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Air Conditioners

Air Conditioners FAQ

Why is my indoor AC coil/pipes/compressor covered with ice?
Does my air conditioner use freon? Is freon illegal?
What can be done to fix hot spots in my house?
My air conditioner has just been diagnosed with a bad compressor. Should I repair the system or just get a new air conditioner?
What’s the difference between a heat pump and a mini-split system?
How does geothermal cooling work?
Should I get a central AC unit or a ductless system?


Q: Why is my indoor AC coil/pipes/compressor covered with ice?
A: A frozen indoor coil indicates that the refrigerant level is low, or the air filter is clogged. In either case, the coil will get colder & colder until the condensation on the coil turns to ice. This condition can be very harmful to the air conditioner, and is a common cause of bad compressors.In the event of a freeze-up, turn the system off. Check the air filter. If the filter is not clogged, the air conditioner probably needs service.


Q: Does my air conditioner use freon? Is freon illegal?
A: The current law prevents the use of R-22 in NEW systems after 2010. The law also caps production of R-22, and will result in higher prices as supply tightens. R-22 should be available to service your air conditioner for a long time to come.


Q: What can be done to fix hot spots in my house?
A: Temperature variations from room to room result when duct work is incorrectly sized. In some cases, our technicians are able to rework the duct system to improve airflow. Another solution may be to replace the windows in a hot room with Low-E glass or have the existing windows tinted. The reduced sun load will cool the room and save energy.

Q: My air conditioner has just been diagnosed with a bad compressor. Should I repair the system or just get a new air conditioner?
A: Compressors fail for a number of reasons. One of the most common is ?burnout.? In this situation, acid and burnt varnish are distributed throughout the system contaminating the indoor and outdoor coils and the refrigerant piping. This acidic oil is very difficult and costly to clean-up and will contaminate and shorten the life of the new compressor.
In a burnout situation, we recommend replacing the entire air conditioner (indoor, outdoor, and piping) to insure long life and reliability of the new system.If the compressor failure is due to broken valves, lightning strike, etc., compressor replacement is a feasible option. A homeowner should then consider the current age of the system, the energy saved by a new high-efficiency AC, and benefits of a new system warranty.


Q: What’s the difference between a heat pump and a mini-split system?
A: The main difference is that the mini split system does not contain ductwork. Each indoor unit is placed with the space you want heated or cooled, and it’s possible to add more indoor units if you make additions to your home or business. Each indoor unit contains a fan to control the airflow within its own space, and it’s therefore a good option to homeowners who only want a few rooms cooled or heated.
A conventional heat pump places the indoor unit (air coil) inside the ductwork, typically downstream from an existing furnace if it exists. The mini-split uses no ductwork at all and is therefore more energy-efficient since no air gets trapped in the ducts.


Q: How does geothermal cooling work?
A: Geothermal cooling uses the temperature of the earth to cool your home. The upper 10 feet of the earth’s surface holds a stable temperature between 50° to 61°F (10° to 16°C). Coils are buried underground to draw heat energy out of it and transfer the cool temperatures into a warmer area.
There are two methods geothermal cooling can use to cool a home—water-to-air systems or water-to-water systems. Water-to-air systems replace your central air conditioner by using a liquid coolant to transfer the energy into the air that can then be transferred into cooler air. Water-to-water systems use liquid spread throughout the building in pipes, keeping the area at a stable temperature.


Q: Should I get a central AC unit or a ductless system?
A: There is no easy answer to this question. It all depends on the structure of your home, your location, and your personal needs. If you have an older home, you may not be able to install extensive ductwork, and so a ductless system may work best. If half your family likes their bedroom cool while the other half likes it hot, you may want to use mini-split systems so each room can be set to a different temperature. If you have a newer, larger home, a central air conditioner may be the most efficient system for you to install.

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