ABC Blog

Winter Prep Tips for Your HVAC System

At ABC Houston, we understand that our friends and neighbors depend on their furnaces, boilers and heat pumps to get through the winter months. The more prepared your system is, the more comfortable you’ll be. Here are eight steps to get your HVAC system ready for the heating season.

1. Get Reversible Ceiling Fans

During the cooling season, fans help your air conditioners run efficiently by circulating the air that collects near the ceiling. During the heating season, a fan with a reverse setting can do the same for your furnace. For best results, invest in an Energy Star-rated fan.

2. Use a Humidifier

If your home has a forced-air heating system, you’ll find that your indoor air may become uncomfortably dry. A humidifier will help you breathe easier by replacing that lost moisture.

3. New Filters

A dirty filter reduces the efficiency of your furnace by blocking air flow and may lead to other maintenance … Read Full Post »

When To Replace An Air Conditioner: Signs Your AC Needs Work

When To Replace Air Conditioner

Some calls HVAC repair companies receive are emergencies: cases where a customer’s AC system has stopped working completely. With regular, correctly-performed AC maintenance, homeowners are generally able to ensure that a heating and cooling unit doesn’t experience any hiccups. Even with regular service, air conditioning repairs are sometimes needed.

To avoid an emergency that leaves you without air conditioning, there are a few warning signs you can look for to determine when to replace an air conditioner. We’ve put together a list of three common signs that your air conditioner is on the verge of a breakdown so that you better understand when the end is near.

Excessive Noise

Air conditioning units are specifically designed to run as quietly and as efficiently as possible. If your AC system has recently started making more noise than normal, it may be time to call in an expert to do a system check. There are several common … Read Full Post »

Air Conditioning History Timeline

air conditioning history timeline

It’s hard to imagine a hot Texas summer with sweltering temperatures consistently topping 100 degrees without air conditioning. As citizens of a modern world, perhaps we’ve become spoiled in our expectations of daily amenities, and this got us thinking: who was the genius that invented the modern air conditioning system?

That question turned out to be a little more difficult to answer than we thought. The “invention” of air conditioning was not so much one single “Aha!” moment, but rather several ideas over a few hundred years that got us to the modern HVAC system that we all know and love. Below is a brief air conditioning history timeline to explain how the air conditioner parts and functions have evolved.

Ancient Egypt: Where It All Got Started?

Ancient Egyptians are vaguely credited as being the first to use evaporative cooling by hanging wet cloth or reeds in windows and doorways. As the wind blew … Read Full Post »

Use the Sun to Cool Your Home This Summer

With another scorching San Antonio summer approaching, you’re probably not looking forward to seeing your electric bills escalate from using your air conditioner. We have a solution that can not only lower your power bills, but also use those sizzling rays to your advantage: a cooling system powered by solar panels.

How Solar Panels Work

Our cooling systems work with photovoltaic panels, also called PV panels, which consist of silicon and non-reflective glass. The PV panels harness and store photons from the sun’s rays and then convert these particles into electrical power. Similar to a battery, the PV panel first converts the photons into DC power, which is sent to an inverter that converts it to AC power that can be used to run an air conditioning unit, as well as other household devices.

How Solar-Powered Cooling Systems Work

Most of our residential customers choose a grid-tied PV system, which uses a combination of … Read Full Post »

Ever Heard of Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Have you ever turned your heater on as the weather cools down and been hit with an odor that is reminiscent of dirty socks? Does turning on your air conditioning in the summer months cause a smell of mildew? You may be dealing with an HVAC issue that’s commonly referred to as Dirty Sock Syndrome.

What is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Dirty Sock Syndrome involves bacterial growth that can be the result of improper maintenance of the HVAC system in a home. While the problem has been detected in heating and cooling system in all states, Dirty Sock Syndrome is most common in hot and humid climates. These types of climates give bacteria the best chance to rapidly grow inside a home.

While the odor associated with Dirty Sock Syndrome can be very unpleasant, health problems have not been connected with the HVAC issue.

Causes of Dirty Sock Syndrome

Dirty Sock Syndrome is caused by the … Read Full Post »

Stay Comfortable While Lowering Utility Bills

When cooler temperatures arrive, it can be tempting to turn up the heat in order to keep your home warm and comfortable. While raising the thermostat will keep your house warmer, you will also pay more in utility costs. However, by making some simple changes, you may be able to use less energy and still maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home. Here are a few tips for lowering your utility costs and saving energy.

Inspect Your Windows and Doors

Even the smallest cracks around your doors and windows can let cold air into your home and cause your HVAC unit to run more often in order maintain the ideal temperature. Inspect the areas around your windows and doors for signs of cracks or drafts. Sealing the area will help your unit to run more efficiently and make it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home.

Change Your Air Filters

To keep … Read Full Post »

Best Temperature For AC To Save Money: Tips And Tricks

Best Temperature for AC to Save Money

Summers in Texas are longer and hotter than in other areas of the United States. This increased use of air conditioning is one of the primary factors in the increased spending on electricity and natural gas, which means homeowners have less money to spend on other things. It’s not all bad news, though. With the help of some money saving tips and techniques for coping with increased summer temperatures in central Texas, you can save some of your hard earned income. Read on to learn more about the best temperature for AC to save money. By following these simple tips, you can have some extra spending money to use to pay for items your family will really enjoy.

Raise The Temperature

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping the indoor temperature of your home at 78 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce your electricity bill. Although this might seem high at first, it is a … Read Full Post »

Is it Worth Switching to a Tankless Water Heater?

Average Cost of Heating Water

Expenses for air conditioning and heating in San Antonio can be costly and the energy used to heat water can be expensive as well. About 20% of an average family’s energy consumption goes to heating water for household activities like dishwashing, clothes washing, showering, and bathing. Traditional water heaters that store water can cost around $450 to operate every year and about 20% of that cost goes to waste year after year. Those conventional water heaters waste energy because they keep heating water in storage tanks even when nobody is using the water.

Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

  • You may qualify for a tax credit if you install an efficient water heater in your home.
  • When you turn on a tap, a tankless unit will supply hot water within five seconds.
  • You never run out of hot water with a tankless heater.
  • A tankless heater requires much less space and … Read Full Post »

What Type of Maintenance Does My Heating and Cooling System Need?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and its affiliated programs, the average American household pays approximately $2,200 per year on energy. Nearly half of this amount, they report, is put toward the cost of heating and cooling homes. That unbelievable number, however, can be significantly lowered with proper HVAC maintenance and service throughout the year.

Higher energy bills aren’t the only consequence of infrequent maintenance work. The primary cause of equipment failure and diminished performance in heating and cooling systems is neglect. The buildup of dust and fine particles of debris that gather within ducts and equipment can cause irreparable damage to the entire system. Changing your unit’s filter regularly, particularly during the winter and summer, can help to prevent this type of damage, but filter replacement is never intended to stand in the place of professional checkups and maintenance.

Hiring an experienced San Antonio HVAC specialist is the first … Read Full Post »

Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance

Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance

There are few things sweeter than coming out of the heat into your comfortably air-conditioned home. Unfortunately, air conditioning isn’t something we often think about—that is, until it breaks down on a sweltering day.

You may not realize it, but your AC unit loses around 5% of its efficiency each year that it operates. Over time, components weaken and break down, and without routine maintenance, you could end up paying some major repair bills or having to replace the unit altogether.

Fortunately, you can keep your AC running at full capacity by simply scheduling a regular tune-up and by following an air conditioner maintenance checklist to make sure everything is working properly. Understanding air conditioner parts and functions can help with the upkeep as well. Giving your heating and cooling system a little TLC once or twice a year is important and can save you a lot of money and headaches in the long … Read Full Post »