What is a multi-zone ductless heating & cooling system?

multi-zone ductless heating and cooling system | northern virginia

In our service area of Northern Virginia, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of residential installations for multi-zone ductless heating and cooling systems.

The multi-zone ductless heating system uses one outdoor unit connected to up to eight indoor units, each one which can be adjusted. With the flexibility, these systems allow you to control each zone individually to meet the personal comfort needs of room occupants.

These systems can save up to 40% on your utility costs. The INVERTER-driven compressor technology uses the precise amount of energy needed to maintain comfort conditions in each of your “zones” or rooms.

The narrow outdoor units fit closer to the exterior wall and free up space for landscaping. The indoor units are discreet and tuck away, with several styles to choose from.

What To Do If Your Air Conditioning Is Running Non-Stop

Well, first of all, there may not be anything wrong with it. It may be that your A/C is doing what it can to cool the temperature of your space–the size of your unit may be maxed out if you have too small of a unit trying to cool a large space.

As HVAC technicians in the Northern Virginia area, we often see that a home may have a unit that is too small–but more than likely, we find that the filters haven’t been changed, or that parts of the unit have become clogged with debris and the general stuff of the outside or inside.

Sometimes some basic maintenance is all you need to help your air conditioning work more efficiently. See our short video on how to give your outdoor air conditioning unit a basic clean with a garden hose.

Most air conditioners in our area are also designed at a set point of 93ºF. That means that if it’s hotter than that outside, your unit is going to work overtime.

 

What Do HVAC Technicians Do on a Maintenance Visit?

What does an HVAC technician do when they make a maintenance visit to your home or office?

HVAC technicians install and repair industrial and commercial refrigerating systems. But a lot of what we do is regular maintenance. We observe and test system operations, using gauges and instruments, to test the health of your system and find anything that might need replaced to keep things operating efficiently.

Things we do during a maintenance visit include:

  • Test lines, components, and connections for leaks
  • Adjust valves according to specifications and charge system with proper type of refrigerant by pumping the specified gas or fluid into the system
  • Adjust or replace worn or defective mechanisms and parts
  • Perform mechanical overhauls and refrigerant reclaiming
  • Review the electrical connections and thermostat performance
  • Ensure your system is set for the upcoming season to run efficiently

Watch a quick overview of what we check during a spring or fall maintenance visit:

3 Things To Check If Your AC Is Not Blowing Cool Air

Are you getting a little hot and bothered with your AC lately?

On a hot day, the last thing you want is to walk into your house and discover that your central air conditioner has quit on you. When your air conditioner suddenly stops working, it can be cause for alarm or it can be something as simple as a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Thankfully, an AC that’s not cooling is not always an expensive repair. There can be several common issues that you can check that you can easily manage without a lot of hassle.


First, though, it’s worth noting: is the outdoor temperature above 92ºF? 

If so, then it may not be your AC that’s having a problem. There’s this thing called the “design temperature” in the world of HVAC systems: every geographical area has what’s called a “1% summer design temperature”.  It’s the temperature that your location will exceed only 1% of all the hours in a year. So, what does that mean?

Let’s say you live in a city in Florida that has a design temperature of 92º. If your AC struggles to cool your home on days that are above 92º, it’s probably because your AC unit was designed to provide optimal comfort when it’s less than 92º.

If it’s super hot and your AC isn’t cooling, it may simply be that it wasn’t designed for those temperatures. In this case, you want to add a fan to help keep your home comfortable.

However, beyond that, certain problems can prevent an air conditioner from properly cooling down your home including:

  • A dirty air filter
  • A blocked condenser
  • A refrigerant leak
  • An undersized AC
  • Leaky ducts
  • An older AC

That being said, an air conditioner that has stopped cooling may be solved by fixing one of these 3 common issues. We see this regularly with our customers, so it’s worth checking:

  1. Power issues
  2. Thermostat issues
  3. Filter issues

Power issues:

This is the simplest. Have you checked the power cord to the AC? Is it plugged in? Is the electrical outlet still active? If so, how’s the electrical fuse box? Is there a blown fuse causing the issue? Or is

Thermostat issues:

Make sure your thermostat is set to cool. Many thermostats are tricky and homeowners may be able to save themselves headaches by reading the manual. Turn the temperature setting all the way down and see if that triggers your AC unit to come on. It may be that your thermostat has an electrical issue or needs to have the batteries replaced. Can you verify that all of the wiring into the thermostat is connected properly?

Filter issues:

Your air filter is designed to trap contaminants in the air before it gets pulled into the AC system. But over time that means that your filter gets dirty and clogged. And if a dirty filter isn’t replaced, it can seriously limit your AC’s cooling power. Some units are designed to shut off automatically if the filter gets clogged.

 

Depending on the age of your unit and the level of work involved, you may want to consider updating your system. If your unit is over 10 years old, you may want to consider having an HVAC professional inspect your system and give you an idea of best options. Don’t risk damaging your investment by letting your air conditioner problem continue. We can help answer your questions if you’re unsure of the best move for your place,  your needs and your budget. If you’re in the northern Virginia area, give us a call or fill out the form here on our site and we’ll get you set!

 

Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

When it’s summer and it’s hot outside, it’s the worst time for air conditioners to stop cooling…but this is when we get the most calls, because that’s the time when you notice! There are a few ways to troubleshoot your HVAC system if your AC is not blowing cold air.

Of course, we’re going to recommend that the best way to figure out what the issue is is to contact an HVAC professional–like us! One of the main reasons is that a professional can figure out what’s causing the issue quickly and get it repaired before further damage is created. But there are a few things to know about to understand what might be happening to your system.

Common issues that cause your AC to not cool could be:

  • Power issues
  • Thermostat issues
  • Low refrigerant levels
  • Clogged filter
  • Ice buildup
  • Clogged drain
  • Dirty compressor
  • Condensate airflow switch

It could also be that your unit isn’t a fit for the space you’re using it in. Is it too small for the space you are trying to cool? Are the temperatures above normal? These can cause your AC to not cool as well, too.

 


 

One of the easiest things to check? The power. Might seem basic, but this is one of the common issues we find with our customers! If your AC is not blowing air, check to ensure that it’s plugged into the outlet correctly, and that the power cord is still intact. If the outlet and cord are fine, it could be an issue with a blown fuse in your electrical panel. Air conditioners require large surges of power, so your AC unit might have blown a fuse or tripped something (especially if you’ve had power surges or outages due to thunderstorms, etc.). Some units have overload switches built-in, so make sure you check this as well.

The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true when it comes to your air condition system! By having a professional technician like us perform annual inspections and staying on top of any maintenance issues, you can help to avoid any potential AC outages.

 

 

2 Ways To Improve Air Quality + Reduce Spread of Viruses in Child Care Centers

A recent survey found that  63% of families are uncomfortable sending their children back to day care. Fielded by Care.com of over 2,000 U.S. parents with children under the age of 16 who pay for child care.

Many families rely on child care in order to be able to go to work, but it can be a tough call to determine how risky it is to send children to school and day care.

For child care center owners and managers, there are 2 ways you can help to improve the air quality of your facility and reduce the spread of virus or illness:

There are many options within those two categories to fit your needs with budget, size and number of kids.

The first step is simply knowing what’s on the market and the features that would enhance what you have. We can easily save you time in researching…give us a call to discover how elaborate or simple a new solution can be.

How To Improve The Air Quality of Your Church During COVID-19

As our society adapts with a global pandemic, many churches, businesses, restaurants and retail stores are attempting to make it safe for people to return. We’re going out of our way now to understand how to live while remaining socially distanced.

One of the key points of focus for returning to “normal life” in some way has been with returning to places of worship.

Most churches are not naturally suited to prevent the spread of a virus, but can evolve to be able to be safer. One way a church can make a big step to do that, besides keeping people socially distanced and providing cleaning supplies, is by updating the air quality with a better filtration system. Another way is to upgrade the HVAC system in the facility, as more modern varieties include enhanced air quality features.

Viruses, bacteria, allergens, dust motes, gasses and other contaminants can circulate inside, creating breathing hazards and bad odors. The most well-insulated facilities, unfortunately, tend to trap odors, pollen and other contaminants within their airtight walls due to a lack of airflow most commonly found in older homes.

Air filters capture and remove contaminants that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, spread illness and impact air quality.

There are several types of common filters.

  • HEPA filters—remove 99.97 percent of pollution; often seen in hospitals.
  • Media air cleaners—up to 40 times more efficient than a standard air filter.
  • Electronic air cleaners—uses electrically charged, washable filters to lower pollutants.
  • Standard air filters.

A more enhanced option would be UV Light Systems. These systems give off high-intensity UV rays to eliminate bacteria, mold and viruses. The light can clean your home’s air, ductwork and heating/cooling equipment. And shrink the concentration of airborne microorganisms by 50 percent within as little as 45 minutes.

 

Do-It-Yourself: Remember this ONE Little Thing Before You Clean Your HVAC Unit

Your HVAC needs maintenance in between seasons, to make sure it is working efficiently. Stuff just naturally collects! General debris, dust, grime, bacteria, mildew and mold, pet hair and other such material build up over time and cause your system to have to work harder to do its job.

But first–this is an IMPORTANT step! Don’t forget to do this one little thing before you clean your unit. See our “Do-It-Yourself: How to Clean Your HVAC Unit Safely With a Garden Hose, Part 1” and Part 2 videos for guidance on how to do the cleaning.

 

Do-It-Yourself: How to Clean Your HVAC Unit Safely With a Garden Hose, Part 2

Your HVAC needs maintenance in between seasons, to make sure it is working efficiently. Stuff just naturally collects! General debris, dust, grime, bacteria, mildew and mold, pet hair and other such material build up over time and cause your system to have to work harder to do its job.

When this happens, it takes more energy to run. Which not only means your house takes longer to get comfortable, but also leads to increased electricity bills.

Watch Part 2 as Jason from Small Solutions demonstrates how to properly and easily clean your unit!
 

Do-It-Yourself: How to Clean Your HVAC Unit Safely With a Garden Hose, Part 1

As summer is coming, your HVAC needs maintenance in order to ensure it cools your home efficiently. General debris, dust, grime, bacteria, mildew and mold, pet hair and other such material build up over time and cause your system to have to work harder to do its job. This means that it requires more energy to run, leading to increased electricity bills. It can also compromise the overall air quality of your home.

Watch Part 2 as Jason from Small Solutions demonstrates how to properly and easily clean your unit!