Spring blooms mean pollen is in the air. Pollen from trees, grass, and flowers stays suspended until it settles or you breathe it in. The tiny grains can trigger allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. Pollen also settles on surfaces, so it can mix with dust and build up in your HVAC system. Therefore, numerous issues can occur when the pollen count is high.
Pollen can affect your AC when it builds up on the evaporator coil. This makes it harder for the unit to absorb heat and transfer it out of your home. If pollen settles on the condenser coil, the system will struggle to release heat, causing your air conditioner to overheat, shut down, or be seriously damaged. But here are ways to protect your AC from pollen:
One of the best defenses against pollen is a physical barrier. While it may be tempting to open windows in mild weather, closing them can keep pollen and other particulates out. Therefore, you can improve indoor air quality and get relief from allergies. The same pollen that triggers your symptoms also won’t reach your air conditioning system.
Debris, including plants, branches, and leaves, can cause pollen to blow into the outdoor condenser unit. To protect it, trim vegetation a few feet away on each side. You can also prevent plants from growing nearby by installing paver bricks or gravel around the unit.
Rinsing off the outdoor unit with a garden hose can wash away pollen and particles. If pollen settles on the unit, it can drift or blow inside. Washing the unit at medium pressure can eliminate grains, powder, and residue so they don’t cause problems.
Indoor air circulates up to six times per hour. This gives pollen plenty of opportunities to blow into your home and clog up your AC filter. Check the filter every week when the pollen count is high. Clean or replace it when the filter has a lot of buildup. The longer you wait, the more pollen, dust, and debris will collect inside.
If the filter clogs quickly, or you have allergies and indoor air quality issues, upgrade your HVAC filter. Some filters use an electric charge to attract particles. But a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will remove very fine particles, including pollen grains.
The air filter should trap most pollen in the air. However, pollen grains can still circulate and eventually settle in your ductwork. They can reenter the air supply when the AC turns on. In addition, pollen and other debris can form a coating that increases air friction, forcing your AC to work harder. Just a thin layer can interfere with airflow and prevent the unit from cooling your home efficiently.
Dry air makes it easier for pollen to remain suspended and circulate. A humidifier can increase the moisture content, which helps because moisture weighs pollen down. It also helps relieve dryness in your nose and throat which can exacerbate allergy symptoms when the pollen count is high. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, optimal indoor humidity levels range from 25% to 40%.
If your allergy symptoms are due to contamination in your AC, you may experience sneezing, wheezing, and congestion; dry, itchy skin; and possibly nosebleeds. You may feel irritation and congestion while at home that goes away when you leave. If there’s a mold or mildew smell, or dust or pollen is visibly floating in the air when windows are closed, your AC is almost certainly affected.
NexGen provides high-quality HVAC and indoor air quality services, including air duct cleaning, to protect your AC and home regardless of the pollen count. Pollen can contribute to ductwork contamination and blockages. Excessive amounts of particulates in your home can be due to poor sealing. At NexGen, we can help with all these issues and protect your air conditioning system. Call (833) 729-9735 to request service.
Without a large central AC system, parts of your home may be too hot in summer. Nonetheless, adequate cooling for every room is still possible. A standing AC unit is a convenient option. We will explain the pros and cons of a portable air conditioner, which works similarly to a central air conditioner.
A standing air conditioner can be useful whether you don’t have central AC or it does not serve a particular room. The unit operates on a smaller scale. It draws air from outside through a window, cycles it through a compressor, blows cool air inside, and exhausts hot air outside. All the unit’s working components are contained in a single housing, including coiled tubes that circulate refrigerant. A pipe or air duct allows for an exchange between outdoor and indoor air.
The benefits of using a portable AC include:
Despite their many benefits, stand-alone AC units have disadvantages worth considering. These can include:
NexGen provides a wide range of high-quality HVAC equipment. We’ll help you determine the best system for your Southern California home or business. Traditional, electric, rooftop, and ductless systems are available and we specialize in the latest air purification equipment and thermostats. Our licensed contractors can help install, repair, and maintain your heating and cooling system. For assistance from licensed, insured technicians, book your visit online or call (833) 729-9735.
If your aging air conditioner is acting up, a technician may weigh whether to repair or replace it. Air conditioning repairs can have many benefits. They can restore cooling performance, improve efficiency, and extend the lifespan of your AC. But to decide if more repairs are worth it, consider the following:
Different formulas help determine if an AC repair is worth it. Some experts say to move forward with repairs if the estimate is less than 50% of the cost of replacement. If the estimate is close, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Another method is to multiply the age of the unit by the repair cost; replace the AC if the total exceeds $5,000. Multiple repairs in one year can strain your budget. However, if the system only needs occasional repair, it’s worth it.
The age of your AC unit is a major factor in deciding whether to repair or replace it. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a central air conditioner has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.¹ In harsher climates, it may last only 10 to 12 years. But AC longevity is affected by many factors, including quality of installation and how well it’s been maintained. If it’s over 10 years old and needs major repairs, consider whether replacement is more affordable.
Annual maintenance and tune-ups can prevent many AC problems. Just by changing the filter every 1 to 3 months, keeping plants and debris away from the outdoor unit, and scheduling minor repairs when necessary, your system can last longer. But if you’ve neglected maintenance, multiple problems may be too expensive to fix.
An air conditioner’s energy efficiency has a significant impact on operating costs. In the Southern U.S., all new ACs must be rated at least 15 SEER (as of January 2023), so having a unit with a 14 to 25 SEER rating aligns with current standards. That means your 12 SEER unit that’s 15 years old costs you more money than necessary (also, consider that operating efficiency declines with age). That means upgrading to a newer, more efficient unit will reduce energy costs.
With the phase-out of R-22, Freon and the systems that run on it are becoming scarcer. Recharging an R-22 system is becoming prohibitively expensive. So is finding replacement parts for one. Therefore, you’re likely better off replacing the system with one that uses R-410A refrigerant, a more environmentally friendly option that can’t be used in older units.
If an outdoor or indoor unit was once replaced separately, the system may have kept working. But an equipment mismatch can shorten its lifespan. At the very least, it will reduce efficiency. Replacing your HVAC with a matched system will improve efficiency and have a wide range of other benefits for years to come.
Think about how comfortable you were before needing an air conditioning repair. Has your home not been cool enough? Have you noticed hot and cool spots at home? Are there humidity issues or are your energy bills getting more expensive? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to consider replacing the system or updating it to one that supports variable speed technology or zoning.
Even if you could afford another AC repair, what if rebates, tax credits, or other financial incentives can save you more? Manufacturers, utility companies, and local government agencies across the U.S. offer financial incentives for installing high-efficiency equipment. The amount you can save on an air conditioner varies from company to company and region to region. You may save a few hundred or thousands of dollars by replacing your AC.
Whether you base your decision on cost calculations or how your AC is performing, the decision to repair or replace it comes down to your unique situation (unless the system has completely failed). We believe in providing the knowledge to make informed decisions. Air conditioner repairs are worth it for a younger, well-maintained system. But they get more costly as a unit ages along with the overall cost of ownership.
Our experienced technicians provide air conditioning repair services in Southern California. They’re able to fix common issues and ensure your system is more efficient and reliable. But we know sometimes AC repair is not enough. If you’ve had numerous air conditioner repairs and your AC is nearing 20 years old, let’s talk about replacing it. We’re ready to evaluate your system and answer your questions. To get started, call (833) 729-9735 today.
An AC tune-up includes the maintenance needed to improve comfort, reliability, and efficiency. Tune-ups can also help avoid expensive repairs. However, they don’t come cheap. Homeowners often wonder how much the service will cost them. The price depends on the scope of the service and where you live. Let’s look at the possible cost of an AC tune-up.
According to Forbes, a tune-up can cost anywhere from $30 to $300. On average, it costs around $120 to tune up your air conditioner.¹ That’s a small price compared to repairs that can cost thousands of dollars. A tune-up can even help your AC last longer, delaying the need to pay for a replacement unit.
Not every tune-up is the same just as not every air conditioner is the same. The cost of tuning up an AC depends on the following:
Also, note that inspections of your ductwork and ventilation system will cost extra. According to Angi, this can run between $80 and $450.²
You won’t save on performing an AC tune-up yourself. Aside from changing the filter and doing simple cleanings, attempting to replace a fan motor, repair a refrigerant leak, or complete any other type of major repair can result in more damage and void the warranty.
An annual tune-up should be completed in the spring. It will ensure your AC works all summer and can save on energy bills. Schedule additional maintenance throughout the year if your air conditioner is older or has known issues.
A standard tune-up takes about an hour if the system doesn’t need any significant repairs.
Most HVAC contractors include tune-ups in their maintenance packages. They often include air filter replacements and inspections of fan motors, capacitors, and ducts. A technician will also check the thermostat and electrical controls. Checking refrigerant levels helps determine if there is a leak. If necessary, the drainage system is inspected and flushed.
NexGen provides high-quality air conditioning maintenance in Southern California. When it’s time for your annual AC tune-up, you can count on our licensed technicians to ensure your unit is reliable and efficient. Tune-ups help prevent breakdowns, but we’re available 24/7 to help in emergencies. To ensure your AC maintenance needs are met, schedule a tune-up today by calling (833) 729-9735.
According to Angi, installing a new AC unit can cost up to $8,000(based on 2023 data). But installation doesn’t only include connecting and setting up a unit. There are several steps and tasks homeowners often aren’t aware of. This article will explain the process a trained HVAC technician will follow when providing AC installation service.
An AC installer will first inspect your home to identify your needs. Are you replacing an existing unit or relocating your HVAC system? Many newer air conditioners are larger in dimensional size, so the current location of your AC may be unsuitable. Manufacturer guidelines, state laws, and local regulations may dictate equipment placement, clearance, and distance from utility meters.
Plus, the installer will consider your climate and the typical levels of heat and humidity. They’ll also perform an energy audit to look for poor insulation, drafty windows, and other factors that can reduce efficiency. Recommendations on improvements often target ways to maximize an AC’s energy efficiency over time.
The size (capacity) of an HVAC system must be just right. A technician will determine the square footage of your home and consider other factors to identify the cooling power you need. Many people oversize their air conditioners, lowering efficiency and increasing wear and tear. While sizing an AC unit requires extra time, it can pay off in improved comfort, moisture removal, energy efficiency, and fewer repairs.
A reputable contractor will explain options that can provide more efficient cooling. If your AC is well-maintained, it can last 15 to 20 years. During that time, you can save significantly if the system is efficient. Air conditioner efficiencies are rated using the following:
During an AC installation service call is a good time to evaluate ductwork for issues that decrease efficiency. Some considerations include whether the duct system is compatible with or large enough for the new unit. An inspector will also determine if your ductwork needs to be sealed or repaired. If there’s significant dirt and dust buildup, air ducts will be cleaned as well.
The installation crew should call or text their expected arrival time. You’ll speak to the lead installer about the project, the equipment to be installed, and other details. Good communication avoids misunderstandings and costly mistakes. In preparation for your new system, the installers will turn off the electricity and gas supply to your existing HVAC equipment and add protection to floors and furniture. All the tools and equipment they’ll use will be set up.
The refrigerant will be safely recovered and discarded with special machinery. A technician who removes AC refrigerant must be EPA certified to do so. Next, electrical wiring is disconnected from the unit, and then the disconnect box and electric power conduit are replaced. The old condenser unit and indoor evaporator coil, air handler, and copper refrigerant line are carefully removed to make way for new equipment. If necessary, modifications to the plenum will be made.
The pad the outdoor unit sits on is replaced and leveled. The ground below it may need to be leveled too, either by laying a gravel base or pouring a concrete pad. Composite pads are often used as concrete is prone to cracking and shifting and not as resistant to machine vibrations. Thorough preparation is necessary because, after installation, air conditioners can’t be moved or lifted without causing serious damage.
The installation procedure depends on the exact type of air conditioner. The general process during AC installation service is as follows:
If installing a mini-split system, ductwork installation or modification will be skipped. The installation crew will drill one hole in an exterior wall to connect a conduit between the outdoor and indoor units.
NexGen is a leading AC installation services provider in Southern California. We take every possible measure to install an air conditioner correctly. Our employees are licensed, trained, and background checked, as well as honest and reliable. If it’s time to replace your AC, we’ll ensure your new unit operates efficiently with no safety or health hazards.
NexGen will also help determine the right type and size of unit for your home. All components, including thermostats, will be set up for you and our team will manage insulation and other requirements. To schedule AC installation and learn about our maintenance plans and warranties, contact us online or call 833-729-9735.
If you’re looking to cool a room or small space, a portable air conditioner can do the job. It effectively cools the air, circulates it, and removes excess humidity. We’ll now answer the question, “How do portable air conditioners work?” in more detail to help you decide on whether to install one.
A portable AC is typically a single freestanding unit with wheels or casters at the bottom. It has a fan that pulls in hot, humid air from the room. Inside the unit, heat is transferred to refrigerant running through the condenser coils. At the same time, water vapor condenses on the coils, removing humidity. The refrigerant turns into a high-pressure gas that eventually releases the heat that’s absorbed from the air.
Moisture that is collected by the system is removed by emptying an internal water reservoir. But many portable air conditioners have an exhaust hose that vents moisture and heat outside. Depending on the model, it may require a separate window venting kit, or it may direct exhaust through an existing air duct.
Some portable ACs use a single hose that removes warm air and moisture. Others have a dual-hose configuration; one hose pulls in fresh air from outside (to cool the compressor and condenser coils) and the second hose pulls excess warm air and moisture from the unit and releases it outside. A dual-hose unit can often cool a room more quickly without creating negative pressure.
Depending on the model, a portable air conditioner can be remotely controlled, operate in fan mode only, or cool a room to a set temperature. Units with a timer can start or stop depending on the time of day. Other products can dehumidify the air without being set to cool, while others move side to side to help distribute cool air.
The installation requirements will vary depending on the model you purchase. Most units are easy to set up. Just remember to consider the following requirements:
Portable AC units are designed to be vented out a window. This is how portable air conditioners work. Hot air must be vented somewhere; if that’s not a window, a hose can be directed up a chimney or through a hole in the wall. However, it’s not recommended to change the length of the hose, as it’s designed specifically for that machine (doing so can overheat the unit or void the warranty). If you must run the hose through a sliding glass door, purchase an extension kit suited for the model and use styrofoam or plywood to fill the void around the hose.
The drainage method depends on the unit. If you have a self-evaporative, portable AC, moisture will evaporate out of the exhaust hose. Some systems have a gravity drain that eliminates water that’s pulled down and out of the unit by gravity. A condensate pump can be used to collect water so you can dispose of it. If your portable unit has a collection tank, it will collect moisture inside. To empty it, turn off the AC, remove the collection bucket, and empty it before placing it back in the unit.
Maintaining a portable AC is simple and can help it work better and last longer. First, unplug the unit to eliminate any shock or fire hazards. Then follow these tips to care for your portable cooling system:
A portable air conditioner can be a convenient and effective way to stay cool, depending on your needs. It’ll cool a room and vent heat and moisture out a window when properly installed and maintained. However, it’s just one of many options for cooling a home or office. NexGen provides professional air conditioning services in Southern California and high-quality central, window, and packaged units as well as ductless mini-split equipment and heat pumps.
Our licensed technicians help install, repair and maintain all system components. They can also provide advice on the right type and size of the system for you. Our team will fully explain all your options. If you have additional questions or want to schedule service, call NexGen at 833-729-9735 today.
Mini-splits work hard throughout the year. They work even harder when the outdoor temperature drops below freezing. If the increase in wear and tear isn’t enough, mini-split units are prone to freezing in winter and being damaged by ice. The occasional icicle on the outdoor unit isn’t a concern. But you may wonder why your mini-split is freezing up in heat mode.
To explain why this happens, let's look at how a heat pump works. It does not generate heat of its own. Instead, it moves heat, transferring it from the outside air to your home. As the refrigerant moves through a closed-loop system, heat is pulled from the air and the temperature around the heat pump drops, sometimes low enough for condensation to form on the coil. In extreme cold, this condensation will freeze.
Colder temperatures are bound to affect your mini-split system, but a defrost mode protects it. It is controlled by an internal thermostat that triggers a defrost cycle when the unit’s temperature drops below a certain threshold. The unit then automatically switches to cooling mode to increase the temperature of the outdoor coil. Once the ice melts and the internal thermostat senses the coil is warmer, the system will automatically switch back to a heating cycle.
But if the unit keeps freezing up or doesn’t defrost properly, the following issues may be the cause:
An issue with air circulation can make your mini-split more prone to freezing. Unless air moves constantly over the evaporator coil, cold air will remain above it and freeze any condensation that forms. A dirty filter can also restrict airflow enough to cause freezing. Dirt on the coil can lead to frost and ice too. So, anything that blocks air movement is a potential contributor to a mini-split freezing up in heat mode.
If the unit isn’t defrosting effectively, turn it off and disconnect it from its power source. The ice may then melt on its own. Or, if necessary, you can gently remove the ice and wipe the coils with a dry cloth. Completely dry the system before powering and restarting it. Even though it may start working, it’s important to address the cause of the problem, whether by changing the filter, having the coils cleaned, or having the refrigerant level filled.
Regular maintenance and calling a technician when you suspect a problem can prevent ice from forming. Routine inspections let contractors find small issues that can lead to freezing, so your ductless mini-split will operate normally. However, there are steps you should take to avoid a frozen unit. You don’t need a professional to:
If your mini-split keeps freezing up while providing heat, it may need to be repaired. NexGen provides reliable ductless heating and cooling system repair no matter what the issue is. We specialize in servicing high-efficiency equipment so it works more effectively and lasts longer. When your mini-split is freezing up in heat mode, it’s susceptible to damage, so call NexGen at 833-729-9735 to schedule immediate repairs.
Apartment dwellers often face heating and cooling challenges. Tight space and design constraints can create issues with air movement. A lack of windows doesn’t help either. Limited airflow not only reduces comfort but can also increase humidity, mold growth, and paint deterioration. However, these issues can be avoided by installing combination heating and air conditioning units for apartments.
A building can be served by decentralized heating systems, each of which serves a specific area, or a central system. Central units control temperature, humidity, and airflow from a single source. They may have a split design with an outdoor cabinet containing the compressor and condenser, while the evaporator is contained in an indoor unit. Air handlers and furnaces are typically separate components as well.
These aren’t the only heating and cooling systems that can be used in apartments. The following alternatives can save space and provide efficient comfort:
A packaged central unit contains the condenser, compressor, and evaporator in a single cabinet. The unit is typically installed outside (on the ground or the roof). A packaged system often contains electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace along with an air conditioner (a separate indoor furnace is not required). Air circulation is managed by air supply and return ducts that pass through the roof or an exterior wall.
A mini-split is a cooling and heating system that allows the temperature to be adjusted at a certain level for one room, and another level in a different room. An apartment often isn’t large enough for a central unit. While the condenser is installed outside the building, compact mini-split air handlers can provide heating or cooling in individual rooms or small apartments. Separate AC and heater components aren’t required.
Often installed below windows in hotels, PTACs are self-contained, ductless units. They can heat or cool small areas like hotel rooms, small one-bedroom apartments, and residential add-ons. A PTAC can provide electric heat or be a reverse-cycle heat pump. Either way, it’s a reliable solution and many units have advanced digital controls to make them simple to use.
Several HVAC options are available for small spaces. That means there are choices to make, not only on the type of system but also based on specific factors. Every building is different so it’s important to consider the following:
And, as with any HVAC system, look for a warranty. It can save a lot of money especially if something breaks while the unit is still covered. The length of the warranty and what it covers depends on the unit and brand. Read the terms of the contract to know what parts are covered and if labor is included before you sign it.
Proudly serving Southern California, NexGen offers ductless heating and cooling systems that are compact, versatile, and efficient. These include wall-mount heat pumps with impressive heating and cooling ranges. Our licensed technicians provide HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance services. By signing up for our X Protection Plan, you can receive discounts and priority service, while specials and financing options are available. To learn more about our offerings and combination heating and air conditioning units for apartments, call (833) 729-9735 today.
An ARUF air handler is one you’re likely to encounter when searching for an efficient, budget-friendly HVAC solution. At NexGen, the ARUF-Series Electric Air Handlers are extremely energy efficient thanks to an all-aluminum evaporator coil and multi-speed PSC blower motor. We’ll provide a more in-depth description of what this long-lasting indoor air conditioning unit does and why it’s preferred over similar solutions.
ARUF is a name designation for a series of air handlers. We also offer ASPT, AWUT, MBR, ACNF, and other series that offer various benefits. Most feature an all-aluminum coil that allows for highly efficient cooling and durability thanks to grooved tubing. There’s even a coil mounting track so the unit can be easily repositioned.
The air handler is certified by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and ETL listed. It has also been tested by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). When tested per ASHRAE Standard 193, it was found to have a cabinet air leakage of less than 2% at 1.0 inch H2O.
Available in 1½- to 5-ton sizes, the ARUF air handler is built into a cabinet that can be configured horizontally or vertically. A rigid SmartFrame™ provides improved lateral stability and allows for sturdy mounting of internal components. The blower casing is covered by foil-faced insulation that reduces operating noise and condensation. Screw-less sides and a rear panel also reduce condensation, especially when the unit is installed in a humid location. Better yet, no tools are needed to access the filter, making the unit easier to maintain.
The ARUF’s cabinet is as convenient as it is versatile. It’s available with 3 kW to 25 kW electric heater kits, which are field installed. A 10-Year Parts Lifetime Warranty is included, while members of our X Protection Family receive a lifetime replacement warranty.
We will gladly answer your questions about the ARUF air handler and how it compares with our other industry-leading electric heating and cooling products. Traditional, rooftop and ductless systems are also available in Southern California as well as thermostats, air cleaners, and air purification systems. To learn more about our air-hander units and other HVAC options, or schedule a free estimate, call 833-729-9735 or book an appointment online.
At NexGen, we lead the way in air conditioning and heating as well as indoor air quality services in Southern California. But with all the air quality testing and air purification system installations we handle, how you use your ACs intake is still important. Fresh air intakes help improve system performance and efficiency. But many people don’t know they can be opened and closed. Here, we’ll explain how to turn off the fresh air intake on an air conditioner.
The air intake is typically an open duct that leads to a vent on a wall outside your home or the attic. There’s a small filter inside the vent so it can deliver clean air. This also lessens the demand on other HVAC filters. Depending on your home, it may have multiple fresh air intakes. The indoor side of an intake usually looks like a grilled vent. It’s often near furnaces or other gas appliances.
A damper is a device that allows, blocks, and/or adjusts the flow of air. It typically contains a frame and a blade that moves in and out of the frame using a spring-loaded mechanism. Some dampers can be adjusted in increments to manage the amount of air entering a building. There are different types of dampers, including:
To close the damper in your air intake, and block the supply of outside air, follow the system’s owner’s manual. It may require:
If manually operating the damper, slide the damper cover over the opening. Do not use a rag, curtain, or article of clothing to block it. You could end up causing damage.
Fresh air can prevent the unit from overheating. It also improves circulation which helps your AC remove heat and humidity. Closing the damper forces the air conditioner to redirect air, which can have a variety of effects. But it may be the best option if there is a wildfire or other type of fire nearby, as this prevents smoke, particles, and toxins from getting into your home. Close all windows, doors, and other openings as well.
In addition to blocking harmful substances, turning off the fresh air intake at the right time can:
But in general, opening both the dampers and vents will help your HVAC system reach the desired temperature more quickly and consume less energy, especially in colder outdoor temperatures.
NexGen provides heating and air conditioning installation, repair, and maintenance throughout Southern California. We offer duct cleaning and other air quality services as well. If you have additional questions on how to turn off the fresh air intake on an air conditioner or wish to schedule service, book an appointment online or call 833-729-9735 now.