SPS Mechanical Inc. Blog : Archive for April, 2014

How Does Low Refrigerant Affect Air Conditioning?

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Refrigerant is an essential part of air conditioning operation. Without it, an AC cannot carry out heat exchange: the shifting of heat from one location (inside your house) to another (outside your house). It takes only a small loss of refrigerant in an air conditioner will lead to many problems. When you encounter AC refrigerant loss, summon professional repairs right away.

No matter what time of day or night you need air conditioning repair in Sicklerville, NJ, count on SPS Mechanical Inc. to answer your call. We have NATE-certified technicians on staff with the training to address any trouble in your AC, from low refrigerant to burned -out motors.

The Problems of Low Refrigerant

Refrigerant is a chemical blend designed to make an easy phase transition between liquid and gas and back again using only a small amount of energy. The transitions absorb and release heat, and this makes refrigerant the ideal vessel for moving heat from indoors to outdoors.

The refrigerant must stay at a specific charge (i.e. level) in an air conditioner that is balanced to the system’s size. During normal operation, refrigerant does not “get used up.” However, refrigerant can leak from an AC due to damage, corrosion, and loose connections. When the charge drops, it affects the air conditioner’s cooling power.

Refrigerant at a lower charge than it should be inhibits the indoor coil from absorbing the proper amount of heat. This will not only reduce the cooling ability of the AC, it will cause the evaporator coil to begin to ice over because the refrigerant’s temperature is not rising high enough. The more the coil develops ice across it, the less it can absorb heat, leading to a downward cycle that will eventually end in no cooling power at all.

Low refrigerant also damages the compressor, the “heart” of the air conditioner where the liquid refrigerant is squeezed into a high pressure gas. The compressor is designed to match the refrigerant charge, and if it drops, the compressor will start to overwork and will soon break. Replacing the compressor of an AC is an expensive repair that you want to avoid at all costs.

Detecting and Repairing Refrigerant Loss

There are a few signs of loss of refrigerant: reduced cooling, ice appearing along the indoor coil, and hissing sounds. At the first indication of any of these, shut off the system and call for a repair technician.

Repairs for refrigerant loss involve finding the source of the leak, fixing it, and then recharging the refrigerant to its correct amount. The new refrigerant must be the correct blend, and the system cannot be overcharged (which is as damaging as being undercharged). Always rely on trained professionals for this task.

When low refrigerant afflicts your home’s comfort, let SPS Mechanical Inc. be your HVAC company for quality air conditioning service in Sicklerville, NJ. Give us a call today!

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Air Conditioning Question: What Is Refrigerant?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

In order for an air conditioner (as well as a heat pump and a refrigerator) to function, it requires a chemical mixture called refrigerant. Without refrigerant pumped through the AC, starting from the compressor and then moving to the outdoor and indoor coils, no heat exchange would take place, and the air conditioning system would act as nothing more than a large set of fans.

We’ll explain in more detail what refrigerant is and how it works. When you need more information about your air conditioning in Woodbury, NJ because of a repair need or if you are considering installing a replacement, look to SPS Mechanical Inc. and our skilled staff.

Refrigerant basics

Refrigerant refers to any chemical that carries out heat exchange: that is, movement of heat from one place to another. To work efficiently, refrigerant must go through a quick phase transition, the change between liquid and gas and back again. Refrigerant absorbs heat in the evaporation stage, and then releases it during the condensation stage. During normal operation, refrigerant does not dissipate as it changes phase.

Early refrigerants were made of toxic, acidic, or combustible material, such as ammonia. Not until the invention of Freon (a trademarked name for a number of refrigerant blends) did safe refrigerants allow ACs to enter regular home use.

For many years, the most common refrigerant blend found in air conditioners was R-22, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon blend. Because of the negative effect that hydrochlorofluorocarbons have on the earth’s ozone layer, the U.S. started a phase out of R-22 during the 21st century, with complete disuse set for 2020. The current common blend for residential air conditioners is R-410A, a mixture of two earlier blends often trademarked as Puron. R-410A has no ozone-depleting properties. Its use has also increased the efficiency of air conditioners, causing a general reduction in power consumption that compensates for R-410A’s global warming potential.

Leave refrigerants to the professionals

Refrigerant in an air conditioner is set at a specific charge (level), and if that level drops because of leaks, it requires technicians to recharge it. You need to leave such repairs to trained HVAC specialists, who know how to seal leaks, and put in the right amount of new refrigerant. Over- or undercharging refrigerant will damage the system.

If you have troubles with your air conditioning in Woodbury, NJ because of leaking refrigerant, call SPS Mechanical Inc., any time of the day or night, for the service that will take care of the problem and restore the cool air to your home.

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Problems Air Conditioning Maintenance Can Catch

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Keeping your home’s air conditioning system tuned-up and adjusted is important for its performance during summer. Without maintenance, your air conditioner will run less efficiently and have a higher risk of unnecessary repairs and breakdowns. Maintenance also gives you an opportunity to find out about problems developing inside your AC so you can have them remedied before summer arrives.

We hope you’ve already scheduled your air conditioning maintenance in Gloucester County for the spring. If you haven’t, give SPS Mechanical Inc. a call and ask about our excellent maintenance program.

A few issues a maintenance technician can discover during a visit

  • Dirt developing along the coils: For an air conditioner to work properly, its two sets of coils—the indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coil—must remain clean and without obstructions so they can properly absorb and release heat. If dirt and dust start to enter the cabinets and contaminate the coils, it will lead to a reduction in cooling power and could even cause icing across the indoor coil. The repair technician will detach the coils and clean them so they will not have problems.
  • A miscalibrated thermostat: One of the first tests that a maintenance technician runs is on the thermostat to see that it registers correct indoor temperatures. If the thermostat has a miscalibration of even a few degrees, it will have an adverse effect on your air conditioner’s performance, leading to inferior cooling. The technician will adjust the thermostat so it works properly.
  • Low refrigerant: The refrigerant that cycles through an AC and carries heat from the indoors to the outdoors must remain at a set level (known as its “charge”). Under regular conditions, refrigerant will not be “used up” during operation. However, leaks from broken connections or pitted corrosion along the refrigerant line can cause the charge to drop and impair the air conditioner’s performance. A repair technician will track down the leaks to seal them, and then recharge the refrigerant to its proper level.
  • Motors wearing down: The blower motors in an AC will wear down over time because of dirt or insufficient lubrication. If caught soon enough, the motors will receive cleaning and new lubrication to keep them running. Sometimes, the technician will need to arrange repairs to replace a motor that is too worn.

Don’t wait to have maintenance done

The longer you delay maintenance, the more problems your air conditioner can develop. Don’t procrastinate until the summer heat arrives: call SPS Mechanical Inc. and ask about our Total Maintenance Solution program today. We can handle your needs for air conditioning maintenance in Gloucester County so you’ll have a cool, comfortable summer.

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How to Avoid Unecessary Furnace Repair

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Modern furnace manufacturers build their products with reliability and durability in mind. (As well as safety, but that’s a subject for another post.) Furnaces shouldn’t require numerous repairs to keep them operating during their estimated lifespan. You can expect an increase in repair needs as a furnace approaches the end of its service life; this is one of the warnings that you should schedule new furnace installation.

But furnace repair needs can crop up at any point. Some you can’t avoid. Most you can. We’ll give you advice on how to keep the second kind away from your furnace in Haddonfield, NJ.

Call SPS Mechanical Inc. whenever you need repairs—or help keeping your furnace repair-free.

Ways to prevent problems in your furnace

The mandatory step in furnace problem prevention is to schedule professional maintenance every year. This regular maintenance is often called “preventive” maintenance for good reason: it tunes-up, cleans, and adjusts your furnace to prevent malfunctions from starting. Maintenance inspectors check over all the components and systems of a furnace to see that everything works the way it should and age isn’t biting into it too deeply. If there are problems, you’ll have early warning to get them taken care of.

There’s an important maintenance step you can take care of yourself: changing the furnace filter regularly during periods of regular use. The filter catches debris that might enter the furnace through the return air vents, and if the filter becomes too clogged, it will reduce air flow and permit contamination to enter the cabinet and cause numerous malfunctions.

You can reduce the stress on your furnace so it won’t age rapidly with some simple adjustments to how you heat your home. It’s rarely necessary to turn the thermostat up to the furnace’s maximum (90°F for most gas furnaces). The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping the thermostat set about 68°F and putting on an extra layer of clothes. If that’s too cold, you can ease up into the 70s, but don’t push higher than that. When you’re asleep, turn down the thermostat. This will make your furnace work less—and you’ll save money on your heating bills as well.

Start with maintenance today

SPS Mechanical Inc. has a Total Maintenance Solution program. If you sign up, you’ll receive two precision tune-ups per year (furnace and air conditioner), priority scheduling, and a 15% discount on all flat-rate services. This is an investment in your furnace’s performance and future, and it will pay off immensely. Call us today to keep your furnace in Haddonfield, NJ running efficiently.

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