Homeowners concerned about indoor air quality are often unsure when to schedule an air duct cleaning service. Experts generally suggest it every three to five years. It’s not needed annually or more frequently like an AC tune-up, assuming you change the filters regularly and stay current with HVAC maintenance.
Many pollutants can be collected in your ductwork. Some, like smoke particles, volatile organic compounds, mold, chemicals, pesticides, etc., can be harmful. Contamination may also reduce HVAC performance and efficiency. Therefore, following our advice for scheduling air duct cleaning services can be beneficial.
Since there’s no solid guideline on when to clean air ducts, it can be difficult to know when to call a contractor. But requesting the help of a ductwork professional is a good idea if:
There are also more obvious signs that air duct cleaning would be beneficial. Schedule service with a local HVAC company if:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admits cleaning air ducts doesn’t guarantee better indoor air quality. Pollutants can enter your home from many sources. Cleaning, cooking, and other activities can contribute to indoor air contamination. The EPA also notes the conditions in every home are different. So, whether your house is dusty, you suffer from allergies or unexplained symptoms, or odors are present, it may be helpful to inspect your air ducts. If they’re contaminated, air duct cleaning can resolve indoor air quality problems—if it’s done properly.
A leading HVAC company in the region, NexGen performs air duct cleaning that can remove harmful particles, debris, and other pollutants. Our fully licensed, insured technicians use HEPA vacuums and deodorizing methods to clean and sanitize ductwork. In addition, we can clear blockages, seal leaks, and repair ductwork. For affordable air duct cleaning services in Los Angeles, Orange County, and surrounding areas, call (833) 729-9735 today.
Every HVAC problem invokes a sense of dread. Is it something minor, or will you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on repairs? Foul odors usually mean big problems. If your HVAC smells like skunk, the source may or may not be rodents, but there’s no doubt a professional should check it out.
A strong, unpleasant odor may suddenly occur for the following reasons:
Small rodents and other animals like nesting in sheltered places. Crawl spaces and air ducts are ideal for them, especially if there’s a food source nearby. An infestation in these places can release particles, odors, and viruses into the air that circulates throughout your home.
To investigate whether you have an infestation in your HVAC system, remove the vent covers and look for signs of animal activity. Hair, food particles, and droppings are telltale signs. If the scent is coming from that area, it will be stronger when you remove the vent cover. Also, check for damage to your home’s foundation and exterior.
If one or both of these issues are present, call an exterminator and someone to clean out your HVAC system.
If your HVAC smells like skunk, one may have sprayed nearby, and the odor may be detectable inside. It can also reach your AC system and propagate through your ductwork. If you can determine that a skunk is outside and probably sprayed, turn off the AC until the smell dissipates. The odor should go away once you turn it on again.
A skunk odor in your home should be taken seriously because of the potential for a gas leak, especially if you have a furnace or other gas appliances. Although a gas leak usually smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, methyl mercaptan (what gas companies add to make gas leaks detectable) can smell like skunk spray to some people. Natural gas is otherwise odorless but very dangerous.
If you can’t find any other source of the skunk smell, evacuate your home and call for help. The gas can make you sick and carbon monoxide may be present.
It’s not hard to confuse the smell of natural gas and sewer gas. Originating from your sanitary sewer line or septic system, these odors are created by methane combined with hydrogen sulfide and other gases. Hydrogen sulfide is produced as plant and animal materials decompose.
One way to deal with a sewer gas odor is to run a rarely-used faucet. The drain may have dried out, allowing sewer gas to back up. Letting the water run can stop this from happening. If your HVAC smells like skunk, check for underutilized plumbing fixtures. If running a faucet doesn’t fix the issue, there may be a broken drain line or clogged pipe.
Therefore, a skunk odor can be caused by an HVAC or plumbing problem, so you’ll need a professional to determine the source.
Our HVAC professionals can provide AC repair and maintenance if a skunk odor is in your home. They can also determine if the issue is coming from your plumbing or sewer lines, or if there’s a potential gas leak. We can fix your air conditioning system, repair plumbing (including gas lines), and clean drains as necessary. Affordable, low-interest financing is available upon approved credit. Call (833) 729-9735 to learn more or schedule service.
The AC unit, air handler, and furnace are familiar parts of your HVAC system. However, the control board isn’t something you often interact with. If it’s not working, it can’t command any part of your heating or cooling system to operate correctly. We’ll explain what it is, how it works, and what to do if there’s no power to the HVAC control board.
The control board is essentially the system’s command center. Input from the thermostat is received by the board, which then relays the appropriate commands to your furnace or air conditioner. A furnace circuit board regulates the ignition, gas valves, flame sensor, blower motor, and other components. A defrost control board works similarly, except it monitors for the buildup of ice and triggers the defrost function when it’s needed.
First, you’ll need your furnace’s manual, which should show the location and setup of the control board. Before starting, you’ll also need a screwdriver, electrical tape, and a voltage meter. Proceed with the following steps if there’s no power to the HVAC control board:
If the control board isn’t working, there may be issues with temperature regulation. The symptoms are often similar to those associated with other problems, such as blower fan, power, or filter issues. If your HVAC has warning lights or diagnostic codes, you might see a notification of an unpowered or failing control board. However, the system may not work at all if the control board isn’t powered.
The control board should last the life of your HVAC system. But high temperatures, numerous heating and cooling cycles, or wiring issues can wear it out. A single faulty transistor or relay on the board can result in a malfunction. Sometimes a faulty transformer or fuse is the cause; a technician can provide replacement components to fix the problem. If the board is damaged, usually the only option is to replace it, which requires a professional to handle wiring and installation work.
Customers throughout Southern California rely on NexGen for all types of heating and AC repair. If you have temperature control, airflow, or power problem or need an HVAC control board replaced, our licensed technicians will get your system running again in no time. They are fully licensed and insured. You can reach us 24/7 by calling (833) 729-9735.
California has endured years of drought, but the past few months have brought one rainstorm after another. Repeated deluges have ended water restrictions for many in Southern California. But the atmospheric rivers that keep pummeling the state can do a number on home HVAC and plumbing systems. We’ll look at a few ways to protect your home from the effects of so much rain.
Water can cause serious damage to your HVAC system. Air conditioners are designed to drain condensation, but their components are extremely sensitive to water exposure. The wind is also a problem as it can blow debris onto and into the condenser unit. Fortunately, there are easy ways to protect the system:
If you haven’t covered the AC unit with plywood for winter, place a plywood sheet over the top. It is effective at shielding the unit from snow and ice. If your area doesn’t see much snow, you can cover the unit with a tarp to shield it from rain and strong winds. Strap the tarp on so it doesn’t blow away. Fitting a metal or plywood cage around the air conditioner is also an option. It protects against flying debris.
Before a storm, trim trees, branches, and shrubs so they can’t fall on the AC unit. You can also plant shrubs nearby to block the wind. Exposed wires should be covered to prevent water exposure and damage from falling objects. The unit should also be anchored to a concrete pad next to a concrete or stone wall, and any loose objects nearby (toys, firewood, outdoor furniture, etc.) should be moved inside.
Thick metal mesh hail guards should be installed before a storm hits. They don’t interfere with the unit’s heating or cooling abilities. And you avoid the unit being riddled with dents, bent fins, or damage to the coils that can prevent it from keeping your home comfortable.
Ironically, your plumbing system, which is designed to carry water, can be heavily damaged by it. Rainstorms pose an especially high risk for drains, as sediment and debris can easily clog them. Underground plumbing is also susceptible to damage by heavy wet soil and standing water. Here are some steps you can take to protect your plumbing:
Excessive rainwater can flood your driveway, yard, or deck and even compromise your home’s foundation. Install drains at low points on your property. And check them often for debris to clear away. Use a wet-dry vacuum to pull out debris if necessary, or install a drain guard to prevent dirt, leaves, rocks, and other items from causing blockages. Also, make sure gutters and downspouts are clear and properly installed.
If your toilet starts gurgling during heavy rain, a drain is likely clogged or backing up. Your toilet may back up if rainwater has gotten into a septic tank. Clogged drains can affect municipal sewer lines as well. When this happens, dirty water can accumulate in drains and cause pipes to crack or burst. If your water looks dirty, tastes coppery, or smells like mildew or something worse, call a plumber right away.
Sump pumps remove water from basements or the lowest part of your home. If you have a sump pump, it should turn on automatically when water reaches a certain level. At least once a year, pour some water into the sump pump basin to make sure it’s working. If it doesn’t turn on, call a plumber to inspect and repair it before the rain arrives. It will save you from a messy cleanup later on.
Whether you need AC repair or a plumber in an emergency, you can count on NexGen for prompt, effective solutions. Recent storms in California have affected many homeowners. Be on the alert for air conditioning or plumbing issues and reach out to us as soon as anything seems awry. We’ll provide repairs, drain cleaning, and inspections and address any mold or indoor air quality issues caused by recent rains. To get started, book your appointment online or call (833) 729-9735.
A central heating system will keep your home warm and cozy all winter if it’s working properly. Even so, it can still have issues. Heater allergy symptoms that appear when your HVAC system is running mean dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, and other allergens (and possibly toxic compounds) are in your heating system, ductwork, and indoor air.
However, your symptoms may disappear when the heater is turned off or you leave your home. To help you recognize the signs of an issue, here are the top 10 heater allergy symptoms to look for.
Allergy symptoms don’t only occur because your heater is running. Dust also becomes harder to filter out. When it’s warmer, air tends to hold more moisture, making it easier for particles to stick together and fall to surfaces, where dust forms a coating. In colder, less humid air, dust particles tend to stay apart and remain in the air longer. Since they’re smaller, they can easily slip through air filters.
Meanwhile, breathing in dry air can make you more susceptible to allergies. That’s because mucus catches pollutants and protects your body against them. Dry mucus linings and sinuses don’t catch allergens, bacteria, and viruses as effectively. Heater allergy symptoms are your body’s reactions to this constant exposure. Infections can become more frequent as well.
NexGen installs and services high-quality HVAC equipment and also provides duct cleaning, air duct sealing, and insulation services to help reduce allergens and improve energy efficiency. We also offer comprehensive maintenance services as part of our X Protection Plan. It includes priority service, HVAC tune-ups, and discounts on indoor air quality products. Therefore, you can depend on our team to help protect your home, your comfort, and your health. To get started, call 833-729-9735 today.
New California HVAC regulations are targeting refrigerant use and efficiency. This is not the first wave of changes in the industry. In 2013, Title 24 efficiency standards were set by the California Energy Commission; in 2016 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was authorized to oversee the reduction of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions. Even more sweeping regulatory changes will take effect in 2023.
The U.S. Department of Energy has strictly regulated minimum efficiency levels for HVAC equipment since 1992. All air conditioning systems are measured using the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Meanwhile, the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) is used for heat pumps and annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is used for furnaces.
California passed legislation in 2018 that banned high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs, mirroring previous federal bans. California HVAC regulations announced in 2022 require:
The Department of Energy (DOE) has made changes that will impact the entire nation. In the southwestern region, which includes California, the minimum standard SEER rating for cooling systems will be increased to 15 SEER (for split units using less than 45,000 BTU) and 14.5 SEER (for units that use more than 45,000 BTU). New EER/EER2 requirements will also go into effect. In all regions, furnaces must have at least an 81% AFUE rating and air-source heat pumps must have a minimum heating efficiency of 8.8 HSPF.
According to Angi, the increased efficiency requirements can mean paying $350 to $1,500 more for a new air conditioner, heat pump, or packaged system.2 But higher efficiency can mean saving on heating/cooling bills each month. After all, heating and cooling account for 55% of the energy used in homes, based on numbers by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
These changes included requirements for fan efficiency in forced air systems; for gas furnace air-handling units, fans must operate at 0.45 watts/cubic feet per minute (CFM) or less. For non-gas air-handling units, it is 0.58 watts/CFM. Meanwhile, small duct, high-velocity forced-air systems must have fans running at 0.62 watts/CFM or less (with an airflow requirement of 250 CFM /ton or greater).
Porous inner core flex ducts are required as well. The exception is if there’s a nonporous layer or air barrier between the duct’s inner layer and outer vapor barrier. Mandatory air filtration requirements for systems with 10 feet or more of duct were set as well, with filtration being required on supply and balanced mechanical ventilation systems.
The Energy Commission’s 2013 Title 24 rules still apply. These are minimum efficiency standards intended to reduce energy consumption throughout the state and include requirements such as:
*If no ducts are replaced, there must be 15% or less leakage; if ductwork replacement is performed, leakage must not exceed 6%).
At NexGen, we supply and install the latest, most efficient HVAC equipment including traditional, electric, rooftop, and ductless systems. Our licensed technicians are fully trained in the most recent California HVAC regulations plus the newest products, tools, and methods. Our expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction make us the leading HVAC company in Southern California. To learn more about our equipment, services, and protection plan, book an appointment online or call 833-729-9735.
Air conditioning (HVAC), and plumbing (which involves water supply/drainage lines and connected fixtures), are two separate systems. Most people don’t realize there’s any connection between them. However, HVAC and plumbing do interact, meaning the performance of one can affect the other.
The drainage line for your HVAC system is the most common interaction point between it and your plumbing. It collects condensate from humidity (via the condensate pan under the indoor air handler). In some systems, the condensate drainage line delivers water directly to the sewer line. But usually, condensation drains via a line through an exterior wall and to the ground. The line may also be plumbed into an upstairs sink or another part of your plumbing system.
The following issues can arise due to HVAC/plumbing drainage issues:
A condensate drain can also become clogged. This problem can be identified when you don’t see the drain dripping when the AC is on. If the condensate line and a different part of your plumbing system are both clogged, a backup can occur. For example, if the HVAC condensate drain is tied to a sink, that sink may start draining slowly.
While the condensate drain can be cleaned by pouring a half-cup of vinegar into it, don’t attempt this too often. If the drain continues to clog up, have an HVAC technician look at it. Another issue is when there’s drainage and your air conditioner is not running.
A compressor problem, low refrigerant, or poor maintenance (leading to dirty coils, clogged filters, etc.) can affect HVAC performance. Your heating system plays a role in keeping your plumbing warm as it does the interior of rooms. If it gets cold enough in your home, pipes could potentially freeze during the winter (especially if they’re installed within exterior walls).
However, a more common issue is when the pipes in your AC system freeze. Since plumbing does not provide ventilation, it’s not going to help HVAC components warm up. If it’s too cold, pipes will continue to freeze and potentially crack and fail.
Often made of PVC tubing, condensation lines are prone to the same issues as water supply lines. They can be affected by cracks, broken joints, and ruptures. The effect is more subtle since the contents of an HVAC condensate line aren’t under pressure. Water exits a damaged line slowly and signs of an issue may develop incrementally over time.
Different licensing and certifications are required to service either an HVAC or plumbing system. Air conditioning and heating systems need maintenance at least once or twice a year. Their mechanical nature means they’re highly prone to wear. But plumbing is always in high demand as well, and the presence of water means corrosion, clogs, or limescale can develop. A plumbing or HVAC failure can be costly to resolve. And, both are critically important to the function, comfort, and safety of your home.
We specialize in residential and commercial HVAC and plumbing services. Customers throughout Southern California can depend on us for 24/7 emergency service and heating, air conditioning, and plumbing installation, repair, and maintenance. To get started, book an appointment online or call 833-729-9735 today.
It can cost $10,000 or more to install a central air conditioning system in an average home. For most of us, saving money is a priority. But going for the cheapest AC installation can actually cost you more in the long run. In doing so, you risk:
Some brands are just more expensive than others, but cheap installation often sacrifices quality. The less you spend on an air conditioner, the less reliable and efficient it may be. You also might not get the features and options you need. You may pay higher electric bills and for repairs sooner than you would with a higher-end system. There’s also a risk that too small an AC will be installed, which will struggle to keep your home cool.
HVAC companies that charge significant labor rates are generally committed to getting the job done right. A poor AC installation can mean the unit won’t keep up with your cooling needs, temperatures may vary from room to room, and your home may be too humid. Improperly installed air conditioners also cannot run as efficiently, so you end up paying higher utility bills. Aside from finding a reputable contractor, you want to make sure discounts or savings don’t equate to shortcuts.
A contractor’s proposal should itemize everything the service includes. Get every quote in writing and after the contractor inspects your home. A lowball price over the phone means nothing, as they won’t fully understand your needs or even do a load calculation first. The company should generously match a competitor’s price, but first, compare previous proposals you received. Allowing them to perform AC installation can mean dealing with discomfort, wasted energy, and poor air quality for years.
Replacing only the indoor or the outdoor unit can mean spending a lot more later. You won’t see efficiency benefits by combining a more modern unit with an older one. If the components are incompatible, the results can include reduced performance and comfort and strain that leads to major damage. Your best bet is to replace all HVAC components at once to ensure fewer problems and pay for only one installation visit.
An AC contractor that charges cheap rates may not have the proper skills or licensing. It’s not cheap to obtain a state license, so a reputable installer must cover some of these costs. Additional training is needed to obtain North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification and become a factory-authorized dealer. All these require a high level of expertise. It’s also important a contractor is insured; cheap service is an indicator they may not be.
If the quoted price is too good to be true, it probably is. There’s often a reason an HVAC contractor would charge such a low price, such as a history of bad reviews and poor installation service.
You can achieve savings and preserve quality by taking advantage of seasonal discounts, manufacturer’s rebates, and tax credits. When you get quotes from different contractors, compare what’s included in each to find the most value. Also, schedule AC installation for the spring and fall, when there’s less demand off-season. Generally, paying a fair price often means having a system that meets your needs and is affordable to operate.
So, the answer is, you should avoid the cheapest AC installation. There are safe ways to reduce the initial cost, but you can find opportunities to save later. These include changing your AC filters often, maintaining a constant temperature, and scheduling regular preventative maintenance when the manufacturer and contractor recommend it.
The #1 HVAC company in Southern California, NexGen offers high-quality AC equipment including traditional, electric, rooftop, and ductless units. We also supply and install air purification systems and the latest thermostats. Our team of experienced AC installers ensures 100% success with each job, while free estimates, financing, and a membership maintenance plan help make our exceptional service affordable.
To schedule a free estimate and evaluation, call NexGen at 833-729-9735 today.
The outdoor air conditioner unit is an important part of your HVAC system. Containing the condenser coil, compressor, and fan, an outdoor unit releases heat absorbed from indoor air. But how do you choose an outdoor unit? It generally should match the brand and type of indoor air handler unit you have. In this buying guide, we’ll cover a few important considerations in selecting an outdoor air conditioner.
For a central air conditioning system, you’ll probably have one of two types of units. These are:
It’s unwise and impractical to choose just any air conditioner. For it to meet your needs and function properly, you need to think about:
A central air conditioning system can cost from $3,000 to $7,000 to install. It’s usually not only the outdoor unit you need to install or replace. You need to factor in the cost of indoor air handlers, furnaces, ducts, and more as well as labor. A larger, more complex system can cost $20,000 or more.
Make sure you fully understand the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty and what is covered. Some warranties provide different coverage for the unit and certain parts. Others may only cover labor for certain types of work. Neglecting to maintain the AC or having a non-authorized individual service it can void the warranty, so it’s important to understand all the terms and conditions.
At NexGen, we supply and install high-quality, high-efficiency air conditioners and HVAC equipment. We specialize in all leading brands. Our licensed, insured technicians will help determine the right unit for your home to provide the update you need. In addition, comprehensive warranties and maintenance plans are available. For more information, call 833-729-9735 today.
If your air conditioner is spitting out ice, the evaporator or condenser coils are probably frozen. Allowing your AC to continue running can cause serious damage, or at the very least accelerate wear. There are a few answers to the question, “Why is my AC spitting ice?” We will list a few below to help you troubleshoot the issue and know whether you need an HVAC technician’s help.
An air conditioner is designed to keep your home cooler than the outside air temperature. It’s unlikely you’d want it to be colder than 62℉ indoors. If the AC is running full blast, this can cause the temperature around the evaporator coil to fall below freezing. Any condensation or moisture present will freeze on contact. When the outside temperature falls, run the AC in fan mode or turn the system off and use a ceiling fan or open a window.
If your AC is spitting ice and you hear a hissing sound, there’s likely a refrigerant leak. Only a trained technician can fix the problem. The coolant in your AC runs through a closed system. It should never be low. If it is, there will be serious temperature regulation problems in the system and components can easily freeze.
A filter helps keep the air clean, but your air conditioner will run without it. However, when the filter gets dirty or clogged, it’s a different story. A clogged filter reduces airflow. Without enough air passing through them, the coils get colder causing ice to form. To avoid filter issues, replace it every three to six months.
When the evaporator coil is coated in dirt, it won’t allow for effective heat transfer. Warm air may never reach the coils. As a result, they get colder, and frost forms on the surface. Some of this ice can break loose in the airflow and get flung out of the AC vents.
The AC can spit water if the drain is clogged with dirt, mold, or algae. Moisture regularly condensates in an AC system; this is what the drip pan is for. It collects condensate so it can be evacuated via a drain. If the drain isn’t functioning, water can leak from the unit and performance can be affected. The coils may eventually freeze if the issue isn’t fixed.
Insufficient airflow can cause the coil to get cold and freeze, resulting in ice spitting from the AC. This may be due to a faulty fan motor, which can occur due to mechanical or electrical issues. The fan can become loose or break as well. Repairing or replacing an AC fan requires technical expertise.
You can thaw out the unit by running it in fan mode. The ice should start to break down soon after. You might also want to leave the system off, although the process may take five or more hours to complete. During that time, install a new filter just to be on the safe side.
When customers ask us “Why is my AC spitting ice?”, there can be several answers. Depending on the problem, you may need the system inspected to determine whether any types of AC repair are needed. Google Certified for Home Services, we fix any air conditioning problem for clients in Southern California. For service by knowledgeable, experienced, and background-checked technicians, call 833-729-9735 today.