Categories Heating & Cooling Systems

How Can I Help my HVAC System Keep Up with the Forecast?

There’s already been a bit of snow in Maryland and the temperatures just keep dropping. Can your HVAC system keep up? And how will that impact your winter heating bills?

Check out  these 4 smart HVAC usage tips to help you conserve your money and stay warm all winter long! 

Don’t Overtax Your Furnace

You may be wondering if your furnace is working when you come in from the cold and the inside of your home hardly seems warm, or you’re feeling slightly chilled. Instead of immediately turning up the heat, be patient.

While there’s no problem in increasing the temperature of your home, you should avoid massive increases and instead try to keep the heat flow as consistent as possible. If you feel the heat, your unit is working.

Many people tend to overtax the furnace in colder temperatures. This causes the internal mechanisms to wear out and ultimately break, which can result in costly furnace repairs. Heavy furnace usage (beyond what’s necessary) also drives up your gas and electricity costs. 

Insulate Your Home

Remember, the furnace works partially by keeping cold air out, but this work is negated by vents or gaps that allow drafts in the home. Your furnace work harder just to compensate for drafts that bring the frigid air indoors.

The more the furnace has to fight the elements, the more power it drains. You can eliminate these costs by safely insulating key areas. For example, taping gaps in the window frame or simply covering the bottom of the front door are great ways to keep the cold air out.

You can apply similar measures to other air vents as long as these areas don’t generate heat or risk catching fire. This simple, smart HVAC usage step helps your furnace use less energy while also keeping your home warmer. No more having to turn up the heat! 

Dress for the Season

One of the simplest and easiest ways to promote smart HVAC usage in winter is to simply dress warmly! Besides saving on energy costs, you’ll probably be more comfortable too.

Of course, you don’t have to wear a coat in the house — (if you do, call us!) — but wearing two layers of warm clothing, like a long-sleeved shirt and a cozy sweater, will help your body create more friction and warm you naturally.

Using hand warmers and heating pads while you work at the computer or enjoy family movie night can be an inexpensive way to beat the cold without having to overtax your HVAC system. When you do go out, you will want to layer up and dress for colder conditions so that when you return home, your core body temperature can readjust more quickly without having to turn the furnace up! 

HVAC maintenance is key 

In addition to the other power saving strategies, keeping your HVAC unit and furnace well-maintained is the best way to stay ahead forecast cold. Your HVAC system is the primary source for heating and cooling your home, so ultimately, you need it to last and perform effectively.

Regular maintenance is the most cost-effective and proactive step to guarantee the safety and sustainability of your HVAC system. This is even more critical in the months leading up to periods of intense weather!

Working with certified professionals like Exxel helps you ensure that your HVAC system is equipped to keep the house warm without compromising functionality. Our maintenance also saves you money, time, and energy costs in the long run by helping you avoid costly damages or the need to replace the unit(s). Excel also specializes in assessing your energy use and home layout to provide the best solutions for HVAC performance and energy-saving strategies. 

Are you experiencing furnace and HVAC problems or concerned about the upcoming winter weather? We offer free consultations to examine your system and give you the best options for quality HVAC performance. Did we mention we also have flexible maintenance plans? Give us a call at (443) 821-1040 to get started!

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems

What is the Life Expectancy of My HVAC System?

As the temperature dips, you may be wondering whether your HVAC system is ready for another winter. Maybe it seemed to be having difficulties in the heat this past summer and you aren’t sure how it’ll handle the ups and downs of the coming seasons.

Inevitably, every homeowner has to consider how long their HVAC system will actually last. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to that question, since HVAC life expectancy can depend on several factors. However, there are ways to extend the life expectancy of your HVAC system, which will save you a lot of money in the long run and keep you comfortable too.  

Is there a general life expectancy on my HVAC system?

Based on the specific unit you have, the manufacturer may include an estimated life expectancy. However, this is just an estimate. An overall estimate could be up to 15-20 years or more based on the model and use.

Keep in mind that each unit is actually pretty unique in the sense that it will run and be strained according to your individual needs and home environment. These are just two factors that can actually decrease the life expectancy of the system.

Of course, this doesn’t account for accidents or miscellaneous component wear, or even environmental anomalies like harsh winter effects. Things can and do happen that will tax your HVAC unit to the point that it breaks down sooner than expected. Though in many cases, such damage can usually be repaired or even prevented through routine maintenance. 

HVAC maintenance: the key to extending your unit’s life expectancy

Routine HVAC servicing is a proven way to extend the life expectancy of your system. In addition to keeping your house safe, cool, and warm, you’ll find that you actually save money over time.

Regularly servicing your AC or furnace units with trained professionals helps you stop minor wear or component issues from escalating into expensive problems. The last thing that you want is to replace an HVAC unit that you’ve only had for a few years, due to a simple oversight!

Repairs get more expensive if not addressed immediately to prevent further degradation. Take the time to ensure that your HVAC unit is properly maintained so that you can enjoy much better use out of the HVAC system as a whole. 

Here are a few basic HVAC maintenance points to check regularly:

  • Clean or change air filters
  • Lubricate all motors and bearings (If necessary)
  • Tune-ups
  • Change refrigerant insulation whenever necessary
  • Check for worn bearings in all motors 

HVAC maintenance is highly preventative in nature because this ensures that critical systems are working effectively so that the whole unit is functional. And of course, your chosen HVAC Specialists are solving immediate mechanical problems affecting you in the present. Remember, it’s cheaper to maintain than it is to replace!

Extend the life expectancy of your HVAC system with Exxel
At Exxel Mechanical Services, we offer our Silver and Gold plans to provide flexible pricing options and specific HVAC services for you to choose from. Not sure what your furnace or AC unit needs? All our services come with a free inspection so we can fully evaluate your HVAC system(s) and provide the best solutions to keep your equipment running safely and effectively.

Get ahead of the cold and contact us today or give us a call at (443) 821-1040

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems

Air Conditioner Science: Do air conditioners bring in fresh air from outside?

The science behind air conditioners is fascinating, yet most consumers don’t actually know how it works. The internal mechanics of the air conditioning unit dictate not only how it functions, but also gives you insight on how to maximize your equipment for the best experience possible. Want to keep your air conditioner in top shape? First aim to understand how the air conditioner manipulates the atmosphere within your home.

Do Air Conditioners Bring in Fresh Air from Outside?

The way an air conditioner cools the air in your home is not achieved by moving cool air into the house, as most people think. Instead, air conditioners work by moving unwanted heat outside of the vicinity. This is done by the compressor in the unit which literally pumps the hot air away. The process of moving heat is referred to as thermo dynamics. The compressor is aided by the air conditioner refrigerant system which simultaneously cools the house and preserves the desired temperature.

What’s the Role of the Air Conditioner’s Refrigerant?

While the compressor pumps out heat, the refrigerant performs a more complicated process of thermodynamics – called the refrigerant cycle – that revolves around pressure and temperature change. The refrigerant itself is a fluid substance that is circulated by the compressor to cool hot air in a way that the heat doesn’t rise in the home. Essentially, the refrigerant captures and holds the hot air, then cools the house by converting the hot air into vapor or liquid. This liquid is then forced into the evaporator coil, or cooling compartment. After that, the liquid is then expelled outside of the unit as a low-pressure gas. The process repeats as needed to combat increasing temperatures and humidity. Let’s look at a breakdown of this cycle:

  1. The heat is circulated into the air conditioner unit by the compressor and is then passed to the refrigerant.
  2. The refrigerant absorbs the hot air, making its own temperature increase.
  3. Hot air is moved outside and remains there as the compressor and refrigerant work to evaporate the heat.
  4. The refrigerant then cools as the warm air dissipates and is expelled as vapor.
  5. The other air conditioner components distribute this cooling affect throughout the house and the space is cooled.

If we think about a sweating athlete, it’s a similar concept. The heat built up by exercise and internal body mechanics but is then cooled by sweat outside of the body. Of course, the liquid and residual condensation generated by this process is all contained in the air conditioner unit. If there is leaking in the home, then the conditioner needs repair.

Benefits of Air Conditioner Maintenance

This technology is pretty efficient, but it isn’t impervious to the general wear and tear of everyday life. The general lifespan and maintenance requirements can vary depending on your air conditioner’s model, but you should always be mindful of its performance. Even something as simple as a rattling sound could indicate a loose coil or damaged compressor that needs to be repaired. Leaking can indicate that the refrigerant fluid needs to be replaced as well. And there are several other signs of air conditioner may need repairs or replacement.

To keep your house cool and avoid more costly repair fees, get your air conditioner looked at sooner rather than later. Allowing damages to continue, could force you to pay up to $12K or more to replace the unit entirely. Save yourself the time, headache, and discomfort of this by working with HVAC specialists to get the help you need.

At Exxel Mechanical Services, we’re committed to the safety, quality, performance of your air conditioner to give you the most value from your unit as possible. Please Contact us  today to hear about our flexible maintenance plans providing regular, cost-effective services or call us today for a consultation at: (443) 821-1040.

For all AC repairs or replacements, stay cool, we’ve got you covered.

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems, Installation

How to decide whether to replace or repair your AC?

It’s the middle of a hot and humid Maryland summer and you still can’t seem to cool off. If you’re wondering whether there’s a problem with your air conditioning (AC), there probably is. If issues with the AC are a continual ordeal you may want to consider whether to replace or repair your AC. 

Signs You Need to Repair your AC

Generally, if the air in your house feels stale or you’re still hot despite attempts to cool down, this could indicate problems with the air conditioning. The severity of repairs can vary, so if you’re experiencing multiple problems or recurring issues this could indicate more extensive unit damage. If you are experiencing AC problems, professional help is always a good investment to ensure lasting comfort. Don’t forget that repairing your AC unit can also halt further property damages such as mold. Initiating repairs early can also preserve the life of the unit overall, saving you money in the long run. Here are several signs that indicate a need for repair:

Continuous Heat and Humidity

An obvious sign of a faulty AC unit is that your home can’t seem to remain cool. If the air is stagnant or humid, or if the AC unit is only producing warm air, this indicates that your AC is not up to capacity as well. If this is occurring, the compressors or AC ventilator could be damaged, requiring specialist attention.

Foul Smells

If your AC unit gives off an odor, this is also a sign that it’s time to get it looked at. Dust and possibly bacteria build-up can lead to mechanical problems that could also lead to other damages in the house.

Leaking AC Unit

if your AC unit is dripping water, seek out an AC specialist for a consultation. Most AC units use refrigerants to cool your home, which sometimes creates condensation as it works against hot conditions. A functioning unit should not allow leaking fluids though, so this could indicate that the mechanics of the unit are weakening.

No Circulation

If your home is warm and there is infrequent or no air circulation at all, clearly your air conditioner is not operating at maximum capacity. The issues causing this could range from mechanical problems like a damaged motor, or a filter is simply clogged.

Rattling

If you hear rattling or other strange noises coming from the AC unit, this often indicates that the internal mechanics may be loose or on the verge of fracturing. Larger noises can also signify internal deterioration. The more these noises occur, the greater the risk of damage, so you’ll want to address any persisting rattles as soon as you can.

Signs You Need to Replace Your AC

All the indications that your AC unit needs repairs can also indicate more underlying issues that necessitate replacing the entire unit altogether. The main focus of determining whether replacement is a better option than repair is in how bad the damage and recurring issues are. Ask yourself whether AC problems are frequent and/or are getting worse. If you’re paying more and more for AC repairs, the efficiency of your air conditioning system isn’t sustainable, so this will just increase your costs and discomforts.  At this time, it’s best to just replace the unit altogether.

AC units typically need to be replaced every 15 years. However, each unit is different so be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations concerning system lifespan. Remember, if you’re spending more on energy just to power a faulty AC unit, it’s time for a new, more efficient system.

Use Air Conditioning Specialists

Secure the best value and performance from your air conditioning by working with seasoned HVAC professionals. AC units are complicated. Trying to fix the unit yourself without the proper training might just add to the damages and maintenance costs. Not to mention, you risk you and your family’s further comfort. Contract with trusted professionals to give you definitive guidance on whether your AC needs to be repaired or replaced. Save money, stay cool. It’s that simple.

Exxel Mechanical Contractors, is your trusted source for all heating air conditioning needs. We’ll help keep your house comfortable in summer while saving the most money possible. Repairs or replacements, stay cool, we’ve got your AC covered. Contact us today.