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Why Is My Air Conditioner Making Weird Noises?

October 10, 2017 12:01 pm : Uncategorized

There’s nothing like sitting down to dinner after a long day and hearing what sounds like the faint wail of a trumpet or trombone, perhaps punctuated by intermittent clicking or clanking sounds. But this is no orchestra that is soothing you—it’s your air conditioner.

As worrisome as these unusual noises can be, they’re actually a good thing. Aside from the vehicle parked in your garage, your central air conditioner is the most complex piece of machinery in your home. And like your vehicle, when something is wrong with it, it makes noise. Air conditioner noise is like a cry for help—and it’s a cry that Shamrock Heating & Cooling knows how to answer while putting your questions to rest and your mind at ease.

Air Conditioner Noises You Can Hear Inside

You can trace most air conditioner noises to one of three places:

  • The indoor unit
  • The ducts
  • The outdoor unit/compressor

Indoor noises are generally softer than outdoor noises. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Any noise is a sign of trouble and that a repair is necessary. The three most common indoor noises include:

  • Clicking, which could signify a faulty thermostat.
  • Hisses or whistles in the ducts. Some noise is common in metal ducts, as air moving through them causes expansions and contractions. But steady, low-grade noise often indicates air leaks, which will undermine the efficiency of your air conditioner and cause you to waste money on conditioning air that you cannot enjoy. Some noises—such as fluttering and gnawing—are often the result of a trapped insect or animal, such as a wasp, bird, or mouse.
  • Rattles, which usually point to a problem with the fan.
  • Squealing, which often means the blower motor is faltering.

Outdoor AC Noises that You Can’t Ignore

Outdoor noises are more likely to cause you to drop your dinner fork and dash off to investigate. When you do so, turn off your air conditioner and call Shamrock Heating & Cooling. We’ll be able to diagnose the problem based on what we hear and what we see:

  • Banging suggests just what you might suspect: a part is loose or broken. Often, that part is a connecting rod, crankshaft, or piston pin.
  • Clanking—perhaps combined with banging—also indicates a loose part. Sometimes, it means that the fan and its blades have fallen out of balance and are hitting other parts. In the worst scenario, the compressor itself is “clanking around,” which almost always calls for a replacement.
  • Hissing or bubbling, which you may be able to see if refrigerant is leaking.
  • Humming or buzzing noises are often the result of an electrical problem but require a close inspection to determine the root cause. The fan motor could be faltering. The copper lines could be rubbing against something. A part or wiring may have come loose. Dirt and debris could be interfering with this complex piece of machinery.
  • Screaming, singing, or whining noises can be triggered by a refrigerant leak or excessive pressure in the compressor. This can be dangerous, so if you’ve forgotten to turn off your air conditioner, be sure to do so now before calling Shamrock Heating & Cooling.
  • Trombone- or trumpet-like noises are usually orchestrated by leaky refrigerant valves.

For air conditioner repair in Tempe, Chandler, and the surrounding areas, contact Shamrock Heating & Cooling today!

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How Humidifiers Help Asthma in Arizona

September 29, 2017 11:53 am : Uncategorized

Asthma can be aggravated by dry air, which irritates the lungs and can cause inflammation that makes it more difficult to breathe. Both furnaces and air conditioners can draw moisture from the air, and when combined with the already arid climate of Arizona, this can create a real problem for asthma sufferers. Adding a whole-home humidifier can reduce asthma symptoms by adding moisture to the air in your home and maintaining healthy humidity levels.

What Is the Best Humidity Level for Your Home?

Ideally, a home’s humidity level should be between 30 and 50 percent for the best indoor air quality and comfort. Lower humidity levels can make it feel colder in the winter, while promoting the spread of viruses like the flu, aggravating asthma symptoms, and irritating the skin. Higher humidity levels can make it feel hotter in the summer, while encouraging infestations of pests like dust mites and promoting the growth of mold and mildew. In areas like Phoenix and Tempe, the humidity is often below 20 percent, and furnaces or air conditioners can reduce it even more.

The Benefits of a Whole-Home Humidifier

To add moisture to your indoor air, you can install a whole-home system to keep your entire house at a healthy humidity level. Compared to portable models, whole-home humidifiers have many benefits, including:

  • Greater capacity, allowing one machine to serve your entire home
  • More precise control over humidity levels for better health and comfort
  • Less maintenance
  • Permanent installation, eliminating the need to monitor water levels

Portable humidifiers tend to require constant monitoring of water levels, frequent cleaning, and periodic disinfection to prevent problems and the spread of disease, and they usually serve only one room at a time. Whole-home systems are installed and maintained by a professional, reducing the burden on the homeowner, while making the entire home more comfortable, especially for those who suffer from asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions.

Whole-Home Humidifier Installation in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona

At Shamrock Heating & Cooling, we can help you make your home more comfortable and reduce asthma symptoms with whole-home humidifiers from the top manufacturers in the industry. We offer humidifier installation, repair, and maintenance services, and our team can help you choose the best model for your needs and your budget. Since 1996, we have been providing air conditioning, heating, and indoor air quality services to homeowners throughout Tempe, Phoenix, and the surrounding areas, and we feature friendly, knowledgeable technicians with the latest industry training and certifications.

Contact Shamrock Heating & Cooling today at 480-755-7959 to learn about our available whole-home humidifiers or to request an installation quote!

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Why Your Indoor Air Quality Matters

September 22, 2017 12:09 pm : Uncategorized

You might be a true outdoor lover—someone who spends as much time as possible relaxing, eating, socializing, and maybe even working outdoors in the Arizona heat. But if you added up the hours, you probably still spend the vast majority of your time indoors.

At least, this is the conclusion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which continues to caution that indoor air is more harmful to breathe than outdoor air. Specifically, the EPA says that “studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times—and occasionally more than 100 times—higher than outdoor levels.”

Healthy adults should be proactive about the quality of their indoor air because it affects every aspect of their lives. People who suffer from allergies, asthma, sinus problems, regular headaches, and upper respiratory infections need to be even more vigilant—and Shamrock Heating & Cooling can help.

Why Healthy Air Matters

Most people take between about 17,000 and 23,000 breaths a day. And most of these breaths—about 90 percent—take place indoors. Of course, you probably take this natural function for granted. But maybe you shouldn’t since the air you breathe can:

  • Impact your quality of living, considering that the three most toxic indoor pollutants are carbon monoxide, radon, and secondhand smoke.
  • Affect respiratory health and instigate allergy and asthma symptoms.
  • Alter the frequency, intensity, and longevity of colds and viruses—especially symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and ear, nose and throat irritation.
  • Influence the quality of your sleep, which researchers agree is tantamount to good health.

Step into Gear to Improve Your Indoor Air

As dire as the consequences may seem, they also can be viewed as incentives to improve the quality of your indoor air and begin doing so today. You can make noticeable improvements when you attack:

  • Airborne particles by checking your HVAC filter once a month and replacing it when it is clogged with dust and dirt.
  • Carbon monoxide by ensuring your home is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, preferably close to the furnace. All gas furnaces release carbon monoxide, but a faltering furnace can emit toxic levels.
  • Dust mites by washing bedding—sheets, pillowcases and blankets—in hot water at least twice a month.
  • Gas-powered tools by operating them in wide open outdoor spaces (and far away from your home’s open doors and windows).
  • Insects and rodents by keeping counters and floors free of food crumbs and particles.
  • Mold in bathrooms by running exhaust fans while bathing and showering, promptly mopping up water spills and spraying showers with a 50/50 combination of white vinegar and water once a week.
  • Outdoor allergens and dirt by requiring residents and visitors to remove dirty shoes at the door.
  • Pet dander by bathing your furry friend once a week and regularly vacuuming his or her favorite resting place.
  • Radon by hiring a certified professional to test your home or testing it yourself with a radon kit available at home improvement stores.
  • Secondhand smoke by prohibiting smoking (or at least ushering smokers outdoors).
  • Volatile organic compounds from aerosol sprays and household cleaning products by replacing them with natural cleansers, such as baking soda and vinegar and water.

Ventilating your home by opening the doors and windows to let that comparably fresh air in. You can do that right after you call Shamrock Heating & Cooling for indoor air quality service. We’ll be happy to show you how air cleaners and humidifiers can help improve the quality of your home’s indoor air so that you can start breathing easier today.

For professional indoor air quality services in the Tempe area, contact Shamrock Heating & Cooling today!

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What to Do If Your AC Is Leaking

September 10, 2017 11:34 am : Air Conditioning

A water leak is never a good thing in your home, as it can cause significant damage to drywall, wood, and insulation, while also encouraging mold and mildew growth. If water is leaking from your air conditioner, it typically indicates that there is a problem with the condensate drain, though it may also be caused by a clogged air filter, duct obstructions, or low refrigerant levels.

Here are some possible reasons why your air conditioner might be leaking:

Condensate Drain

As an air conditioner cools your home, it also draws moisture from the air, reducing the humidity. This moisture collects on the cool surface of the evaporator as the air from your home is blown over it. Normally, the moisture falls harmlessly into a drip tray below the evaporator, and it is disposed of through a condensate drain that leads outdoors or into your home’s drain system. If the drip tray is damaged or the condensate drain is clogged, water can leak from the AC unit.

Check the drip tray for corrosion, cracks, or other damage, and have a professional repair or replace it, if necessary. If the drip tray is not damaged, or it has standing water, the condensate drain may be clogged by algae or debris. Use a shop vacuum, compressed air, or a thin, flexible wire to dislodge any clogs. If your AC unit is located in a basement, a condensate pump may be necessary to remove the water from the drip tray. Make sure the pump operates as the  tray is filled, and if not, have it replaced.

Clogged Air Filter or Duct Obstructions

A lack of airflow over the evaporator can allow it to become too cold, causing the condensed moisture to freeze. Once the air conditioner cycles off, this ice can melt, spilling water from the AC unit. Typically, a lack of airflow is caused by a dirty air filter, blocked return vents, or obstructions in the air ducts.

Check the air filter and replace it, if it is dirty or clogged. Make sure nothing is blocking the vents in each room and that no debris has fallen into any floor ducts. Look inside all the other ducts for obvious problems, such as foreign objects or damaged zoning baffles. If you cannot find any obstructions, have an HVAC professional inspect the AC and duct system.

Low Refrigerant Levels

If there is not enough refrigerant in the system, the pressure may drop, preventing the refrigeration cycle from operating properly. This can cause the evaporator to freeze, and when it eventually thaws, water will leak from the AC unit. If you suspect there is a refrigerant problem or have witnessed a  leak, call a professional to inspect the system, repair any leaks, and add refrigerant, if required.

AC Repairs in Tempe or Phoenix, Arizona

For help with a leaking air conditioner, contact our team at Shamrock Heating & Cooling today. We can find the cause of the leak quickly and offer the best repair options for your needs. Since 1996, we have been providing quality home comfort services to customers throughout Tempe, Phoenix, and the surrounding areas.

Contact Shamrock Heating & Cooling today at 480-755-7959 for fast, reliable AC repairs in Tempe, Chandler, or Ahwatukee!

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Ways to Keep Cool in the Arizona Heat

August 26, 2017 12:02 pm : Air Conditioning

Living in Tempe or Phoenix means year-round heat. Sometimes, temperatures will reach unsafe levels, and quite quickly. It is vital to know how to keep your body at a safe temperature to avoid dangerous situations. Here are some tips to staying cool and safe in the hot summer months.

Learn the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

One of the most important things to know when living in a hot climate is the signs of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is the first sign of a serious problem, and if you don’t take proper measures to cool the person off, it can lead to heat stroke. Here are some warning signs from the Red Cross that mean it’s time to cool off:

  • Heat cramps in the legs or abdomen
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Pale skin that is cool or moist
  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Weakness

If you see someone experiencing these signs, move them to a cooler location, loosen tight clothing, and mist them with water. Offer small amounts of cool water to drink if possible. Watch the individual closely for signs that the illness is getting worse. Avoid heat exhaustion by staying inside when temperatures are too high, and keeping hydrated and well-fed.

Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day

On extremely hot days, try to stay indoors if possible in an air conditioned location. If you must go outdoors, avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day from 10:00AM until about 3:00PM. If you want to do any physical activity outside besides swimming, or be outside for an extended period of time, schedule it in the cooler morning time or later in the evening.

Wear the Right Clothing

Your clothing can actually help keep you cool. The CDC recommends loose fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing. Breathable cotton can be one of the best options for clothing. Moisture-wicking fabric can also help. Dark colors aren’t preferable, because they absorb heat and trap it on your body. Consider a cooling shirt or towel that has special temperature-reducing properties.

Stay Hydrated

When you’re hot, your body loses water quickly to sweat. Staying hydrated helps keep your internal temperature where it should be, and also helps avoid additional health concerns. Make yourself drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before bed can also help keep you cool by replenishing the water lost when you sweat during the night.

Take a Cool Shower

If you’ve been outside in the heat, turn the temperature on your shower down. A cool shower can rejuvenate you quickly, as it reduces the core body temperature while also getting rid of the sweat.

Keep Your AC Maintained

Make sure you keep your air conditioner maintained before Arizona heats up for the summer, because you are going to want to be confident that it is working well. A tune-up will ensure all moving parts of your unit are functioning properly, which will help keep you cool through the highest temperatures.

Contact Shamrock now for AC maintenance in Tempe and Phoenix!

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Does the Brand of My Air Conditioner Really Matter?

July 31, 2017 11:32 am : Uncategorized

Replacing your air conditioner is no small decision. There are so many factors to consider: size, efficiency, brand, price…it can be hard to know where to start! This is also likely to be an unanticipated, time-sensitive purchase if your air conditioner suddenly broke down, which only adds to the pressure of the decision.

Shamrock Heating & Cooling is here to answer your questions about choosing your air conditioner brand. We promise to work with you to find the best cooling solution for your individual needs.

Contact us today for air conditioner replacement services in Tempe and Phoenix!

How to Choose Your Air Conditioner

Sizing

Did you know that your air conditioner can be too small OR too big for your home? A unit that is too small won’t be able to adequately cool your space, but a system that is too large will cycle on and off too often, leading to uneven temperatures and excessive humidity. You should consider the following when sizing your unit:

  • How many people live in your home
  • Square footage
  • How many floors you have
  • How many rooms you have
  • Insulation

Once we have these figures, we will be able to make an informed decision on what size unit will best suit your home.

Efficiency

When you run your air conditioner as often as we do in Arizona, efficiency is everything. An efficient unit will pay off significantly in energy cost savings. Luckily, the HVAC industry is aware that consumers want efficiency and have made some significant advancements over the past decade.

Efficiency is measured by a unit’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). The U.S. Department of Energy has established SEER 13 to be the minimum rating for an air conditioner. The rating scale goes all the way up to 21, with most high-efficiency units falling between a rating of 16 and 19.

Many of these newer units are also “smart” and can be installed with a programmable or smart thermostat. These thermostats enable you to create a schedule for your unit so that your air conditioner isn’t running at maximum capacity all day. You can set it to run around your work schedule so that your energy usage is reduced but your home remains comfortable. Smart thermostats go one step further to learn your habits so that it can advise best how best to use your energy. You can also access control to a smart thermostat from your phone for ultimate convenience.

Schedule Air Conditioner Replacement in Tempe

We work with top brands in air conditioning to bring you the best products to keep your home cool and comfortable. These brands include:

We will work with you to find the best air conditioner for you and your home’s unique needs. The most important element in any air conditioner installation is that the technician has the experience and skills you need-—and you can count on Shamrock to get the job done well!

Call us at 480-755-7959 to schedule AC replacement services in Tempe now!

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How to Lower Your Energy Bills

July 19, 2017 5:53 am : Uncategorized

In Tempe, air conditioning is a year-round tool which can lead to costly electric bills. What can you do to ensure you aren’t paying more than you should to cool your home? At Shamrock Heating & Cooling, we want you to enjoy comfort in your home without worrying about high cooling costs. The good news is that there are small, simple changes you can make to lower your cooling costs and reduce those bills.

If you are interested in air conditioning maintenance to keep your unit running smoothly and avoiding unusual spikes in cooling costs, contact Shamrock today! Give us a call at (480) 755-7959 to schedule an appointment. 

Here are three proven strategies you can use to lower your energy bills by reducing your cooling costs:

Program Your Thermostat

Is your thermostat programmable? If not, we strongly recommend investing in one and then taking the time to learn how to program it effectively. Programming your thermostat enables you to avoid excessive cooling when you’re not actually home, which leads to significantly lower your energy bills.

Consider times when your home could be set to a higher temperature than normal. Do you leave all day for work? Change the temperature. Do you go to sleep at the same time each night? Set the thermostat so it raises the temperature after you’re asleep. Are you going on vacation? Set the thermostat so that you aren’t running the air conditioner like you’re at home even though no one is there. Even just a few degrees of adjustment will make a tremendous difference in your energy bills.

Flip the Switch

Turn off the lights in rooms you aren’t in and lights you don’t use to decrease your energy use. Doing so can also lower the temperature of the room, as the lights won’t be radiating extra heat into the room. The US Department of Energy recommends turning off the light if you’re going to be out of a room for 15 minutes or more.

When flipping the switch, flip the ceiling fan on too, but only while you’re in the room. This will help circulate the air so you feel more comfortable with a higher thermostat setting. However, this effect is only helpful when you are in the room. When you leave the room, turn the fan off.

Regular Air Conditioning Maintenance

Finally, make sure you’re investing in maintenance for your air conditioner. Regular maintenance will help ensure your unit is working at optimal efficiency which will contribute to lower energy bills. At Shamrock, we recommend having your air conditioning system maintained and fine-tuned at the beginning of the cooling season before you turn your unit on for the first time.

Schedule AC Maintenance in Tempe

If your energy bills have been steadily increasing and your unit hasn’t been serviced in the past year, contact Shamrock Heating & Cooling! Our experienced technicians will take a look at your air conditioner and see why your unit might not be running as optimally as possible. We know the Arizona heat demands top-notch air conditioning year-round and we are dedicated to keeping you cool through the worst of the summer heat.

Contact us today to schedule AC maintenance! We service Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Glendale.

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5 Common AC Problems You Can Avoid

June 20, 2017 5:53 am : Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is a must for home comfort and good health here in the greater Phoenix area—so avoiding air conditioner problems is well worthwhile. Annual preventative maintenance from your local HVAC company can help you prevent cooling system problems such as the following.

Ready to schedule air conditioner maintenance for your AC unit? Contact Shamrock Heating & Cooling today!

Proper Maintenance Keeps Your Arizona Home’s AC Going Strong

During annual professional HVAC maintenance, our skilled technician inspects your air conditioning system. We’ll check the function of your system, look for worn components, plus clean and lubricate all moving parts. This helps us to prevent (or catch early) common cooling system issues like:

  1. Refrigerant leaks: With regular maintenance, our tech checks refrigerant pressure and locates the source of any leak for repair. Then we recharge your cooling system with refrigerant to restore its cooling ability (and your home comfort).
  2. Coil problems: A frozen evaporator coil or dirty condenser coil can render your AC less efficient, raising energy bills and cooling your home inadequately. Even worse, coil issues can make your equipment old before its time, leading to early replacement or complete cooling system breakdown. To avoid these expensive problems, your HVAC tech cleans your coils and checks system function at every maintenance visit.
  3. Faulty fan: One fan circulates your home’s warm indoor air over the evaporator coil for cooling. Another fan blows warm air to the outside. Air conditioner problems that affect your fans include neglected lubrication, dirt buildup in the system, worn out belts, and more. When fans break down, you’re headed for catastrophic compressor failure and great expense to get your air conditioner running again. Luckily, these fan-killing issues are preventable, with our expert maintenance each spring—designed to get your AC ready for summer use.
  4. Leaky duct system: Your Tempe area home’s ductwork can begin leaking from issues like rodents or simple aging. This creates energy waste, high utility bills and overworked air conditioning equipment (which may need early replacement or major expensive repairs.)
  5. Blocked drain lines: If your cooling system’s condensate drain clogs or the drain pan overflows, water backs up and can damage your system. Water damage may spread to walls, ceilings, and furniture, leading to structural rot and mold.

Schedule AC Maintenance for a Cool, Trouble Free Summer in Tempe, AZ

Greater Phoenix homeowners, if your air conditioning system hasn’t been inspected, cleaned, lubed, and tuned up yet this year, contact Shamrock Heating & Cooling! We’ll help you prevent common AC problems. Call 480-755-7959 today to schedule an appointment!

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Why Does My Furnace Smell Bad?

January 23, 2017 6:49 am : Uncategorized

Unusual smells in your home are usually a sign that something’s wrong. Sometimes it’s just an over-ripe garbage bag, but when the smell is coming from your furnace, then it’s time to dig a little deeper. Here are some smells you can experience from your furnace, and what they might mean for your home.

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Should You Replace Your HVAC System?

December 15, 2016 9:50 am : Uncategorized

Every day your HVAC system works hard to keep your Tempe home comfortable. It’s easy to forget about how hard it’s working, day in and day out, to protect the comfort of your home. Yet over time certain signs should not be ignored, as they may indicate that it’s time to start thinking about replacement!

If you’re noticing some of these signs, then it may be time to consider calling Shamrock Heating & Cooling for HVAC replacement.

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