Tips to Keep Your Cooling System Running this Summer

Hands Holding Popsicles in the Summer Heat

Tips for Southeast Michigan Homeowners to Keep Your Cooling System Running this Summer

Even in Ann Arbor and other areas of Southeast Michigan, summer temperatures can be anything but comfortable – that has been proven by the temperatures we have experienced recently! How can you make sure your air conditioner will run efficiently, and keep your family cool while keeping costs as low as possible? We have a few tips.

First, be sure to change the filter. We have said this repeatedly, but it is super important. Changing or cleaning the filter (depending on what type you have) every one or two months is critical to prevent the build-up of dirt, dust, allergens, and other contaminants that can not only shorten the lifespan of your cooling system and make it less efficient, but contribute to allergies, asthma, and other conditions. Enjoy healthier air AND improved comfort.

Have your A/C inspected every year. It is easy to forget about your HVAC system when everything seems to be running fine and dandy, but having your cooling/heating checked on at least an annual basis is critical to keep it running efficiently. When your SE Michigan HVAC technician can detect any small issues early on, it can prevent bigger, more costly issues down the road. You will also enjoy peace of mind knowing that no matter how high temperatures rise, your family will enjoy a comfortable home without the worry of a breakdown or malfunction.

Weatherize your home. Whether sealing leaks around windows or doors with weather stripping or caulk, adding extra insulation, or utilizing fans and closing windows/doors, do everything possible to keep the cooled air inside! The “conditioned” air you pay for will remain inside, while the hot summer air stays out.

Consider a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat makes it possible for you to program it for those times your family is sleeping or away from home, and forget about turning the temperature up or down. Set the schedule your family typically adheres to and put it out of your mind. Why cool an empty home when your family is away at work or school – or when you are away on vacation for a week or two? A programmable thermostat can save you a bundle on energy costs, but keep in mind it should be installed away from heat sources such as lamps or direct sunlight.

At Haley Mechanical, our goal is to help you enjoy a cool, comfortable home regardless of how high temperatures rise without spending a small fortune on energy costs. Keep these tips in mind, and contact our Southeast Michigan HVAC technicians should you need service, repair, or a new system installed.

Stop Summer Heat at the Front Door

Hands Holding Popsicles in the Summer Heat

Although southeast Michigan experiences extreme cold in winter, summer can have the opposite effect – extreme heat. With the first official day of summer just days away, it’s important to prepare your home so that even on the hottest of days, your family can enjoy a cool, comfortable home. At Haley Mechanical, we have a few tips for homeowners in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Brighton, Howell, and nearby cities.

Keep the cold air in and humidity out by filling the gaps

Caulking, additional insulation, and weather stripping can go a long way toward keeping your conditioned air inside, where it belongs. Any crack, gap, or hole is an opportunity for your cool environment to escape to the outdoors. This can mean not only an uncomfortable home but increased energy costs.

Clean the air filter

We’ve said this a million times, but it bears repeating: Clean or change your air filter often. Air can flow more freely, and your A/C system doesn’t have to work as hard, increasing its life span and again, saving on energy costs.

Shades for your home

Shades (or sunglasses) help keep bright sunlight out of your eyes – but what about the windows of your home? Sunlight streaming through windows heat up the rooms of your home. Consider solar-reflective film for windows receiving direct sunlight, or close blinds, shades, or curtains during daytime hours. This also helps lessen the load on your air conditioner.

Insulation works in both winter and summer seasons

Most people know proper attic insulation helps keep their homes warmer during cold winter months. However, adequate insulation in the attic also helps greatly reduce the amount of heat that can creep into your living spaces from the roof and attic. Improved comfort, energy savings.

Make the switch to LED or CFL light bulbs

Old time incandescent light bulbs emit a tremendous amount of heat, so what good does it do to shade your windows if you’re going to heat up your home with light bulbs? Sure, you need light when all the windows are darkened – but CFL and LED light bulbs are energy efficient and cooler, emitting far less heat than regular light bulbs.

Programmable thermostats and schedule management

Programmable thermostats are amazing and help homeowners save on energy costs by programming their systems to run less often when away from home. However, if your schedule changes constantly – for instance, you’re often traveling for two days at a time and turn your thermostat up by 20 degrees when you’re away – your cooling system will have to work overtime to cool your home upon your return. As Lennox dealers, we are happy to help you determine a schedule that will help you enjoy a comfortable, cool home while saving on energy costs.

Have your system ready to face the heat

An air conditioner that has been ‘tuned up’ by an HVAC professional is your best defense against a hot, humid, uncomfortable home and high energy bills. Our qualified air conditioning professionals will ensure your equipment has the proper refrigerant charge, and inspect your system for any necessary adjustments/repairs. You can enjoy a cool, comfortable home even on days when temperatures soar!

Stay comfortable this summer season by following the above tips, and ensuring your air conditioner operates at peak efficiency. For all of your home comfort needs count on Haley Mechanical, serving SE Michigan homeowners for more than 16 years.

Is Your Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air? Some Common Remedies

Lady trying to get cool in front of a fan

In southeast Michigan, the last thing you need is an A/C that’s blowing hot air during the hot summer months. If you have noticed your home does not feel comfortable only to discover hot air coming out of the vents, there are a few fixes you can try yourself. If they fail to work, it is time to call in one of our expert HVAC technicians to repair your central air conditioning.

Replace the air filter. If you have not changed the air filter in a while, it could be completely clogged with dirt, dust, pet dander, and other debris. This will severely restrict airflow, which could impact your system’s ability to cool properly. To ensure this does not happen again, be sure to change the air filter frequently. It is best to check the filter monthly.

Check the thermostat. We all make mistakes, and the thermostat could have been switched over to heating mode inadvertently. Additionally, this can occur if the thermostat has been switched to “on” instead of “auto,” which causes the fan to run continuously.

Could a refrigerant leak be the culprit? When the refrigerant in your air conditioning system drops below a certain level, it usually indicates a leak. Our HVAC technicians can diagnose the issue and repair the leak promptly if this is the case, as trying to repair it yourself could result in damage to your equipment.

Check to ensure the outdoor unit is receiving power. A tripped breaker in the main electrical panel can result in the indoor blower fan operating, while the outdoor unit does not receive power. Your system cannot pump cold air if the breaker is tripped. If this is the case, reset the breaker. This may solve the issue, however, if the breaker quickly trips again or repeatedly, call the professionals and leave the breaker off.

The outdoor condenser coil may need cleaning. When the condenser coil located outdoors accumulates dirt/debris or becomes obstructed by tall grass, it can cause your A/C system to lose cooling capacity. Hose off the coil gently, and remove any obstructions around the unit. If this does not work, have the condenser coil cleaned by professionals.

Home or business owners in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and other nearby cities in southeast Michigan can count on Haley Mechanical for all of your needs. If your A/C is blowing hot air and none of the above fixes work, give us a call today!

Why Is My Air Conditioner Frozen?

Haley Mechanical Offices in Dexter, Michigan

Even in an area with warm temperatures, it’s possible for an air conditioner to freeze. It’s essential to address a frozen air conditioner right away; otherwise, it can lead to your home becoming water damaged. What causes an air conditioner to freeze, and what should you do if it happens?

Low Refrigerant
Your air conditioner’s evaporator coil contains refrigerant. Without a sufficient amount of coolant, your A/C will not be able to remove enough heat from the air. Low refrigerant indicates a leak, which will need to be fixed by an air conditioning contractor.

Poor Airflow
The temperature of your air conditioner’s evaporator coil can dip below freezing if the airflow is diminished. Reduced airflow causes moisture in the air to condense on the coil, where it becomes frozen. If this occurs, have your air conditioner serviced by a repair technician.

Evaporator Coil is Dirty
It’s crucial for your evaporator coil to be kept clean; this will help prevent your air conditioning unit from freezing. Dirt buildup on the coil acts as a barrier between the refrigerant inside the coil and the warm air outside. It causes the evaporator coil to freeze because it’s too cold.

What to Do If Your A/C Is Frozen
Here are some steps you can take if your air conditioner is freezing up:

  • Turn the unit off. Do not just increase the temperature with the thermostat–turn the cooling system off entirely.
  • Try replacing your air filters. Clogged filters interfere with airflow.
  • If any supply vents in your home are closed, open them to let air flow through. Make sure to open vents in unused rooms, too.
  • Make sure that your return vents and your air ducts are kept clear and unblocked.

After you’ve done the above steps, contact a repair technician for help as soon as you can. An HVAC contractor will have your air conditioner up and running again in no time.

Is That Smelly Air Conditioner About to Knock Your Socks Off?

Woman Plugging Her Nose

Summers in Ann Arbor and throughout Southeast Michigan can get extremely warm and uncomfortable, but you can always count on your A/C to keep you cool and comfy – or can you? Sometimes an air conditioner will emit some very unpleasant odors, and you don’t know why or if it indicates a problem. If your cooling system stinks, here’s what you should look for.

What are some of the reasons an air conditioner may smell bad?

Rotten egg smell. This usually indicates an animal died after getting stuck in the air duct. Sad but true; these things happen. Call out an expert to take care of the problem so the odor will go away.

Exhaust-like smell. When you notice a scent that reminds you of car exhaust, there’s a problem somewhere. Gasoline doesn’t power air conditioners, and there could be a fluid leak. Give our SE Michigan HVAC professionals a call.

Stinky feet smell. What could be worse? While it may smell like someone’s dirty socks got caught up in your system, it’s probably a matter of water collecting in your unit. A musty odor is common when water builds up due to improper draining or a clog. Have it checked out by a professional.

Skunk smell. This is probably second in line to the horrible stinky feet smell; however, it could be a severe problem as a skunk smell is usually the result of a methyl mercaptan leak, a dangerous gas. Get your family out of your home and contact us immediately.

Mildew smell. This is a common complaint of homeowners and a scent that is usually caused by excess moisture such as condensation that doesn’t drain as it should. Mold and mildew are often the results, causing the unpleasant smell. Give our A/C professionals a call if you notice a mildew smell!

Gunpowder smell. When a circuit board or fan motor shorts out, you may notice an odor that smells like gunpowder. This is a relatively simple repair for our HVAC contractors.

The last thing you want is for your cooling system to go out during the hottest season of the year. When you notice any strange or stinky smells, give the Ann Arbor air conditioning experts at Haley Mechanical a call.

Air Conditioning Unit Won’t Turn On? Troubleshooting Tips

Frustrated Woman Sitting at Computer

Even in Ann Arbor and surrounding areas of SE Michigan summer brings hot weather. When your air conditioner does not turn on, you may be left wondering what the problem is – and if it is going to require a new system or repair, either of which can be costly. There are a few minor issues that can cause your A/C not to turn on, and a total breakdown that happens without warning is rare, thankfully. Consider the following when troubleshooting your cooling system.

Air filter clogged. While it is a simple thing, a dirty or clogged air filter may prevent the A/C from coming on, as the filter allows good airflow and even helps prevent possible damage to the components of your system. Replace the filter then try turning the air conditioner on.

Thermostat set too high or on the wrong setting. If you desire a temperature of 76 degrees and the thermostat is set on 80, it will not come on. It is also important to make sure the thermostat is switched to the “cool” setting. Lower the temperature or set to “cool” and your system should come on.

A circuit breaker that’s tripped. Circuit breakers trip occasionally and are usually related to a power surge. Locate the breaker for your A/C in the main circuit box and reset it; this will likely fix the problem. However, if this happens frequently, you will want to have an electrician take a look to determine what the problem may be.

Thermostat issues. Thermostats do not last forever, particularly programmable thermostats that rely on batteries. It could simply be a matter of putting new batteries in if the screen is blank, or replacing the thermostat if new batteries do not do the trick.

Leaking refrigerant. Refrigerant is a liquid air conditioners must have in order to provide cool air. It isn’t unusual for A/C systems to experience leaks, something a skilled HVAC professional can diagnose and take care of if this is the problem. Refrigerant loss can result in inadequate cooling or your A/C not turning on.

Haley Mechanical employs professional HVAC technicians who are highly skilled and experienced in air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance. If you’re in the Southeast Michigan area and are having A/C issues, give our experts a call today! Call Haley Mechanical at 734-424-9170.

Air Conditioner on the Blink? Five Possibilities to Consider

Mini-Split installation in Ann Arbor, Michigan

As trusted southeast Michigan air conditioning experts, we know how frustrating it can be when the weather gets warm, you need the a/c, and it will not work.  It will not be long before you need to cool your indoor spaces, and there are very limited reasons why a system fails to work as expected when summer arrives.  Problems arise when either your air conditioner is not properly installed, it is not maintained as often as it should be or is poorly serviced.

According to the federal Department of Energy, there are five problems with air conditioning systems that seem to be fairly common; here’s how to troubleshoot them:

Inadequate maintenance.Taking care of something as simple as cleaning the air conditioning coils and changing the filter as necessary can make a huge difference.  When the system is dirty and clogged, it can result in a fan or compressor that fails prematurely because the system has to work too hard.

Refrigerant leaks.Manufacturers specify the recommended refrigerant charge for their air conditioners; when you can match your refrigerant charge to the manufacturer’s recommendation, it will operate effectively.  Leaks not only make your system work harder, but they also harm the environment.  You may think all you need to do is add more refrigerant, but this is not the way to handle the issue.  Call a trained SE Michigan air conditioning technician to repair the leak.  Your technician will test to ensure the leak is repaired, then use the specified amount of refrigerant to charge your system.

Drainage issues.Humidity can cause problems, so check to ensure the condensate drain is not clogged and is draining as it should.  It is also important that window conditioners are level for proper drainage.

Electric control failure.Terminals and wires that are corroded can cause your cooling system to fail, so set up a service call to have your technician check out the electrical contacts and connections. Also, a system that is too big for your home will cycle on and off more frequently than a properly sized system, which can wear out fan controls and even the compressor.

Sensor problems.Have a window air conditioner?  On this type of system, a thermostat sensor in located behind the control panel, and is responsible for keeping the room comfortable.  Your a/c may cycle on and off too often if the sensor becomes knocked out of position; it should be located near the evaporative coil, but not touching it.  You can adjust this yourself by carefully bending the wire that holds the sensor in place.

Recently, Consumer Reports conducted a survey of more than 40,000 readers who purchased a central air conditioning system. Those that required the most frequent air conditioner repairs included York, Amana, and Goodman.  As an authorized Lennox dealer, we know that the system you choose can make a substantial difference in the problems (and expense) you will face down the road!

Keep the tips above in mind if you face problems with your air conditioning system this summer – and give us a call should you encounter a problem you cannot handle yourself.  As reputable southeast Michigan air conditioning professionals, your comfort is our business.

Contact us today!

Save Energy, Reduce Utility Bills: 6 Tips for Southeast Michigan Renters

Lightbulb on a Dark Background

Unfortunately, when you rent a home in Southeast Michigan, you are limited to what you can do to save energy and reduce energy bills.  Installing geothermal heat pumps, extra insulation, and highly efficient appliances are all great, but usually not an option for renters.  The good news is that homeowners aren’t the only ones who can enjoy reduced energy costs!

As a renter, there are plenty of things you can do to save energy and lower your energy bills.  Here are some energy-saving strategies you can implement today:

  1. Use the mornings to enjoy the fresh outdoor air and cool your home down.  Raise the windows early in the morning, when temperatures are at their coolest.  This will help lower the temperature inside, meaning the air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to keep your home comfortable for the rest of the day.
  2. Adjust the thermostat.  Many people aren’t aware that adjusting the thermostat higher by just one degree in the summer months can save a substantial amount of money, without compromising comfort.  In fact, you can save 3-5% by doing this one simple thing!  If you do not have a programmable thermostat, set yours to 78 degrees while you’re away in summer, 58 degrees in winter months.
  3. Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs.  Since they were introduced, CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs have improved substantially.  While more expensive initially, you will enjoy reduced energy usage – and CFL bulbs have a far longer life.  Choose those with the Energy Star seal for durability and longer lifespan.
  4. Consider a low flow showerhead.  Heating water consumes a substantial amount of energy, which means using hot water zaps power.  By switching from a traditional showerhead to a low flow model, you can slash the cost of hot water usage by a whopping 40%!  Again, pay attention to EPA labeling.  Certain brands such as WaterSense use a maximum of two gallons of water per minute but still offer the water pressure you enjoy.  Many offer multiple settings as well.
  5. Unplug it.  Even when turned off, many appliances and electronics still consume energy.  Televisions, DVRs, and battery chargers are the worst offenders, however when an LED or light is displayed, or a device works via remote control, it continues to draw power.  Unplug those appliances and electronics you don’t use often.  For those devices, you frequently use, consider a power strip so that all can be turned off simultaneously.
  6. Control when and where air circulates inside the home.  Why cool or heat a room that’s empty?  Use ceiling fans in rooms only when they are occupied to circulate cool or warm air (most offer a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades, depending on the season).  Also, be sure that vents are clear and not blocked by furniture, clothes, or other items.  Close cabinet and closet doors, and consider closing off those rooms you don’t use as well.

Even renters can save on energy costs by implementing a few of these tips!  Enjoy a comfortable home and energy savings this summer.

It’s a Good Idea to Buy Indoor & Outdoor Units that Match – Here’s Why

House in Dexter, Michigan

As professional heating & air contractors who cater to SE Michigan home and business owners in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding areas, we know it is tempting to just replace a failed component when it goes out on your central air conditioner.  However, this may not be the smartest idea.  The main components of your system are the indoor unit (evaporator coil), and the outdoor unit (condenser/compressor).  Why not simply replace the failed part and save money?  There are several reasons which we will explain below.

Increased reliability.  When just one unit is upgraded, both together do not work as efficiently – in essence, they’re incompatible.  This means your equipment will undergo additional strain, putting the older component at greater risk of going out because of the added workload.  Essentially, your central air system could fail you at any time, even during the hottest days of the year.  A system that is entirely new will give you 10 to 15 years of service you can rely on.

Maximum energy efficiency.  Higher SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) models help you save on energy consumption and utility costs.  However, these ratios are based on complete (compatible) systems.  To enjoy the greatest energy savings, it’s important to install compatible indoor and outdoor units.

Reduced lifetime costs.  Over the lifetime of your system, you will spend less by having indoor and outdoor units that are compatible.  By replacing both components, you will spend far less money on repairs, maintenance, and costs to cool your home.  Update only the indoor or outdoor component, and you’ll face more expense down the road when the other unit stops functioning!

Advances in design.  Today’s air conditioners are far more advanced than those of 10 or 15 years ago.  If you only replace one component instead of both, you lose out on technologies such as thermal expansion valves, variable-speed air handling, improved coil designs, and more.  Ultimately, by replacing only one component, you will have less control over comfort and humidity.

Possible void of warranty on the new component.  While manufacturers typically provide a new equipment warranty, this may not be the case when the components of your cooling system are mismatched.  By having matching components installed, you will have peace of mind knowing the entire system is under the manufacturer‘s warranty.

At Haley Mechanical, we highly recommend you buy indoor and outdoor units that match when one or the other component fails.  It’s the smart thing to do regarding comfort, energy and money savings, and warranty on equipment!  Have questions?  Give our southeast Michigan HVAC experts a call today.

Make Your Michigan Home More Energy Efficient in 4 Easy Steps

Efficient Windows in a Beautiful Home

Most Michigan homeowners know the big issues that cause their homes to be less energy efficient than they should be – too little insulation, for example. However, you may be losing conditioned air in ways you aren’t aware of. Perhaps one room feels colder than the rest of your home, or you’ve noticed that your energy bill is higher than usual.

At Haley Mechanical, we want to educate homeowners on what to look for and what can be done to make your home more energy efficient before the extreme cold temperatures arrive.

Whatever your situation, you can perform your own “energy efficiency survey.” Here’s how:

  • Perform an energy audit before winter strikes. You may logically think it’s easier to determine where those drafts are coming from when winter or summer is in full blast; however, energy costs will soar if you wait until the season is upon you before checking for problems. Check the ductwork or other issues now and take the steps necessary to improve energy efficiency.
  • Perform the window test. How much heat really is “flying” right out of your windows? Take a close look at your windows, checking the condition of panes and window frames. If your home is older, thin windows may be to blame. Consider replacing them with EnergyStar rated windows, and be sure to caulk or use weather stripping in gaps or cracks.
  • Update your heating/cooling equipment. Sure, it’s costly to replace your HVAC system or heater/air conditioner – but how much is it costing you to continue using outdated or worn out equipment? According to the Department of Energy, homes waste about 25% to 40% of their energy due to the fact that homeowners fail to have routine maintenance performed, or to replace an underperforming heating/cooling system.
  • Calculate your energy usage online. Taking your previous energy bills, you can calculate your potential energy savings using an online calculator like the one at AC Doctor. If you don’t have past energy bills, consider having a professional energy consultant provide you with data such as SEER ratings and electricity rates to perform the calculation on how much you could save by having high-efficiency furnace installed

At Haley Mechanical, we want to help you save on energy costs this winter. Call us for more ideas on how you can save on your energy bills this season, or for expert HVAC maintenance and installation. We’ve been proudly serving customers in Ann Arbor, Dexter, Canton, Plymouth and other areas in SE Michigan since 1998!