Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for May, 2014

What to Do When You Need a New Air Conditioner Fast

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Air conditioning replacement services in Chicago sometimes need to move fast. Ideally, you’ll have all the time you need to properly plan for a new air conditioning installation, but life isn’t always so accommodating. If you experience a sudden breakdown during an extreme heat wave, getting a new system up and running can be a matter of your health and safety. Specifics vary from case to case, and everyone’s circumstances are different. Here’s a general breakdown of what to do when you need a new air conditioner fast.

In the first case, make sure you can secure a location where you and your family can ride out the heat of the day while installation takes place. A public library is a good option, since they’re usually air conditioned and have plenty of books to read while you wait. You might also consider visiting an indoor shopping mall or taking your family to a movie. If you have friends or family members elsewhere with operating air conditioners, now may be a good time for a visit. The goal is to get the household out of the heat so you don’t have to suffer until your new system is installed.

Beyond that, it’s important to perform the correct estimates and calculations to help you quickly find the right air conditioner for you. Look at the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of your old unit and try to pick a new one with a higher rating if you can. Measure the square footage of your home, and note any factors that could contribute to or detract from your new unit’s efficiency (such as extra insulation in the attic or big picture windows with a lot of sunlight exposure). Make sure you give all that information to your technician. It will help him find the right unit for you, and get it installed that much more quickly.

For more on what to do when you need a new air conditioner fast, talk to the experts at Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning. We operate throughout Chicago, air conditioning is our specialty, and we know how to move with speed when circumstances dictate. Give us a call today!

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How Do Air Conditioners Earn the Energy Star Sticker?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

When it comes to air conditioning in Glenview, IL, residents can’t take chances. Summers in the Midwest and be hot and humid, and a reliable air conditioner can be your best means of keeping your home cool and comfortable. When performing their duties, air conditioners should be as efficient as possible, a status that can be measured with the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. The most efficient units earn the Energy Star sticker, a fast way to determine which units are the most energy efficient. How do air conditioners earn the Energy Star sticker? A quick primer can be found below.

The Energy Star sticker is issued by the U.S. Department of Energy in an effort to reduce our overall consumption of energy and promote green technologies.  As of 2006, all new air conditioners need SEER ratings of at least 13 in order to be sold in the U.S., though older units could still maintain an older SEER rating. The Energy Star sticker, however, needed to represent a higher standard. Here in the northern half of the country, central air conditioners and air-source heat pups need a SEER rating of at least 14. If they were part of a split system using two or more forms of fuel, the standard is even higher: a 14.5 SEER rating in order to use the Energy Star Sticker.

If you don’t have a centralized system, the requirements are a little less stringent, since single-room heat pumps and air conditioners tend to be more efficient by default. (You can turn them off in parts of the house you aren’t using, which you can’t do with a centralized system.) Depending on their capacity, they need an EER of between 9.8 and 11.2 for air conditioners, 9.8 and 10.4 for heat pumps in order to get the sticker.

Regardless of how air conditioners earn the Energy Star sticker, those with the sticker can save you a great deal of money over their lifespan. If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, Glenview IL has the experts at Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning to help. Contact us today to set up a consultation and let us show you what we can do!

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How Commercial HVAC Systems Differ from Residential Systems

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Summers can get very hot and humid here in Illinois, and every occupied building needs to have reliable air conditioning to function. Commercial HVAC systems in Evanston, IL pay as large a role as residential systems, since people tend to occupy office space and retail space during the heat of the day. The systems used in commercial buildings apply the same principles as those used in homes, but they differ in several significant ways. (That’s why you should usually rely on a service with experience in commercial systems if your own breaks down.) Here’s how commercial HVAC systems differ from residential systems.

The main factor involved is size. Commercial buildings tend to be much larger than most homes, and need to support a much night number of people to boot. Their HVAC systems thus need to generate a lot more power than home systems do, in order to handle the load. But at the same time, they need to be far more flexible than household air conditioners are. The occupants of commercial space are apt to move in and out much more quickly than the average homeowner, often with wildly fluctuating needs in air conditioning to boot. For example, an office with numerous powerful computers may need a lot of AC power to keep their systems cool. But what if they move out and a new company specializing in paper storage moves in? Suddenly, the space needs a lot less cooling power.

Commercial HVAC systems thus need to be stronger and more reliable than home systems, but also flexible and easily altered. The solution is usually to adopt a series of modular units – usually placed on the building’s roof – that can be added and subtracted from the system quite easily. In order to do that, as well as to facilitate repairs when problems arise, you need a company that really understands how commercial HVAC systems differ from residential systems. And when it comes to air conditioning and heating systems in Evanston, IL, commercial properties have a trump card in Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning. We have the expertise you need to solve all manner of installation and repair issues. Give us a call today to make an appointment!

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Why is Water Dripping from My Heat Pump?

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Your heat pump operates according to many of the same principles as an air conditioner, which means it suffers from many of the same problems as well. For instance, you may notice puddles of water forming around its base, or dripping from key components in your heat pump. It’s not a good thing. The causes are myriad, but you likely need to contact a professional to deal with it. The good news is that here in Wilmette, IL, heat pump repair services are readily available. “Why is water dripping from my heat pump?” you ask. A brief rundown of the more common causes can be found below.

In many cases, the dripping water comes from ice on the cooling coils, which indicates a loss of refrigerant. Heat pumps and air conditioners need specific levels of refrigerant (dependent upon their models) to operate. When a leak springs up and the refrigerant levels drop, the cooling process is thrown off balance and ice forms on the evaporator coils. (The ice represents lost cooling potential that should be going into your home, as well as forming an unwelcome layer of insulation between the refrigerant and the air it needs to cool.) When you turn the air conditioner off, the ice may melt, forming puddles at the base of the unit.

You may also experience leaks if there are problems with the drainage system. Heat pumps often feature a condensate pan to catch normal condensation as it forms in the unit. That condensation then drips out of the system via a drain line. If the line becomes clogged or the pan is misaligned, water may drip out. (In many cases, a floater in the pan will automatically turn the system off before this happens, though you’ll still need to fix the problem before the heat pump will run again.)

If you spot water dripping from your system, the next step is to call Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We offer a variety of air conditioning services in Wilmette, IL and heat pump repair is one of our regular services, and we have the know how to treat the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. Contact us today and let us show you what we can do!

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Reasons to Move Quickly with Commercial HVAC Repair

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Commercial air conditioning systems differ from residential models in many ways. They’re often modular, located on building rooftops for ease of access and installation. Being modular also means you can add or subtract them to match your power needs without uprooting the entire system. And they are durable, able to handle direct exposure to the elements. But like residential air conditioners, they suffer breakdowns form time to time, and when they do, you need to get them up and running again quickly. In Lincolnwood, IL, commercial HVAC repair services can deal with the problem. More importantly, they understand the reasons to move quickly with commercial HVAC repair.

Commercial systems need to handle a much higher load than residential systems do. The buildings that use them are often much larger, with many hundreds of people to deal with. Those people can’t simply go somewhere else when a breakdown occurs. Employees need to stay in order to do their jobs and if the air conditioner is faulty, they’re apt to be left quite uncomfortable. That translates to lose work days and reduced efficiency (to say nothing of potential damage to computer systems and other equipment that relies on cool air to function).Furthermore, customers won’t be inclined to stay in a business that doesn’t offer a comfortable environment. This can be especially damaging to restaurants and retail shops, but business offices can be affected just as severely.

All of that is compounded by the fact that commercial HVAC systems need to run in the daytime, when heat indexes are at their highest and you need the space to be cool. With such a high workload on the system during such an important time of the day, a delay of even an hour or two can severely affect the bottom line. That’s why you should contact the experts at Shavitz Heating & Cooling the minute you detect a problem. We know the reasons to move quickly with commercial HVAC service in Lincolnwood, IL. And for businesses, our speed and efficiency can some as a godsend.  Give us a call today and let us take care of the problem lickety-split!

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3 Causes of Air Conditioning Condenser Problems

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Central air conditioning systems consist of two separate units, one located inside your home, and the other located outside. The outside unit is called the condenser because it is where condensation occurs to release heat to the outdoors. The condenser houses the compressor, a blower fan, and the condenser coil, as well as motors and capacitors to supply power to the components.

If the condenser develops malfunctions, it will severely damage or even stop the air conditioner’s ability to cool down a house. If you suspect that trouble with the condenser is affecting your home’s AC, call for professional air conditioning repair in Chicago, IL right away. If left without attention, malfunctions in the condenser will grow worse and may even threaten to cause catastrophic compressor failure.

Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning can come to your rescue for air conditioning repair. We are now ten years into our second century of supplying Chicagoland with reliable heating and cooling service.

3 reasons for condenser problems

  • Outside debris: Because the condenser is located outside a house, it can sometimes suffer damage because from debris—stones, gravel, leaves, sticks—getting inside it. (You should always keep the area around the condenser as clear as possible to reduce the chance of this happening.) Any outside object that enters the condenser cabinet can cause damage to the motors, the fan blades, and the fan belt, impairing condenser operation.
  • Leaking refrigerant: The condenser connects to the indoor evaporator through a line that circulates the vital refrigerant between the two units to carry out heat exchange. But if the refrigerant line develops leaks, it puts the entire system in jeopardy. Refrigerant leaks can also occur along the condenser coil or at the connections to the compressor. If you notice a drop in cooling power from your AC, hear a hissing noise from the condenser, or notice frost along the unit, call for repairs immediately.
  • Electrical failures: Electricity powers the motors inside the condenser that operate the fan and the compressor. Malfunctions with the electrical relays, capacitors, or the wiring inside the motors can cause these crucial components to stop working and lower or completely stop the cooling process. The compressor failing to turn on is often an electrical issue, as is fan failure. Professional technicians will need to handle diagnosing the electrical problems that are affecting the compressor.

Air conditioners need highly trained technicians to repair them when they malfunction. Do not open up the condenser’s cabinet and try to evaluate and fix problems on your own; you will most likely make the problem worse. Instead, call Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning for skilled air conditioning repair in Chicago, IL today. We are ready with 24-hour emergency service.

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