Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio’

Common Furnace Safety Malfunctions

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Gas-powered furnaces have a bit of an unfortunate and unfair reputation as dangerous heating systems. Furnaces did once present numerous hazards, but that was decades ago. Current furnaces come equipped with numerous safety precautions to make them as benign as possible. As long as you maintain your furnace with yearly professional check-ups and prompt repairs, it should pose little danger to you or your family. However, malfunctions can still occur, and you should be aware of what can go wrong.

General Air Conditioning has put together a list of the more common malfunctions that can occur with a furnace that might make it unsafe. Whether it’s an emergency or not, General Air Conditioning can handle all your needs for heating repair in San Antonio, TX.

  • Thermocouple failure: The thermocouple is a device used to detect if the pilot light of a gas furnace is burning. A simple device made of two different pieces of metal joined at one end that increase in voltage as the heat around them rises. Should the pilot light go out, the voltage in the thermocouple will cease, which in turn will shut off the gas valve. This prevents unburned gas from flooding the combustion chamber and creating an explosive hazard. If a thermocouple fails, an HVAC professional will need to replace it to make sure it’s the right type and that it goes in correctly.
  • Cracked heat exchanger: Heat exchangers are metal chambers where the temperature from the combustion gas transfers to the air that blows from the furnace. If corrosion weakens a heat exchanger, it could cause cracks to appear, which will allow exhaust gas to escape: toxic carbon monoxide. Heat exchanger cracks need repairs immediately before more carbon monoxide can get out of the furnace cabinet.
  • Loose front panel door: You should never operate a furnace without its front-panel door securely in place, as this can allow carbon monoxide leaks. This panel can become loose without you knowing it. Many modern furnaces have a special safety switch that will automatically prevent operation if the panel comes loose. If this switch also malfunctions, or if you have an older furnace without this safety precaution, have repairs done immediately.

It’s a smart idea to have carbon monoxide detectors in your house—the gas is colorless and odorless, so it is difficult for humans to detect—that will inform you if there is a leak coming from the furnace. When this happens, shut off the gas to the house and call in an HVAC technician to see what malfunction in the furnace has caused the problem.

Stay safe with help from professionals; don’t try to investigate or fix furnace safety problems on your own. Call General Air Conditioning when you need experienced technicians who will put your safety first. We take pride in our history of heating repair in San Antonio, TX.

Why You Should Replace Your Heater Even If It’s Still Working Well

Monday, November 18th, 2013

It seems like a waste of money to consider a heating replacement when your current heater appears to be doing an effective job of keeping you warm. In a climate like that of San Antonio, TX though, a replacing your heater won’t often seem like much of a priority because heaters only receive a short season of work.

However, there are some good reasons to consider getting a new heater, even if there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with your current one. We’ll go over a few of those reasons here. If you need technicians to come to your house and look over your current heater and then offer recommendations, turn to General Air Conditioning. Since 1997, we’ve served San Antonio with quality home comfort.

Reasons to consider having your working heater replaced

  • Take advantage of recent advances in heating: Although your current heater may work well, you might be missing out on a higher level of comfort and energy efficiency that a more advanced heater can provide. For example, the newer heat pumps are effective at both heating and air conditioning, solving two problems at once. Zone control systems give you greater control over different regions in your home. Ask an HVAC contractor what new systems can provide that your current one cannot.
  • Your heater is very old: No heating system will last forever, and if you have a heater in your home that has reached or exceeded its expected service life time, then you may want to send it out to pasture before it begins developing malfunctions or breaks down abruptly. If it reaches a ripe old age, then you’ve already gotten more than your money’s worth from it.
  • Your heating bills are higher than before: Your heater “working well” may partially be an illusion. The heating system might can deliver you the level of warmth you want, but at the cost of working harder. If your heating bills have risen sharply and remained at this new elevated level month after month, then your heater could be signaling that it needs replacement.
  • Switch to a different fuel source: If you are thinking of changing over from using oil, propane, or even natural gas in your home, then you will have to consider getting a new heating system to match with your new fuel source.

Don’t make a move yet without the help of professionals!

It is wise to consult with HVAC technicians regarding replacing your heater in San Antonio, TX. The professionals at General Air Conditioning can tell if you will benefit from a new heater, or if your older one will continue to hold up with regular preventive maintenance. You can trust us to give you an honest answer that will benefit you and your home.

Common Winter Heating Problems to Watch For

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

When dealing with winter heating problems in San Antonio, you don’t need to worry about snow or extremely cold temperatures. But just because we enjoy a warm climate throughout much of the year and experience mild, short winters (dropping into the 40s at night is the average “worst” temperature we’ll probably experience), we still need to have reliable heaters in our home for comfort during those cooler stretches. And because we aren’t as used to dealing with trouble from heating as we are from air conditioning, it’s easy to let problems slip past us… until they turn into emergencies.

We’ve put together a short list of common problems you may encounter this winter with your heater. If you require heating repair in San Antonio, TX, contact General Air Conditioning and trust our 15 years of experience providing high quality home comfort.

Insufficient insulation

The insulation in the walls and ceilings of our home form a thermal barrier: it keeps heat outdoors during the summer, and traps heat indoors during the winter. If your home has poor insulation, heat will escape almost as fast as your heater can produce it, and you’ll discover cold rooms throughout your home. Your heater will start to overwork and soon require repairs. Make sure that you have good insulation in your walls and especially in the attic (the place where heat finds the easiest place to get out) before winter arrives.

Struggling heat pump

Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling, but in extremely cold weather they can experience trouble with heating, since they must move ambient heat from outdoors. However, this problem usually only occurs at temperatures below freezing, and San Antonio rarely experiences this. So if you find your heat pump struggling to get you warm, it probably indicates a refrigerant leak, or troubles in the compressor that takes care of the heating process. Call in a professional to find out what is ailing your heat pump.

Poor air flow

Furnaces and heat pumps use forced air to send heat around your home. During the winter, you might start to experience a decrease in the air flow coming from the vents. The usual culprit for this is a clogged air filter. If you didn’t change the air filter after the summer cooling season, it will probably have too much dirt and dust trapped in it to allow for a steady air flow. Change the filter (and remember to change it every month for the rest of the season) and have a technician inspect your heater to see if it has sustained any damage from the excess debris.

When you need repairs, don’t leave the work to inexperienced technicians or amateurs. Hire professionals, like those at General Air Conditioning. We can take care of your San heating repairs so you’ll have a warm, pleasant winter ahead.

Why Get Heating Maintenance this Fall

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Heating in San Antonio TX is a seasonal thing. We don’t use our heaters much in the summertime, when temperatures are warm, but winter nights can get pretty chilly. A good heater can make the difference between a warm, cozy night at home and an uncomfortable evening wrapped up in blankets. That’s why it pays to keep your heater properly serviced and maintained. A maintenance session entails a thorough cleaning, tightening any loose parts and generally sprucing up the unit so that it functions at maximum efficiency. That helps reduce the risk of a more serious breakdown later on.  The fall makes an excellent time to plan for maintenance. Why get heating maintenance in the fall? The answers are elementary.

We don’t see much call for heating here in the summer time, which means your heating system likely sits idle for months at a time. When you’re ready to use it again, it’s probably accrued a great deal of dust and dirt, which creates friction in the system and increases overall strain. Similarly, bolts and other small components may have come loose last winter, but haven’t been dealt with since the heater hasn’t been used. Unless you address those issues, you’ll increase the chances of a more serious repair in the near future.

The fall makes a good time to deal with that not only because it reduces the risk of a breakdown just when you need the heater the most, but it gives the technician time and flexibility to do what he needs to do. It also leaves the heater in tip-top shape before it’s needed on a daily basis, which lowers your monthly bills in addition to adding a little insurance against a larger repair bill.

Why get heating maintenance this fall? Basically because it’s close enough to winter to matter, but not so close as to inconvenience you when you need it. The good people at General Air Conditioning are standing by to help you out. We handle all matters related to heating service in San Antonio TX and can schedule a fall maintenance session to keep your furnace running the way it should. Pick up the phone and call us today.

Why Is There Ice In My AC System?

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

It kind of makes sense: ice appearing in your air conditioning system. The system is supposed to make your home cold, after all. Why should we worry about a little ice or frost on the components? In point of fact, however, ice in the system is a sign of problems that require a professional technician to resolve. When it comes to AC repairs, San Antonio residents can’t take chances, and an icy system means you should contact a reliable service to deal with it before one of our patented Texas heat waves hits. “Why is there ice in my AC system?” you ask. The answers illuminate why it’s such a problem.

Air conditioning systems depend on refrigerant gas to cool the air. The refrigerant moves through a theoretically closed system in a specified amount; the key stage in the process occurs when it enters a series of evaporator coils. The act of transitioning from a liquid to a gaseous state within the coils cools the surrounding air, which is then blown into your home with a fan.

When fissures develop in the system, refrigerant leaks out, reducing its ability to cool the air. Something similar can happen when dust coats the evaporator coils, interfering with the exchange between the temperatures outside the coil and the cooling of the refrigerant inside the coil. Either way, the result is the same: ice develops on the coils. That’s a problem for two reasons. First, the ice interferes with the cooling process, forcing the air conditioner to work harder to do its job and raising your energy bills accordingly. Secondly, when the ice melts, it can cause other problems within the system, such as overflowing the condensate pan of even shorting out electrical components.

Cleaning the ice off won’t fix the problem. Instead, you need a technician to track down the source of the leak, seal it and recharge the refrigerant to its proper levels. (If dust and dirt are the cause, it will need to be cleaned off as part of a regular maintenance session.) If you need AC repair in San Antonio, you can find an expert to help at General Air Conditioning. We know why there’s ice in your AC system, and we can resolve the problem quickly and efficiently. Give us a call today!

Why Have a New Air Conditioner Installed Before Winter?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The idea at first might seem a touch absurd: getting a new air conditioner installed in time for winter? It sounds like somebody has confused the seasons, or used “air conditioner” when they meant “heater.” But if you’re a Texas resident reading this, than you know the question isn’t that strange. In San Antonio, December has registered a record high of 90°, and February a record of 100°! Average highs for all the winter months are around the mid-60s. The winter is no season to go unprepared for the heat in Texas—so if it’s time for a new air conditioning installation in San Antonio, TX, you don’t want to wait until summer to start thinking about it.

We’ll list some specific reasons to get a new AC in your home before winter. General Air Conditioning has performed installations for many types of ACs since 1997, and we have experience you can trust when you need the job done right.

Reasons to get a new AC installation before winter starts:

Take advantage of the slow season: Installing any HVAC system in your home requires time to get it done properly. During the fall, most companies have less intense schedules because they answer fewer emergency calls. Even if you think you can get through the winter without an air conditioner (and you probably can’t), you won’t find an easier time to schedule the job than during the relaxed fall days.

Avoid unpleasant surprises from your old system: If you’re considering a new installation at all, then it means you suspect your current system is close to failing. After heavy use during the summer, that aging system will edge closer to shut down. Get the replacement work done now before an unexpected breakdown leaves you sweltering during one of those leftover summer heat waves.

Get all the kinks out of the new system: If you hire professionals with years of training to handle your installation, you shouldn’t experience many troubles with your new system over the winter. But it’s always better to have some buffer time to see that your AC is operating correctly before you really need it—and this is especially true if you’re switching to a new model of air conditioner like a ductless mini split.

In a way, it’s quite wonderful that we have to worry about air conditioning during a Texas winter; not many places in the U.S. are fortunate enough to have these kinds of balmy weather concerns. General Air Conditioning wants you to get the most out of the climate of San Antonio, TX with air conditioning installation that fits your needs and schedule. Contact us today for an appointment.

Common Air Conditioning Repairs in Late Summer

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Your air conditioning system gets a ton of use throughout the summer, keeping your home nice and cool. By the end of the summer, there are a number of issues that could have developed. General Air Conditioning offers a full range of AC repair in San Antonio and we wanted to share some of the problems that we often see towards the end of the summer.

Give us a call if you need any service for your AC.

These Things Could Be Causing Issues for Your AC System

As your air conditioning system operates it will naturally develop problems throughout its life. Here are a few of the ones that we typically see happen after lots of use in the summer.

  • Clogged air filter – Your AC uses an air filter that removes large particles like dust, insect parts or dirt from getting into the moving parts of your system. Over the summer, all the use that your system gets can cause the filter to fill up and clog. If your air filter gets clogged, it can restrict the flow of air through the system and cause huge issues like insufficient cooling, reduced efficiency, increased repair and others.
  • Fan motor problems – When your air conditioner operates, it uses a fan to pull in warm air from your home, cool it and then push it through your home. All the use during the summer can cause the fan motors to start to break down. You may start to hear noises coming from your AC’s motor, you may notice that you aren’t getting enough cool air in your home or that your system won’t turn on.
  • Compressor issues – The compressor in your AC is one of the most critical components of the system. It works constantly when your AC is running and can often be the cause of serious problems. If you aren’t getting enough cooling in your home or if you hear hissing coming from your system, it could be the compressor.

If you need any air conditioning repairs in San Antonio, make sure that the company you call is General Air Conditioning.

What Happens During an AC Maintenance Visit?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

To keep your air conditioner working—and working well—throughout a warm Texas year, you’ll need to schedule routine maintenance and tune-ups. A maintenance visit from an AC professional can help you prevent future repairs and keep your air conditioner running at its best, and that means long-term savings for you. General Air conditioning offers a superior 4-Star maintenance agreement that gives you two scheduled visits a year, and the second one is pre-paid.

The first visit you receive from a technician will be to check on your air conditioning. This is what you can expect from your San Antonio AC maintenance visit:

The technician will examine the outdoor unit of your air conditioning system, which is where the hot air absorbed from inside your home is expelled to the outside. The technician will check over all the components inside the unit to see that they are working and aren’t suffering from extra stress: the compressor, motors, fans, capacitor, and condensing coil. Then the technician will check on the refrigerant level (called its “charge”) to be certain none of it is lost to leaks. The visit will also include a cleaning of the condenser coil to make certain that no excess dirt or debris is preventing it from releasing heat into the air.

Hopefully, the technician will not find any serious faults inside your air conditioner, and will leave you with a finely tuned machine that will keep you cool for the months to come. However, part of maintenance is to detect small problems before they grow into large ones. If your technician discovers an issue, such as bent fan blades or overworked motors, you’ll receive advice on what repairs will fix the problem.

When you purchase a 4-Star maintenance agreement with General Air Conditioning, you’ll get all these services with each visit, which goes above and beyond what other contractors offer. (Many do not clean condenser coils.) We use postcards and phone calls to remind you when you’re due for regular maintenance, so you’ll never miss out on one.

When you want excellent AC maintenance in San Antonio, TX, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Benefits of Getting Professional AC Services

Monday, September 9th, 2013

In Texas, many of us take pride in doing our own repairs. When there’s trouble with the car, a clog in the sink, or a loose hinge on the door, we like to dash for our tool boxes and try to get to work on it ourselves. But when it comes to your air conditioning system, going DIY is often a recipe for further problems. You don’t want a personal fix-it job to turn into damage control that will cost you more money in the long run. You should summon trained HVAC experts to diagnose the problems, offer solutions, and then do the repairs.

For AC services in San Antonio, General Air Conditioning offers the benefits you should expect from professionals with 15 years of experience.

Here are a few of the reasons to seek professional AC Services:

Avoid further damages: The modern air conditioning system is a complex device that depends on multiple components to work in harmony with each other to cool your home. If one of these components starts to malfunction because of a faulty repair, the damage can rapidly spread to the other parts. For example, if your coolant begins to leak, it can lead to frost on the evaporator coils. A trained technician can provide pinpoint repairs to prevent any further damage and need for more repairs.

Keep efficiency high: HVAC professionals don’t just fix what’s wrong with your AC. They also keep your system working at peak efficiency levels. A technician can check the air flow of your air conditioner to see that it is performing at its best and not working harder than it should.

Expert diagnosis: Your AC is suddenly blowing warm air… what’s wrong? There could be any number of reasons, and unless you’re a trained expert, it can be difficult to determine correct cause. This is true for almost every malfunction your AC can experience, from strange noises or odors to the unit failing to turn on. Get professional help to diagnose the problem instead of guessing what’s wrong—and potentially getting it wrong!

When you are ready for professional AC services in San Antonio, whether you need to have repairs or you want to get preventive AC maintenance before problems arise, contact the experts at General Air Conditioning.

Why Does My AC Have A Strange Smell?

Friday, August 30th, 2013

There is no denying the luxury – or necessity – of a great performance from your air conditioning system during the hot summer months. The heat really lingers here throughout the cooling season, and an efficient, reliable air conditioner is a must. Unfortunately, there are numerous problems which your air conditioning system may experience which can hinder its operation and your enjoyment of its performance. Not all of these issues are as obviously serious as a complete breakdown of your system. Remember, though, that even “minor” problems with your air conditioner, such as strange odors during operation, can be indicative of serious problems.

Schedule service with the San Antonio AC repair technicians at General Air Conditioning to get to the root of your AC odor problem.

One of the reasons that your air conditioner may smell strange during operation is due to dirty air ducts. When pollutants such as microorganisms or waste from infestations build up within your air ducts, the air that is distributed throughout the ductwork can take on that odor. Not only can such materials have a negative impact on the odor of your home, but they can also aggravate allergies and other respiratory issues. Proper duct sealing or duct replacement can help keep such contaminants out of your system.

Another reason that your air conditioner might begin to give off an odd odor has to do with the air filter. If your air filter gets wet, it can take on a mildew odor. When this happens, the air circulating throughout your home can spread the odor to different areas. If condensation within your system drips onto your air filter, or if your system has iced over for any reason and the ice melts onto it, this problem can develop. By replacing your air filter and addressing the problem that led to the saturation, you can clear the air in your home.

For more information about why your air conditioner gives off an unpleasant odor, call the San Antonio AC pros at General Air Conditioning.

We can answer any questions you may have regarding problems with your AC. Contact us today to schedule service.