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  1. Increase Air Conditioner Efficiency By Cleaning The Coils

    April 30, 2013 by admin | Category: Educational, HelpfulComments (0)

    As warm weather approaches, this is a great time to schedule your residential HVAC system maintenance to make sure your central air conditioner is working efficiently.  Keeping your air conditioner in top working order will help it last longer and reduce your energy bills.

    There are a few things you can do yourself, but don’t forget to have the system serviced by an experienced HVAC technician.  Air conditioning professionals have special equipment including gauges to check the pressure in the system that homeowner cannot do themselves.

    Due to the way that a modern air conditioning system works, keeping the coils clean and free of blockages is important toCoil-Cleaning the efficient operation of the system.  A typical residential air conditioning system has a condenser coil located in the outdoor unit and an evaporator coil installed the duct system above the furnace.

    Coolant is compressed and pumped through the outdoor condenser coil where it is cooled by blowing air across the coils.  The coolant then flows to the indoor evaporator coil where it expands and gets very cold.  Indoor air is cooled by blowing it across the coils and is then distributed throughout the home through the ducts.

    As you can see, good airflow across the coils is important to keep your system operating efficiently.  Dirt, dust, and debris that blocks airflow across the coils makes the system less efficient which means it has to work harder.  Keep your condenser coil free of dirt, leaves, grass clippings, and other debris and make sure there is at least two to three feet of space around the unit.

    Indoors, change your air filter regularly to help keep the evaporator coil clean.  If the evaporator coil becomes clogged with dirt and dust, you can clean it carefully using the brush attachment with a vacuum cleaner.  Be sure not to damage the soft aluminum fins.


  2. Quick Poll

    March 20, 2013 by admin | Category: HelpfulComments (0)

    Thank you for voting in our quick poll! We appreciate your business.


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  3. HVACR Catalog 203

    January 10, 2013 by admin | Category: HelpfulComments (0)

    We’re backed by the buying power of over 370 stores nationwide and five regional distribution centers, giving you the HVACR parts, supplies and equipment you need every day—in stock, competitively priced and ready to go.

    Browse our online product catalog by clicking on any of the blue tabs above, or view our eCatalog — a complete electronic replication of our print catalog. Then, to place an order, simply log in to your account or give us a call. Let our sales team provide the best and most knowledgeable service in the business.




  4. How to Remove a Clog and Maintain an Air Conditioning Drain Line

    November 14, 2012 by admin | Category: Educational, Helpful, InformationTags: , , , | Comments (0)

    One of the most common reasons an air conditioning service technician is called is the condensate drain line has clogged. In most cases this is a huge waste of money. The fix is often simple and special tools are not required. To make this type of service call worse, a backed-up condensate drain line is an avoidable problem. Simple maintenance twice a year keeps even the most used air conditioning condensate drain line from getting a clog.

    Over time sludge forms in an air conditioner’s drain line. This happens because the normal current from condensate is not enough to flush the line. Tiny particles form along the bottom of the long horizontal parts of the drain line. Once in a while, some sludge will break free and travel to a restriction, where it will settle. Once enough sludge particles collect in one spot, a clog is created. Then the water will back up into the air conditioning drain pan. After the pan is full, water will overflow into the house. This is when most homeowners notice the problem.

    Turn the air conditioner off at the thermostat. There is no reason to add more water to the problem. Take the panel off of the inside air conditioning unit where the evaporator coil is. Two copper lines and the drain line connect to the evaporator coil. Inspect the drain pan. If the drain is blocked, the pan will be full of water. Use a wet/dry vacuum to clean the drain pan. Place a rag over the spot where the drain line enters the pan. This will help keep the mess to a minimum later.

    Find where the condensate pipe exits the house. This is usually near the copper lines that connect to the outside air conditioning unit. Follow these lines back to the house. Look for a plastic pipe. It is usually one inch in diameter (black, grey or white). You may need to dig a small hole in the ground near the spot where the copper lines enter the house to find it. If the pipe stops underground, then this is the problem. Clean the dirt out of the end of the pipe, add a short piece of pipe and a 90-degree fitting to get the end of the pipe out of the ground. If the condensate line is not at the air conditioning unit you must walk around the house to find it. Look for a plastic pipe that sticks out of the ground for no apparent reason or a wet patch of dirt.

    There should be a 90-degree fitting at the end of the condensate drain line. This fitting should not be glued on. Remove the fitting. Often this is the place where the clog forms. If so, removing the elbow releases the restriction and the sludge will flow freely. Use a wet/dry vacuum to stuck the sludge from the pipe. In most cases, this will completely free the drain. For extreme cases a hose will be needed. This is why you put a rag in the inside unit. Turn the water hose on. Fold the hose near the drain line to stop the water. Place the end of the hose against the end of the condensate line. Release the water for ONLY ONE SECOND. Allow the water to exit the pipe. The clog should break free. If not, repeat this step. Go inside, remove the rag and add water to the drain pan. Water should flow freely to the outside. When the blockage is free, reinstall the front panel of the inside unit and the elbow on the drain line outside.

    Air conditioning condensate drain lines should have maintenance perform at least once per year, twice is better. This is a simple process. All that is needed to be done is pour 1/2 to 1 gallon of warm water down the drain. A lot of air conditioning systems have a T-fitting near the air handler. Open the top of the T-fitting and slowly pour the water down the drain. If your system does not have the T-fitting, then you must remove the evaporator coil cover to access the drain. Pour the water into the pan.

    For more information, visit Factoidz:Air Conditioning Condensate Drain Cleaning and Maintenance


  5. 6 HVAC Pocket Buddies

    November 13, 2012 by admin | Category: HelpfulTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments (0)

    Have you ever been out in the middle of a job when you realize you really need a PT Chart or a Duct Calculator? Most of us have, and getting a hold of an HVAC tool kit can sometimes be a hassle. Thanks to the development smart phone applications this should no longer be a problem for you. Here are 6 great smart phone apps that may save you from stressing out on your next job.

    1. HVAC Buddy® – This  HVAC app is a handy refrigerant and diagnostic application. If you are servicing equipment the best way to begin diagnosis and determine the proper refrigerant charge is to use HVAC Buddy®, a set of gauges, and a thermometer. This app improves accuracy and is easy to access through your smart phone.

    2. Bitzer’s Refrigerant Reference Tool – This convenient application is an intuitive saturated pressure temperature reference wheel that focuses on the most common refrigerants found in AC and refrigeration systems. Instead of scrolling through many refrigerants rarely used, this app provides users with the ability to select and arrange the refrigerants in any order.Furthermore, this is the only PT app with the ability to use imperial and metric units at the same time. And best of all… it’s free!

    3. HVAC Buddy® Psychrometric – Quickly calculate thermodynamic properties of moist air at temperatures commonly used in HVAC Systems. Given dry bulb temperature, pressure, and any one of four properties all remaining properties are calculated. Tabs allow entry of two sets of properties which can be combined with flow rates on the Mix tab to get properties of the resulting air flow. Save entry parameters and calculations via email from direct entry or your contact list.

    4. HVAC GridBuddy – GridBuddy is a tool for professional technicians to differentiate themselves from the “Gas and Go” crowd. By utilizing standard measurements and observations that should be recorded on any service ticket GridBuddy helps assess refrigerant charge, coil characteristics, total electrical demand, and total cooling capacity. Calculate baseline and incremental operating costs before, during, and after servicing. Send a summary email report of results.

    5. HVAC Buddy® Duct Calc – Are all Duct sizing calculators tedious? The wheel ductulators and computerized versions are pretty amazing but you still are left testing different combinations given a set of design parameters. Duct Calc Buddy goes just a bit further and runs through iterations to generate a list of duct sizes meeting a given friction loss, velocity, and material.

    6. HVAC ToolKit – The HVAC Toolkit from Carmel Software is the essential app for anyone in the HVAC industry. It includes a combination of most of Carmel Corporation’s individual iPhone applications including:

    1. HVAC Quick Load
    2. HVAC Duct Sizer
    3. HVAC Psychrometric Plus
    4. Steam Tables
    5. HVAC Pipe Sizer – Liquid
    6. HVAC Pipe Sizer – Steam
    7. HVAC Pipe Sizer – Gas Low
    8. HVAC Pipe Sizer – Gas High

    The “HVAC Quick Load” module allows you to quickly calculate total heating and cooling loads for a wide variety of building types.



  6. What To Do if Your Air Conditioner Freezes

    November 2, 2012 by admin | Category: Educational, Helpful, InformationTags: , , , , , | Comments (0)

    No matter how diligent you are about replacing your air conditioner filters and having regular air conditioner maintenance, there is still a chance that your air conditioner could freeze up during the summer. Before we get into how to fix the problem of your air conditioner freezing up, let’s take a look at what could cause your air conditioner to freeze up in the first place.

    What makes an air conditioner freeze?

    There are three main things that can cause an air conditioner to freeze up:

    Lack of air flow – this is the most common reason that many air conditioners freeze up. Dirty air filters or undersized ducts can limit airflow, causing the temperature of the cooling coil to drop to below freezing. Usually, changing the filters is enough to fix the problem. However, if your air conditioner is freezing up due to undersized ducts, the problem is a result of weakened airflow causing humidity in the air to build up and freeze on the coil.

    Refrigerant leaks – the amount of refrigerant in your air conditioner has to be carefully controlled if you want to keep your air conditioner running effectively. Too much, or too little, refrigerant in your system could cause your air conditioner to freeze (or not provide enough cooling).

    Outdoor temperature – when it gets especially cold at night, there is a chance that your air conditioner could freeze up. Air conditioners don’t do well when temperatures are below 60 F – if temperatures dip this low, turn off the AC and open the windows to save some energy!

    What To Do if Your Air Conditioner Freezes

    The steps you should take to fix your air conditioner if it freezes depend on the reason why it froze.

    If your air conditioner is frozen, turn it off immediately and let it defrost – this will prevent any serious damage to the system. Next, check all the air filters in your home to see if they are dirty or blocked. If they are, clean or replace them. Check back in 24 hours – if there is no more ice on your compressor, changing the filters solved the problem.

    If it’s a lack of refrigerant that has caused your air conditioner to freeze, it’s best to talk to an HVAC contractor. They will know the exact level to set your refrigerant at to ensure optimal air conditioner operation. In addition, if your air conditioner is freezing due to a refrigerant leak, they will be able to fix the problem. There’s also the chance that your defrost timer is on the fritz.

    If your air conditioner is freezing up and you don’t know why, call the experts at Magnolia Heating & Air Conditioning. We can provide air conditioner repair in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC to make sure your air conditioner stays healthy and efficient all summer long.

    For more information, visit Magnolia Heating and Air Conditioning


  7. How to Identify a Leak in Your Central Air Conditioner

    September 24, 2012 by admin | Category: Educational, HelpfulComments (0)

    A Central air conditioner or cooling system may sometimes leak water due to clogging of the drain pipe. All kinds of central AC’s produce condensate and AC’s will have a drain pan to hold the condensate. A drain pipe is attached to the drain pan which empties the condensate outside. At times due to the clogging of the drain pipe, water may leak from the AC. To find if your AC is leaking you need to look for certain aspects.

    Step 1: Checking the drain pan

    Checking the drain pan regularly will help you identify if your AC is leaking. Open your AC’s cooling coil cabinet and see if the drain pan is flooded. If it is, then you can be sure that your drain pipe is clogged and it needs to be cleared.

    Step 2: Clearing the drain pipe

    You can clear the drain pipe by using bleach and water. Otherwise use a pump and water to push water through the drain pipe.

    Step 3: Checking for water stains

    Check for water stains on the floor around the AC equipment and below the ‘A’ frame cooling coil. This will help you know if your AC has been leaking.

    Read more:


  8. How To Flush A Water Heater

    September 13, 2012 by admin | Category: Educational, Helpful, InformationTags: , , , | Comments (0)

    Flushing your water heater is a simple project.   Mineral deposits build up in the water heater causing it to run less efficiently. If you will flush the water heater once a year, you can extend its life.  See the following instructions below, followed by a step by step video that will show you exactly what to do:

    Electric water heater -Turn the power off.

    Gas water heater – Set the control knob to the pilot position.

    Cut the water supply off to your water heater.  Remove the aerator from the kitchen faucet and turn on the hot water side.  This will allow air into the water heater so it can drain.  Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and drain the water heater.  When your tank is empty you can remove your drain valve and install  a ball valve or you can try a flush with your regular drain valve.

    To flush hot water heater- turn the water supply on and off several times, each time allowing the heater to drain until its empty.

    You’ll only want to add 3 to 5 gallons each time. Do this until the water runs clear.  When you’re finished, close the drain valve and refill the tank.  Let the hot side of the kitchen faucet run until all the air is out of the line.  Replace the aerator.

    Turn the power on (electric water heater).

    Turn the control knob back to the on position (gas water heater).


    Check out this video to see exactly how to flush a water heater!

    Read more on This Old House


  9. Installing a Thermostat Guard to Prevent Tampering

    September 5, 2012 by admin | Category: Educational, HelpfulComments (0)

    If you live in a home with small children, or you share a flat with people, then you may want to consider installing a thermostat guard to prevent others from turning the dial. Children in particular are fond of playing with the thermostat dial (and covering it with peanut butter), but they may not understand why it is wrong for them to do so. In order to prevent the thermostat from being altered, and thereby risking energy waste and increased fuel bills, you could have a thermostat guard installed by a professional, or you could try doing it yourself. By following a few simple instructions, you can fit your own guard over your thermostat.

    Step 1 – Preparation

    Before you fit the guard, ensure that the thermostat is set the the right temperature for your device, and then place the guard plate over the thermostat. Ensure that the guard is in the correct place, and that it is positioned so that it covers all of the thermostat, and then drill a series of holes into the wall, using the holes in the guard as your template. You can then set the guard to one side. Remove the body of the thermostat, removing the wires as you do so using the screwdriver.

    Step 2 – Add the Wires

    Once you have marked out the position of the thermostat guard, pull the wires through the hole, and then mount the guard plate so that these wires are in front. Push the wires through the wall plate, and screw this firmly into the wall behind. You should then mount the base of the guard on top of the wall plate. Install the thermostat into the wall, so that it is sitting on the base of the guard. Wire the thermostat as instructed in the manual, keeping the wire taut and tightening the screw terminals using your screwdriver.

    Step 3 – Mounting the Guard

    You should now be ready to install the guard. Place the inner base on top of the thermostat, and screw into position. You may find some plastic anchors in your Guard kit, which should be fitted into position now. The hinge of the thermostat guard can now be attached to the ring base. Ensure that the hinge is mounted in the correct position over the top of the ring base, and swings in the correct direction. Once this is done, add the thermostat guard side and front gates. Check that these are able to swing freely.

    Step 4 – Finishing

    Once you have completed the mount, slide the cover into position against the frame, and attach the locking device to the bottom. You can then lock the guard, and remove the key. Keep the key in a safe place for future use (be careful not to lose it), and ensure that you keep the instructions for your thermostat guard, as you will not be able to remove the guard if this information is lost.

    Read more:


  10. Maintenance Checklist

    September 3, 2012 by admin | Category: Educational, Energy Efficiency, HelpfulTags: , , , | Comments (0)

    Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.

    A typical maintenance check-up should include the following.

    • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
    • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
    • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
    • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
    • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.

    Cooling Specific

    • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
    • Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
    • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.

    Heating Specific

    • Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.

    Actions To Do Yourself

    • Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.