational. If it’s $500 or higher, then it’s definitely time to stop repairing and instead look into replacing. A new heater will save you both in efficient heating and on repair bills… which should be $0 for the first few years if you have professionals install it.
  • It exceeds the manufacturer’s expected lifespan: If your heating system has lasted longer than the manufacturer’s estimate for it, then you have already received an excellent bargain from it and should consider replacement before the system begins to cost money in heating bills—or breaks down abruptly. Although you can keep it going for a few more years with targeted repairs, you’ll start saving money sooner with a replacement.
  • Your heating bills have been increasing: If your monthly utility bills have shown a steady climb over the years even with repairs, then your heater has become inefficient from age. Repairs at this point may keep it running, but they won’t return it to its original energy-saving condition and you’ll keep wasting money. A replacement heater will have a much higher efficiency than your old one did even when it was new.

Whether repair or replace… look to South Air Inc.

If you feel you need an informed opinion from an HVAC technician about whether it’s worthwhile to keep repairing your heating system, contact our staff at South Air Inc. We offer quality heating repair in Atlanta, GA. If you need a new heater, we can install a variety of systems. We will help you find the right option for your home that will mean comfort and savings.

The Pros and Cons of Geothermal Heating in Atlanta

March 12th, 2014 by David Roussel

Installing a geothermal heat pump (also known as a “ground source” heat pump) has become increasingly popular as an option for home cooling and heating in Atlanta, GA. People are curious to know if they can have a geothermal system installed for their home, and what sort of benefits they can expect to receive from it.

Like any HVAC system, a geothermal heat pump has advantages and disadvantages; which one wins out depends on your specific circumstances. We’ll run through a list of the major pros and cons for geothermal installation to give you a sense of what to expect. To find out more, call our geothermal specialists at South Air Inc. today.

Geothermal pros

Geothermal systems are one of the most-efficient types of heating you can install, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy they will payback their installation costs in 5–10 years. To contribute to their efficiency, geothermal systems have immense longevity: the indoor heat pump unit can last more than 20 years, and the in-ground coils can last more than 50.

As heat pumps that use the ground for heat exchange instead of the air, geothermal systems are much more reliable than standard heat pumps. The temperature in the ground at the level of the coils does not fluctuate much regardless of the above-ground temperature, so a geothermal heat pump always has sufficient heat to draw on while in heating mode.

Finally, geothermal heat pumps are beneficial for the environment, with very few emissions that contribute to ozone depletion or global warming.

Geothermal cons

Installation of geothermal heat pumps requires a larger investment of time and money than other home comfort systems. Depending on your house and property, it can take around six weeks to complete installation. Although the efficiency of a geothermal heat pump means it will eventually pay back its installation cost, the payback period is longer than with other systems.

Geothermal will not work with every property: it requires certain ground conditions (you can’t install the loops in granite) and well as sufficient space. You will need to have geothermal experts inspect your property to determine if you will benefit from installation.

Contact South Air Inc. today to schedule an appointment to look into whether you should have a geothermal heat pump installed. Our heating experts can always suggest other excellent systems (such as water source heat pumps) for your cooling and heating in Atlanta, GA.

How to Avoid Unnecessary Repairs for Your Furnace

March 3rd, 2014 by David Roussel

Furnaces are one of the most effective ways to stay warm, regardless of the temperature outside. But no matter the type of furnace you have, electric or gas-powered, you will occasionally run into repair needs, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming. There are ways, however, to reduce your furnace repairs to only the most necessary. We’ll go over some of what you can do to keep away extra furnace repair calls.

South Air Inc. is here to help you, whether maintaining your furnace or supplying you whatever repairs you may need. We offer honest answers and affordable options for your furnace in Atlanta, GA.

Here’s how you can reduce furnace repairs

  • Schedule regular maintenance: For a furnace to keep operating at its best, and with as few malfunctions as possible, it needs to have a professional technician inspect, clean, and adjust it once a year. We recommend scheduling the maintenance for fall, before the winter arrives, but if you neglected to do it, it’s never too late to start. Maintenance is the number one way to prevent repairs: technicians will catch places where deterioration, misalignments, aging, and dirt contamination may cause repair needs, and they will take care of the problem before it becomes worse.
  • Routinely replace the filter: No matter the power source of your furnace, it will have an air filter installed to prevent debris from entering the cabinet and causing damage. The filter will eventually clog with dust and dirt if left alone, which can lead to contamination inside the cabinet and broken components. Change the filter once a month during times when you regularly use the furnace and you should encounter fewer problems.
  • Lessen stress on the furnace: The more a furnace works, the faster it ages. Avoid putting extra strain on your furnace by running it at lower settings.  To keep the furnace from overworking and wearing down, settle on a lower temperature you can feel comfortable at, and put on an extra layer of clothing.

Since 2003, the professionals at South Air Inc. have helped residents of Atlanta, GA with furnace repair, installation, and maintenance. With our experience and dedication to customer satisfaction, we can offer you the work you need to keep your heating and cooling working for your throughout the year.

What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?

February 24th, 2014 by David Roussel

Generally speaking you want your furnace to be as efficient as possible: using its energy to warm your home rather than compensating for damaged or outdated components. New technology and new innovation improves efficiency every day, and while heating in Atlanta isn’t as dire a concern as it is in, say, Boston, you certainly don’t want to waste any money while keeping your home warm. So what makes a furnace high efficiency? What qualities can you look for to ensure that yours is making the best use of its allotted energy?

The specifics of what makes a furnace high efficiency  are a little technical. Most high efficiency furnaces have a second heat exchanger, which condenses flue gases for extra efficiency. They also have sealed combustion, which helps them turn more fuel into heat.  In general, newer units are more efficient than older ones, and more recent models tend to take advantage of new technology more than models created a few years ago.

Luckily for you, you don’t need to factor in all of those variables when making a decision. All furnaces have an AFUE rating, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It’s a simple number, measured as a percentage, which compares the amount of energy being used by the furnace with the amount of energy it’s actually heating your home with. For example, a furnace that consumes 80,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy and produces 64,000 BTUs worth of heat has an AFUE rating rating of 80%, or 64,000/80,000. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the furnace, giving you an easy way of gauging the efficiency.

Even better, the Department of Energy has established the Energy Star system, which notes particularly efficient appliances. In Atlanta, the Energy Star sticker is given to furnaces with an AFUE rating of 90% or higher. All you have to do is look for the sticker and you’re set.

For more on what makes a furnace high efficiency, or to schedule an installation session, contact the experts at South Air Inc. We handle all kinds of issues related to heating in Atlanta and can provide excellent service. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

The Purpose of a Heat Exchanger in Your Furnace

February 17th, 2014 by David Roussel

If you own a furnace in Atlanta, then you ought to familiarize yourself with the functions of the heat exchanger. Without it, your furnace couldn’t do its job and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the reliable comfort of your heating system. Heat exchangers are very durable, but also very important. On the rare occasion that one is damaged, you need to get it or the furnace replaced immediately.

Your furnace uses natural gas to create the heat, fed into burners which ignite it and raise temperatures accordingly. But the gases contain toxic elements and can’t be used to heat your home directly. Enter the heat exchanger. It looks like a long metal tube with an opening on each end, through which the lit gas can pass. In the process, it heats up the metal walls of the heat exchanger, which in turn heats up the surrounding air. That air – which doesn’t contain any toxic gases – can then be blown into your ducts and through them into the rest of the home. The burning gas moves through the heat exchanger into a venting pipe, which safely removes it from your home.

That transfer process it vital to the functioning of your heater. Without it, it can’t do its job and you’re left just wasting fuel. The good news is that heat exchangers have no moving parts, so they’re rarely damaged. The bad news is that when time and wear cause them to crack, you can’t run the heater until they’re replaced. A cracked heat exchanger can allow toxic gases into your home, creating a safety hazard.

Once you know the purpose of a heat exchanger in your furnace, you know enough to contact a professional in the event of a problem. South Air Inc. offers excellent furnace service in Atlanta, and our trained staff can help repair or replace any furnace that’s experiencing difficulties. Pick up the phone and call us to schedule an inspection today!

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014 by David Roussel

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at South Air Heating & Cooling hope you have a wonderful February 14th!