Common Air Conditioner Problems That Lead to AC Repair

AC UnitWarmer weather is coming, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a problem with their air conditioner. Here are some of the more common reasons your AC unit may need to be repaired.

A Poorly Maintained Unit

If you simply “set it and forget it,” without giving it much thought at all, you are more likely to have issues at some point. It might lead to affordable and fairly routine maintenance, or if problems snowball, it could lead to the worst case scenario of needing to replace your air conditioner prematurely.

Simple and routine maintenance can do wonders in making sure you maximize the life cycle of your air conditioner. It’s also worth considering a maintenance plan, like the one we offer at Sunset Heating & Cooling, that includes annual tune ups and discounted (or even free) parts and labor, depending on which plan you go with.

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Why Balanced Indoor Humidity Matters

Humidity is a significant factor in the determination of your comfort at home. Ever noticed the weather forecast sometimes includes a “feels like” temperature? That’s because humidity can affect what the air feels like around you.home humidity

Additionally, having the correct level of relative humidity in your home is an important component of good indoor air quality. If the humidity is too high or too low, it can affect your health and the condition of your home.

Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in your home’s air. But what does “too low” or “too high” mean, in numbers? The generally accepted ideal relative humidity range is 30 to 50 percent. In the winter, it should be on the lower end of that spectrum.

Here are the potential consequences if your home’s humidity is too high or too low:

Consequences of Low Indoor Humidity

If your indoor humidity is too low, you may experience dry skin, itchy eyes or throat, sinus pain or congestion and even nosebleeds.

Your home can be affected by low humidity as well, including cracked and warped wood. Low humidity can wreak havoc on expensive hard wood floors or trying to keep a baby grand piano in tune! You can also experience more static electricity build up.

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Common Myths About Home Heating

home heatingAs fall and winter approach, so does the cold weather. This year, as you keep your home warm, it’s good to review what ideas about home heating are actually true and which are not.

Myth: Your home will warm up quicker if you crank up the thermostat.

Truth: This is like repeatedly pushing the crosswalk to make the signal turn faster. You feel like you’re making it happen quicker, but you’re not. The crosswalk sign won’t turn any faster, and your heater will warm the house up at the same rate no matter if you crank the thermostat or not. Some people even forget that they’ve cranked the thermostat, so it wastes energy running until someone notices.

Myth: Keeping your home at a constant temperature even when you’re not home will save you money.

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HVAC Technicians are in High Demand

HVAC jobsAre you looking for a great career? Train to be an HVAC technician. There is a shortage in the skilled services areas like electricians, plumbers and HVAC techs. And since home and commercial buildings will never be in danger of going out of style, the demand will continue to stay constant.

One of the biggest problems facing our society as a whole is the cost of education. It has risen so high that it’s come to a tipping point where it will no longer make sense to pay that amount for the lifetime earning power students can expect from their given specialty.

Young people are saddling themselves with five and even six-figure debt that can last a lifetime. The irony is that in seeking a rewarding and financially comfortable lifestyle, many are setting themselves up for a lifetime of financial stress.

Unfortunately, many young people go to college by default, without giving much thought to it. It’s just what you do. While we’re not here to dissuade people from pursuing a college education, for some people, there may be a perfectly satisfying career that can be had outside the traditional higher education path, and for a tiny fraction of the cost.

To underscore the shortage we face in the skilled services industry, the current average age of an HVAC tech is 54 years old. Obviously, there’s a serious lack of youth in our industry. One theory for this is a PR problem. In other words, young people are conditioned to gravitate towards other careers and possibly perceive skilled service jobs as an inferior career path.

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How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide PoisoningOur home should be the ultimate symbol of safety and security. Yet, hundreds of Americans die every year from an invisible threat: carbon monoxide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional, non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning was responsible for an average of 430 deaths each year from 1999 to 2010.

The time to heat our homes will be here before you know it. That means, unless you are mindful, the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning becomes are more likely threat.

Know the Symptoms

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning happens when red blood cells pick up the CO molecules faster than oxygen. If there are dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the air, oxygen may get replaced by carbon monoxide in the blood.

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Why is There Frost on My Air Conditioner?

ac frostMost of us rely heavily on our home air conditioners to keep us comfortable (even though there are plenty of homes in the Northwest that make due without them, since we only have a couple months of significant heat). But if you have an AC unit, it’s good to diagnose potential problems before they get out of hand.

Sometimes, air conditioners will start to accumulate frost, visible on the outside of the unit. This is definitely a sign that your AC is not functioning properly, and it needs to be addressed sooner than later. It can be a costly mistake, if you put it off, since running your unit with ice accumulation can cause permanent damage to components, such as the compressor.

The first thing you should do is turn the unit off and let it completely defrost.

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Importance of Having an HVAC Service Plan

HVAC Maintenance PlanMost people react to problems when they happen. But in many cases, such as your home heating and cooling needs, it’s so much better to take action before something happens. In this case, we’re talking about the value of having an HVAC preventative maintenance plan in place.

What Does a Preventative Maintenance Plan Involve?

It’s so easy to forget about keeping up with the heating and cooling system in your home. Most people live busy lives, and frankly have other things they’d rather be thinking about. Unfortunately, while an HVAC system may not be very exciting to think about, it obviously plays a vital role in our lives.

Outside of a week here and there, summers are usually pretty mild here in the Northwest. However, we aren’t always so lucky when the chill arrives. That’s when our HVAC usage really starts to creep up. It’s during that time we depend so much on our furnace when it’s also being the most taxed, and runs the greatest risk of malfunction.

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Protect Appliances with a Whole-House Surge Protector


Power Surge Entry Points on House

When is the last time your power went out? How long before it came back on? Luckily, our country’s power grid provides dependable, uninterrupted electricity. When an incident triggers a power outage, though, most of us are at risk for damage to our appliances and other electronic devices.

Causes of External Power Surges

The most common causes of external power surges include the power coming back on after an outage, lightning strikes, animals in transformers and trees touching power lines. Any one of these scenarios could send a surge of electricity through your meter and panel, directly into all the appliances in your home! Think about how much it would cost to replace all of your big-ticket appliances at once: refrigerator, washer and dryer, microwave, TVs and gaming systems, laptop, furnace and air conditioner, water heater and softener… Yikes! Unfortunately, our electricians run into situations like this more often than we’d like.

Does the Risk Warrant Investing in a Whole-House Surge Protector? 

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5 Ways to Maintain a Long Lasting Water Heater

RHEEM water heaterYour water heater plays a big role in your home energy costs. It’s important to be mindful of your water heater, not just because you rely on it every day to bring hot water to your home, but because it can be a huge drain on your energy bill if you don’t have one that is functioning properly.

Not sure how to go about maintaining your water heater? Here are some simple maintenance tips.

Tip #1: Lower the temperature setting on your water heater.

The default setting on most water heaters is 130 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you lower the temperature to 115 to 120 degrees, you will save about 5 percent on your energy bill and also decrease the chances of your water heater overheating.

Tip #2: Do a mini-flush on the water heater at least twice a year.

Sediment will build up in the water heater tank over time, which can cause corrosion in the tank and decrease the overall efficiency of the unit. If you regularly flush the water heater, it can help a lot!

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Checklists for HVAC Tune-Ups

One of the most common questions in the spring and fall (tune-up seasons!) is: What is a tune-up? What should you expect your HVAC company to actually tune up or check? Here are our checklists for each piece of equipment that would require a tune-up: Gas Furnace...

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