Spring is Nearly Here – and so is Spring HVAC Maintenance Season

The temperatures in northern New Jersey are still fluctuating between winter cold and hints of warmer spring—but at Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, Inc., we’re gearing up for spring maintenance season for our customers’ HVAC systems. In fact, we’re ready to go with routine semi-annual service calls on the first 50-degree day.

Your HVAC professional should perform several important routine maintenance tasks and system checks to ensure your central air conditioning will be ready to run properly when the warm weather hits. Plus, given the frigid temperatures we’ve endured this winter, your hard-working system will need some TLC from the technician.

Semi-annual maintenance protects your HVAC system by finding and fixing potential problems before they become costly repairs. Your air conditioning contractor should include the following tasks in a spring maintenance check:

  • Check the refrigerant charge – Refrigerant is what cools the air in your home. The technician should check the refrigerant lines for any necessary repairs. Make sure the HVAC service contractor has an EPA refrigerant usage certification in order to buy refrigerant and to repair older systems that contain ozone-depleting refrigerants (CFCs). IMPORTANT: Your technician must know which type to use on your unit.
  • Change the air filters – As the air circulates through your home, the air filters attract and grab billions of airborne particles. This helps the HVAC system deliver better air quality and protects the system. At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, we recommend high-efficiency pleated air filters; their electrostatic charge attracts the tiniest particles, including bacteria spores and pet dander (a common allergen). Changing the air filters a few times a year keeps circulated air as clean as possible, reduces system wear and tear, and lowers energy costs by increasing the system’s efficiency.
  • Clean the condenser coil – Make sure the technician removes the condenser covers or blankets outside (if you put them on in the winter) to check on the unit’s condition. The suction line (which helps supply cool refrigerant to the compressor outdoors), should be properly insulated to maintain optimal cooling; damaged insulation should be noted and addressed. Any vegetation or trash that has collected on and around the outdoor coil must be cleared; this enables the system to deliver the best possible performance with good air flow.
  • Clear out the drain system – The technician will clear debris and check that the air conditioner’s condensate drain is not clogged. A properly maintained condensate drain lets the water to flow from a tray that captures it to a drain. Obstructions can cause water damage to the unit and in the winter, this can create high humidity levels that promote mold growth or bacteria buildup. In addition, a clear drain avoids putting undue load on the unit and improves efficiency (an obstructed drain will send out less cool air).

Routine maintenance can also reveal other issues that may require some additional attention, such as mold, which affects indoor air quality and your health. Last year we told you about the REME HALO and the Blue-Tube UV light that purify indoor air of allergens, and prevent and kill mold in your AC unit. The technician should make a note regarding the presence of mold and your HVAC contractor should offer recommendations for remediation. In addition, the contractor should provide you with an estimate for any repair work the technician has noted to support your central air conditioning system.

As we know, North Jersey gets a lot of rain in the spring and basements can be very damp and humid. Installing a dehumidifier in the basement will help prevent mold and odors there during the summer time. At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, we recommend, sell and install high-quality, durable Aprilaire dehumidifiers that actually filter and condition the air. The water is pumped into a sink or drain so there’s no need to empty a water basin. They’ll keep the basement or other environments much fresher and healthier.

At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, Inc. we make your HVAC tune-ups easier to schedule and afford with our flexible maintenance plans. Prolong the life of your HVAC system, keep your energy costs in line, and avoid costly repairs. Contact our award-winning team at 973-237-0505 for your spring HVAC maintenance or for a quote on updating your existing system or installing a new one.

Keep Your Standby Generator Standing By 24/7

Running the self-test is an important part of your generator’s maintenance plan

Standby generators are the gold standard for emergency electrical power for your home or small business. When there’s an outage, the generator kicks in automatically and provides service for hours or days, energizing your fridge, phone and all your essentials. It will do the job whenever you need it—if you do your job to maintain it properly.

Once a standby generator is permanently installed in your yard, it will last a long time if well-maintained, potentially 20 years or more. The self-testing feature is a primary reason these generators are so reliable.

How self-testing works
Each week, the standby generator turns itself on for about 10 minutes, based on a programmed schedule. The day and time can be set from the control board, and for convenience, your installer can program your unit to run self-tests weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

The Generac11kW Home Backup Generator, WiFi enabled. Photo, Generac Power Systems, Inc.Any problem that’s detected is read by a remote indoor monitor that transmits data to your maintenance team, who will determine if your generator needs service.

Also important: the test charges the 12-volt car battery the generator uses so it’s ready to go the moment a blackout occurs.

Is it noisy?
Most generators are relatively quiet during the self-test, like a car idling in your driveway. Some of the best standby generators on the market, like the Generac Guardian series, have recently been enhanced to further lower the decibel level.

Be sure to listen for and monitor the results of these exercises. You can also read the display inside your generator to gather all the data points from the last test run. Another simple visual inspection: check the external indicator light, which should be green if it’s running properly. Red indicates an operating problem and requires a service visit by a certified technician to keep the warranty intact.

Remote access to data
If you’re away from home, don’t worry. The Generac Guardian series and other top-of-the-line generators have remote Wi-Fi monitoring capability. Weekly data results can be transmitted to a smartphone, tablet, or PC.

“Our customers can check the status of their generators even when they’re at work or on vacation,” notes Mike DeJoseph, owner of Bloomfield Cooling, Heating, & Electric, Inc. “If they get an alert that their generator is running when it shouldn’t, or if there’s an operational problem, they can contact us right away so we can check out the issue.”

Maintenance to-do list

  • Monitor oil levels monthly, or more when the generator is running for longer periods of time; be sure the breaker and unit are off before pulling out the dipstick. Oil levels are key to maintaining the warranty.
  • Keep the area around the unit clear and easily accessible, especially near the intake and exhaust areas. The generator needs air to work properly. Leaves, snow, or nesting birds and animals can all interfere with operation.

Scheduled inspections
A factory certified technician should fully inspect your generator annually or more depending on usage and more extreme weather. Make sure the installer or contractor has a comprehensive checklist for your specific unit which includes:

  • Starters and alternators
  • Transfer switch operation and controls (detects service interruption and disconnects your house from the utility)
  • Air (intake and exhaust, filter replacement)
  • Electrical connections and voltage input
  • Fuel lines and hoses
  • Oil and oil filter (change at least twice a year)
  • Load testing (to verify overall reliability to run at full kW output)

For ultimate peace of mind, Bloomfield Cooling, Heating, & Electric, Inc. offers a preventive maintenance contract, which ensures inspections are done correctly, thoroughly, and on time. We are a factory authorized dealer for Generac and offer certified service for Generac and Honeywell generators, the industry’s leading brands. Your work is always performed by certified technicians from a multiple-award-winning HVAC company.

Check our website to read about standby generator and our latest generator maintenance specials; then call us at (973) 237-0505 to set up your appointment or for more information.

Hot News about Air Conditioning Refrigerant

Many older air conditioners and refrigerators once used Freon, the trade name for R-22 and certain other refrigerants and aerosol propellants manufactured by The Chemours Company. However, the product was banned in 2015 by the Environmental Protection Agency and it is scheduled to be completely phased out by 2020. The EPA deemed R-22 and other chlorofluorocarbons to be hazardous to the environment by causing ozone depletion.

Although R-22 is still being manufactured to maintain existing HVAC equipment, many homeowners with older HVAC systems that rely on R-22 are facing increased costs for the refrigerant due to the dwindling stockpile of that product. And, after 2020, R-22 won’t be manufactured or imported in the United States at all. Because of the environmental issues with R-22, HVAC service contractors in the US must have an EPA refrigerant usage certification in order to buy refrigerant and repair systems that contain ozone-depleting refrigerants such as R-22.

So, what does all this mean for our customers?

More environmentally friendly refrigerant: R-410A

R410-A RefrigerantAt Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, Inc., we switched to a refrigerant called R-410A. In fact, we have been using it since 1995 when it was first introduced, because it is much more environmentally friendly. Unlike R-22, 401A does not contain bromine or chlorine (which contribute to ozone depletion). It also enables higher SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings, reducing power consumption which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

For homeowners with older HVAC systems, now is the time to upgrade to more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly equipment that use 410A; remember, if your system breaks down after January 2020 (only 18 months from now), you will be faced with a replacement at that time. There are ways to retrofit an older system to use the newer refrigerant but it’s not possible for all systems, so your Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric technician will have to assess whether or not we can do the conversion. If not, a retroactive HVAC system replacement will be more cost-effective in the long run.

If you’re interested in upgrading your HVAC system to a more energy-efficient unit, ask about our new HVAC system special that is good through the end of June, with zero percent financing for 36 months (we have other favorable financing programs available as well). Or ask about our $500 installation coupon here.

Not ready for a new system? Contact Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric about system maintenance that will help keep your HVAC system running at its peak, at (973) 237-0505 or info@bloomfieldcooling.com.