Why Is My Air Conditioner Making Noise but Not Blowing Any Air?

As with other members of the mechanical family, air conditioners are subject to wear, tear and breakdown. If your air conditioner is making a loud buzzing noise, or if it’s powered on but your AC is not blowing any air, you likely have a few questions you’ll want answered. As we progress through the remaining weeks of summer, you’ll want to have a functional cooling system to keep your family, pets, guests, staff and clients cool and comfortable.

We here at Bruni & Campisi have seen a lot of different kinds of air conditioner failure in our 38 years in business, and we’d like to talk about a few common causes of air conditioner failure you can look for in your cooling system.

Typical AC Failure Symptoms

If your air conditioner makes weird noises, there’s a chance you may have received the first clue as to what’s gone wrong with your system. A loud buzzing noise can be the result of a compressor that is not working properly or has damaged seating components, leaky refrigerant or a loose part. A rattle can be a sign that your unit may have become clogged with a foreign object like a leaf or stick.

If instead a clanking noise is what you hear, loose parts are a likely culprit. A banging noise can point to this, but is likely related to a damaged component within your compressor. Squealing, everyone’s favorite annoying noise, can indicate a bad blower motor, though you’ll want to ensure this is an unusual occurrence specific to your unit.

Screaming —  what we at Bruni & Campisi like to call “extreme squealing” — is something to be very concerned about, as this can point to serious issues like a refrigerant leak or exceptionally high pressure in the compressor.

You may wonder why your AC is humming but no air is blowing from the vents in your house. If the AC unit is running, but there is no air through the vents, you are likely dealing with a fan capacitor that has reached the end of its life. Fan capacitors help get your HVAC system’s outdoor and indoor fan motors blowing and your compressor running.

Additionally, if you notice your AC emitting strange, foul odors, it’s time to call a professional to help you figure out what’s going on.

Bruni & Campisi: Your New York Metropolitan Area AC Repair & Replacement Experts

Is your air conditioning unit clanking, banging, squealing, screaming or humming without pumping out any cold air? Don’t sweat it — trust Bruni & Campisi to get it running again.

With nearly 40 years of experience diagnosing, repairing and replacing air conditioning systems, Bruni & Campisi — headquartered in Elmsford, NY — is your go-to source for all AC needs. If you’re a home or business owner located in Westchester County, NY, Putnam County, NY Greenwich, CT, Stamford, CT or the surrounding area, we can help. Contact us today for a free estimate and a friendly, knowledgeable member of our team will be in touch.

Sump Pump Maintenance Tips to Prepare for Summer Storms

Sump pumps help reduce flooding during storms. Here in the New York metropolitan area, Superstorm Sandy allowed us to witness firsthand the devastation that excess water can wreak on a home.

As the height of hurricane season approaches, we here at Bruni & Campisi would like to offer a few helpful sump pump maintenance tips for you to consider. These tips will help keep your unit functioning in optimal condition, helping you prevent basement flooding during a storm.

How to Check If Your Sump Pump Needs Maintenance

The first thing you’ll want to do is to figure out how old your sump pump is. A general rule of thumb is that sumps on average last about 10 years. If your unit is older than a decade or swiftly approaching this milestone, it may be time to consider replacing it with a newer model.

Next, you’ll want to ensure your sump pump has access to a dedicated power source. If you live at or near a shoreline in one of the New York metropolitan area’s many coastal communities, we recommend you invest in a backup power generator, particularly one with an automatic transfer switch that can detect utility outages and instantly trigger the generator’s motor. This can help protect your basement from pooling water and flooding in the event of a power outage.

You’ll then want to test out your sump to observe if it is making any unusual noises or emitting any unpleasant odors. These can be signs you need to clean your pump — a procedure we encourage our clients to perform every few months — or call a repair technician for more extensive repairs.

We recommend taking a look at your sump’s basin to ensure it is free of any foreign objects. If your sump has a weep hole, you’ll want to make sure it’s not contaminated — if dirt or other obstructions are present, clean them very gingerly so as to protect the hole’s delicate components.

Next, take a look at your pump’s filter — also known as an impeller — and clean any visible buildup. Finally, you can take a look at your sump’s check valve, which should face away from the unit. This will ensure proper directional flow when the pump is not being used.

Need a Hand With Sump Pump Maintenance and Repair? Bruni & Campisi Can Help

A sump pump that is kept in good shape will help protect your basement and home from flood damage. If you’re a homeowner in Westchester, NY, Greenwich, CT, Stamford, CT or the surrounding area who could use some extra help with maintaining, repairing, or installing your sump pump, contact us here at Bruni & Campisi today.

We are a Better Business Bureau-accredited company that has been trusted by area residents to provide outstanding craftsmanship and caring customer service for nearly 40 years. We can help you keep your basement dry — trust Bruni & Campisi to help with all your sump pump needs.

Complete Guide to Hard Water and Water Softeners

The water we use every day is easy to take for granted. After all, we simply turn on a tap, and it’s there. Water isn’t always as simple or reliable as we’d like. Many people endure the daily nuisance of overly mineral-rich water, known as hard water.

At Bruni & Campisi, we hate to see hard water go untreated. Hard water can be hard on your system and your health — unless you own a water softener. We specialize in a variety of top-of-the-line water softeners. If you reside in Westchester County, NY, Stamford, CT, Greenwich, CT or the surrounding areas, come by and talk to us to learn more about water softener options.

Maybe you’re not sure if you need to talk with us. If the terms hard water and water softeners seem unfamiliar, you’re in luck — this guide covers everything you need to know about whether you suffer from hard water, how water softeners solve this problem and what types of softeners exist for your needs.

What Makes Water Hard?

You know water is a liquid, but if your idea of “hard water” looks something like ice, stop right there. Hard water isn’t physically hard. You can’t knock on it or stack it up. Hard and soft water distinctions refer to the levels of mineral deposits found in the water.

You might be surprised minerals are in your water. When fresh water falls as precipitation, it begins its journey. When it enters the water supply, this water contains no mineral contamination — it’s pure, clean water. As it enters the ground and starts to work its way through the rocks, it accumulates some of the minerals present in its environment.

The type of rocks through which the water percolates determines which minerals enter the water. For instance, limestone contributes calcium to water while dolomite donates magnesium. This process transforms the natural “soft” water into mineral heavy, “hard” water.

Types of Hard Water

Hard water describes water with unnaturally high levels of calcium and magnesium. In addition to these minerals, other dissolved metals occasionally also leech into the water. Other common water-soluble minerals include zinc, iron, manganese and aluminum. Other minerals like sodium and potassium enter water but don’t cause hardness. Essentially, levels of alkaline present and whether the minerals react to alkaline determine if the water assumes carbonite or non-carbonite hardness.

To refresh your high school chemistry knowledge, alkalinity refers to water’s ability to neutralize acids. Carbonite hardness results from compounds formed from a reaction to the alkaline present. Some such carbonites include phosphate, hydroxide, bicarbonate and carbonate. These carbonites sound scary, but carbonite hardness frequently gets broken down through boiling. Carbonite hardness is sometimes called “temporary” hardness.

Non-carbonite hardness occurs when the water combines with metals that don’t react to the presence of alkaline in the environment. Non-carbonite hard water remains hard even after boiling — it’s permanent, and, to be softened, it must undergo removal through other means.

Effects of Hard Water

Hard water wreaks havoc on almost everything it touches. Here, we’ll go over some of the ways hard water causes household problems. Any surface or material that comes into contact with hard water receives the trademark yucky, calcified, residue. Let’s start our rundown of common hard water problems with pipes.

  • Pipe Problems

Hard water affects your pipes as it passes through plumbing. As hard water carries a high quantity of calcium and magnesium, scales develop along the interior of your pipes. The two minerals fuse together to create a super-sticky combo. Much like cholesterol, the collected residues of the minerals build over time, closing in the area through which your water flows.

The build-up of calcium and magnesium drastically restricts your water’s movement. As the problem grows worse, the water flows become increasingly constricted. Under these conditions, hard water can eventually block your pipes, resulting in little or no actual release of water from your tap. At this point, many homeowners faced with a major problem: ruined plumbing.

  • Unwanted Residues

Because your plumbing is invisible, it’s easy to ignore damage happening to your plumbing — clogging goes on in the unseen interior of your pipes. What isn’t invisible is the trademark white film that covers your sink, bathtub, shower and other surfaces. The culprit is hard water.

Basically, anything hard water touches will develop a white scale over time. This unsightly scum clouds your glass fixtures and bathroom mirrors. Showerheads that used to shine with the perfect radiance of uncorrupted metallic beauty glisten no longer — a cloudy token of that old villain, hard water.

A hefty dose of white vinegar and elbow grease will eventually wear away those stains. Avoid this problem by never letting hard water come in contact with any vulnerable surface — or making sure your water gets softened so the problem doesn’t develop.

  • Unclean Feeling

Something else hard water touches is your skin. Many sufferers of hard water report chalky mineral deposits on their skin and hair following exposure to the water. This commonly occurs after a bath, shower, face washing or other direct physical contact with the water.

These pesky minerals leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. It’s common for irritations to develop as a result of prolonged exposure to hard water. Hair washed in hard water feels dehydrated and unclean. Hard water can defeat the purpose of a shower — to get clean. Don’t let hard water continue to make you feel like a dried out piece of chalk, get a water softener.

  • Bad Taste

Anyone who’s gulped down a glass of cloudy water knows what we’re talking about — the taste is terrible. Sure, there are those who claim to get used to it. We ascribe to the belief that forcing yourself to make unnecessary sacrifices isn’t a great plan.

Hard water affects the flavor of any drink you make — from hot chocolate to lemonade — and any food that requires water, like soups or pasta. A water softener fixes icky water lickity split. Don’t choke down chalky H2O.

  • Laundry Issues

Don’t forget your clothes. They get repeatedly soaked and washed in hard water and bear the battle scars. The high mineral content in hard water sucks the color from clothes. Moreover, these clothes gain an uncomfortable stiffness and feel itchy and dry.

Another aspect to consider concerns the actual washing process. Even detergents can’t clean your clothes properly — stains become virtually impossible to remove. The power of hard water to render soap ineffective makes all your washing around the home harder, not to mention your personal cleanliness.

  • Dishwasher Problems

The last hard water victim we’ll discuss relates to your dishwasher. As you learned before, hard water clogs up pipes like nobody’s business. As your dishwasher relies on a much smaller system of pipes, it suffers from an increased vulnerability to irreparable damage.

Not only that, hard water stains everything it touches and prevents soaps from working properly. Maybe you guessed where we’re going — your glasses, dishware and cutlery all get stained and improperly cleaned. That common cloudy look will haunt your glasses like a ghostly reminder of your hard water.

Health Research on Hard Water

While we’re discussing the detrimental effects of hard water, we should mention the debate regarding the health risks of hard water. Sure, hard water messes up everything it touches, but is it unhealthy? Right now, the official consensus is that drinking hard water poses no health risks. But what about benefits? After all, aren’t minerals good?

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc help maintain healthy body functions. Unfortunately, when these minerals are in your water, they don’t offer the same uptake as dietary minerals. At present, the verdict appears split on whether consumption of hard water contains health risks or even minor benefits.

For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated at their Geneva Conference that hard water has no known adverse health effect. The WHO doubled down on their stance and suggested that the minerals found in hard water might provide positive nutritional benefits.

This claim fails to convince all scientists. Some medical researchers point to hard water as a possible cause of cardiovascular disease and other health problems. We regard hard water’s health benefits with skepticism and look forward to better research on identifying any health risks. Until the verdict comes back, we prefer to limit people’s exposure to hard water. After all, we know what it does to pipes, and that’s nothing to celebrate.

Do I Have Hard Water?

You’re likely looking at that glass of water in your hand a little differently now. Before you dump it, consult a United States water hardness map. Locate which water hardness zone you inhabit. This will help inform your decision as to how much mineral deposits affect your water.

How Water Hardness is Determined

Water hardness is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). Another system uses grains of hardness per part water. The grains system uses the measurement grains per gallon (gpg), so one gpg is 17.1 mg/L.

These two approaches use a weight-based measurement. It helps to look at the hardness map and see where you fall, but, unless you possess fancy chemical testing hardware, it’s difficult to determine your water’s exact level of hardness.

If you reside in a high hardness zone, you likely already feel the effects of living with hard water. Most people in the United States live with some amount of exposure to hard water. The scale of water hardness ranges from slight to extreme.

  • Slightly Hard

Slightly hard water lacks the telltale signs of exposure. There may be some spots or streaks on dishes or glassware. People with hard water coming through their pipes may notice effects on the body after physical contact with water.

  • Moderately Hard

Increasingly noticeable traces of mineral presence on water contact areas indicate moderately hard water. You can see it in the slow buildup of white stains along sink or bathtubs and deposits on glasses. Your skin may feel dehydrated after showers or baths.

  • Hard

Water that is hard will be tough to miss. Your bathroom and kitchen will show stains from hard water. A soapy ring of residue may linger around your tub, and your glass shower door is as foggy as the Scottish moors. You feel the physical result of contact: dry, itchy, unclean skin. Your laundry won’t get clean, and it seems stiff. You may notice your dishwasher and laundry machine take a toll.

  • Very Hard

When water is very hard, plumbing may stop working. Blocked pipes hold water and clog plumbing. There will likely be an unusual amount of problems with your appliances. You’ll notice stains on every surface exposed to water, and your body and hair will feel the effects of constant exposure.

  • Extremely Hard

At this end of the scale, anything’s possible. You might find a thick chalky goo coming out of your pipes. The collected accumulation can render water-fueled appliances useless. Forget about taking a shower without noticing the heavy chalky grime spraying down at you. The white, chalky residue seems to coat everything. You feel like you live in a calcium mine. It’s bad.

Hopefully, your exposure never reaches the nightmarish proportions present in this extreme state. Even if you deal with only minor levels of hard water, there’s no excuse for putting up with this easily solvable problem.

rish proportions present in this extreme state. Even if you deal with only minor levels of hard water, there’s no excuse for putting up with this easily solvable problem.

Speaking of which, we’ve finally come to the part about water softeners. You’re probably asking yourself all kinds of questions like: What kind of water softener do I need? What is the best water softener system? How much is a water softener for my home? How does a soft water system work?

Let’s start with the basics.

What Is Water Softening?

A water softener removes unwanted mineral compounds from your water. You remember that nasty duo of calcium and magnesium? With water softening system, those chemicals undergo extraction from the hard water. This results in much cleaner, softer water.

Other metals also get removed by this process, but will a water softener remove iron? The answer is yes and no. For ferrous iron in the water, a water softener will remove the iron through ion exchange. This electro-chemical process enables water softeners to work their magic.

Some types of heavier, iron rich water do not react so well to the process. Some softeners miss a significant amount of iron or allow heavy buildups to occur in the softener beds. Talk with us before relying solely on a softener for the purposes of iron extraction.

How Does a Soft Water System Work?

A water softener relies on molecular science to remove unwanted minerals. If that seems confusing, let’s start over: softeners use filters. Like your household water filter, softeners allow clean and soft water to pass through unencumbered while filtering the unwanted elements.

Unlike a traditional water filter, water softeners use a special filter, resin-rich in molecules, which attracts hard water minerals. When the hard water passes through the resin, minerals like calcium and magnesium get stuck to the resin molecules and remain in the filter.

This happens through a process of molecular ion exchange in which new bonds get formed with the highly combinable molecules found in the resin. Essentially, a swap occurs. The bad minerals get exchanged for the benign elements sodium and potassium. What emerges from the softener is nothing less than optimally soft water.

All those tiny molecules add up inside the softener. As these resin molecules get covered with minerals, another process occurs. A water softener will bath the resins with a brine water. This loosens them up and they float away, flushed down the drain. The rejuvenated water softener gets right back to softening. This incredible, self-sufficient process takes place roughly every week, depending on your usage and level of water hardness.

How to Choose a Water Softener

Selecting the right size water softener requires some basic calculations. If you’re wondering how to pick a water softener, start by considering your softening needs.

First, determine roughly how much water each resident of your house uses. Consider usage based on number of showers, loads of laundry and other activities. Once you arrive at a figure for your average occupant, multiply that number by the total number of family members residing in the house. Take this total number and multiply it again by the amount of water hardness in your water.

If you’re shooting in the dark trying to determine this number, call your local utilities provider. They should have the amount of water your home uses per month and year.

You can determine your water’s hardness level several ways: by knowing your grain/milligram per liter amount, which is determined roughly by your geographic location, or by augmenting this with your own assessment based on the types of observable factors we mentioned.

The total water usage multiplied by the hardness level will give you an assessment of how much grain removal you need a softener to accomplish. To give you some estimate, the average family of four uses 80 gallons of water per day. If they live in an average hardness territory, they’re looking at a 30,000-grain softener. At Bruni & Campisi, we can calculate your softness needs based on your water usage.

Type of Water Softeners

The last aspect of water softener selection concerns levels of automation. There are three main types of water softeners to choose from, each with a different price tag and features.

  • Manual

Manual softeners use a single vessel that houses the resins. They require you to manually empty the accumulated hard water compounds and replace the salts yourself. They do not self-replenish. Manual softeners require more hands-on work, but they come at a lower price. They occasionally get over-saturated and require you to empty them more often.

  • Semi-Automatic

Semi-automatic softeners, like manual softeners, come with the standard vessel tank. Unlike manuals, they have a brine tank and a time-controlled electric valve.

The brine tank stores the sodium responsible for mixing with the water to flush out the calcium and magnesium following a period of collection. The time clock initiates this occurrence. With some softeners, you can program this collection period, others have sensors for when its necessary to empty.

  • Automatic

Automatic softeners monitor your water use and adjust their behavior to match the needs dictated by their sensors. The control value releases when the system senses a release is required. Automatic softeners take all the muss and fuss out of the process.

How to Size a Water Softener

The market for water softeners keeps expanding. There’s a large variety of sizes for each type of system we mentioned above. The size water softener you purchase will depend on your family size, water needs and hard water tolerance level. If you aren’t sure what size will best suit your system, contact us — we can give you options on which system is best and what size is suitable.

Ask Us at Bruni & Campisi

At Bruni & Campisi, we take soft water seriously. You deserve the absolute best for your home and family, and we can help ensure the water they use to wash and clean isn’t hard. If you’re in the Westchester County, NY, Stamford, CT, Greenwich, CT or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote on a new water softener or let us know if you have questions or issues with your current model.

Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning: It’s Possible!

Summertime can bring extreme heat and make it tough to keep your home or business cool! If you’re concerned about the increase you’ll experience in utility costs or worried about the impact you’ll have on the environment by running your air conditioner, know that energy-saving air conditioning units and efficiency-increasing techniques are out there, ready to help you save money and prevent excessive environmental erosion.

Let’s take a look at some of these green air conditioning units and efficiency tips to learn more about the benefits they can provide for your home or business this summer.

Eco-Friendly & Cost-Saving Air Conditioning Units: The Basics

Purchasing a newer, more energy-efficient air conditioner is one way to achieve the cost savings you’re looking for. Seeking out a unit with an EnergyStar rating is a smart, easy way to achieve this, as is looking for a unit with a high SEER rating. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is calculated by dividing BTU — British Thermal Units, a measure of air conditioning efficiency that represents the amount of heat that can be removed from a space in an hour — by the wattage required to generate the energy. High SEER numbers, therefore, correlate with increased energy efficiency.

Note that you don’t need to run out and buy a unit with the highest SEER number out there — while that can be one way to save money in the long term, simply buying an air conditioner with a higher SEER than your old unit can help you save a good deal of money every year on utility bills.

Other Ways to Help Reduce Your Cooling Bills

There are other ways to improve your building’s energy efficiency that can be paired with purchasing a new unit or used as an alternative to buying a unit. One of the most common and effective methods is to look for and plug air leaks throughout your structure or HVAC system. These leaks can reduce efficiency and make your compressor work harder to maintain a consistent temperature.

Check your home’s insulation to see if it is sufficient and utilizes up-to-date materials. You can also check in and around your windows, as these areas are often prime suspects for air leakage. If replacing your windows for more energy-efficient alternatives is impractical or cost-prohibitive, consider installing weather stripping or caulking up gaps to help keep cool air from escaping.

Bruni & Campisi: Your HVAC & Air Conditioning Experts

If you’re a home or business owner in Westchester, NY, Greenwich, CT, Stamford, CT or the surrounding areas interested in getting cost-efficient air-conditioning units or plugging leaks in your HVAC system, contact us for a free estimate here at Bruni & Campisi. We offer a wide range of air conditioning installation, repair and replacement services.

Avail yourself of a team of experts that have provided satisfied clients throughout the New York metropolitan area with quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service for nearly 40 years — trust Bruni & Campisi to get the job done.

Is My Air Conditioner Broken? How to Know if You Need a New Unit.

A broken air conditioner during the summer is a real let down. You, your family, your staff and your clients live and work better in a comfortable, temperature-controlled environment — a hot, sweaty home or business facility is no fun for anyone.

If you’re concerned that your AC or HVAC system is not working, we’re here to provide you with a few tips on what to look for.

Is My AC Too Old?

An old air conditioning unit isn’t necessarily in need of replacement. If it’s been well-maintained and serviced, your old AC might be able to provide you with many more years of reliable service.

With that said, an air conditioner or compressor that is older than 10 years may lack certain efficiency features that newer models offer in abundance, such as Energy Star ratings. If your old AC has a SEER — Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio — rating, you’ll be able to compare that to units currently on the market. A higher SEER means a unit can produce better energy efficiency, saving you money on energy bills and helping preserve natural resources. We recommend replacing your air conditioner if it has a SEER under 13.

Telltale Signs of AC Failure

There are a few other ways you can determine whether your AC is in need of replacement:

  • Weird Smells: If you begin to notice offensive odors after turning on your AC, first check its vent to see if your filter needs replacement. If this isn’t the culprit, it may be time to think about buying a new unit, particularly if it emits a stale smell or if your nose tells you something’s about to incinerate.
  • Unusual Noises: If your AC is making unusually loud sounds, it’s possible something inside has come loose or is about to break. Much like noises from your car that cause concern, you’ll want to pay attention to any noticeable knocks or squeals that emanate from your unit.
  • It’s Still Too Hot in Your Building: We’ve had a few exceptionally hot days this summer that have placed a strain on our air conditioning systems, but if you find that your unit consistently fails to keep your room at a comfortable temperature, it’s time to invest in a replacement.

Bruni & Campisi: Your AC Replacement Source

If you’re a home or business owner in Westchester County, NY, Stamford, CT, Greenwich CT or the surrounding areas in need of a new air conditioning system or repairs to your existing unit, contact us at Bruni & Campisi today for a free estimate. We’re well experienced in working with clients to suggest when to get a new HVAC — we’ve successfully provided this service to area residents for nearly 40 years.

We offer a wide range of rebates for high-efficiency air conditioning systems, so now is a great time to upgrade your home or business’s HVAC system. Trust the friendly, knowledgeable team here at Bruni & Campisi to provide you with expert air conditioning consultation and professional installation services.

Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance Checklist

Come summertime, an air conditioner operating at optimal efficiency is essential. No wonder air conditioning has become all but standard in the American home. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75 percent of American homes feature an air conditioner of one type or another. Additionally, air conditioning units use 6 percent of all electricity produced in the United States, costing American homeowners around $29 billion a year. On the face of it, this second statistic might seem daunting. Considering America’s increased focus on both environmental issues and cost efficiency, making an investment in energy use reduction would be wise for many homeowners.

However, regular home air conditioner maintenance does more than reduce energy consumption — it will also improve your air conditioner’s ability to keep you cool. As experts in A/C maintenance, we want to present you with the ultimate preventive maintenance checklist for air conditioners. As you prepare for the summer heat, you can rest easy knowing that your air conditioner will keep you nice and cool all season long.

AC Maintenance Checklist

Start with air filters and indoor coil.

  • Make sure to clean your air filters.
  • Kitchen antiseptic spray works well for cleaning. Just make sure to rinse with warm water.
  • The key is to remove dust build up, as this will impede air flow.

Next clean the outdoor unit, including the coil while checking air flow.

  • Obstructions should be removed, as they will diminish air flow.
  • The air outlet on the front of the system should be wiped down.
  • Do a check on the air flow, and make sure the coil is unobstructed

Do an air flow check on both indoor and outdoor units.

  • Start with the indoor unit and make sure you have good air flow.
  • If air flow is poor, you may have a failing fan motor or a blocked coil.
  • If you have removed obstructions and air flow is still poor, it’s time for a professional checkup.

Look out for rust.

  • You want to fix rust and corrosion immediately.
  • A new coat of waterproof paint is sufficient for minor superficial rust.
  • However, a professional will need to address any major rust damage.

Do a check on heating and cooling modes to make sure they are switching properly.

  • Switch your system between heating and cooling modes.
  • If your air conditioner is struggling to make the switch, this is a good indication of more serious issues, and means you should contact a professional.

Check Air Filters and Indoor Coil

Remember, while your air conditioning unit is most likely outside, air conditioning efficiency starts inside. Your air conditioning unit is linked into your central duct system, using the same ductwork that your furnace uses during the winter.

Start with your indoor air filters. Many systems use replaceable, inexpensive filters. These should be replaced monthly, especially in older homes.

Other HVAC systems utilize permanent filters. Instead of regularly replacing these filters, you need to clean them. Cleaning is simple. A standard kitchen antiseptic spray works well. Just spray both sides of the filter and wipe clean, rinsing with warm water. When you’re done, your filters should be dust free.

Another indoor air conditioning appliance to include in your checklist is the HVAC evaporator or indoor coil. This is a device that assists with heat exchange. These are not standard in all central air conditioning systems, so many homeowners will not have one. But if you do, you also want to make sure to clean the coils to ensure they are working at peak efficiency.

If you are using indoor window units, you still need to look for dust and debris. As indoor units run, they will collect dust and debris from the air outside. Use a general cleaning spray to clean the indoor-facing vents of your units.

Check and Clean the Coil and Air Outlets on the Outdoor Unit

Now that you’ve checked the indoor items off your air conditioner maintenance checklist, it’s time to move to your outdoor unit.

Your first step is to look at the outdoor unit and see if there is any obvious debris or obstruction. Often, over the course of the winter, leaves, sticks and dirt will collect on the unit that could obstruct airflow. This debris should be removed.

It should also be noted that there are many after-market products sold to cover your outdoor unit during the winter. However, many homeowners report an increase in rust development after covering their units during the colder months. Because these covers seal the unit during the winter, moisture cannot escape, thus causing unseen corrosion. Some homeowners even report their unit fan locking due to rust the moment that they turn their A/C on for the first time for the year.

Next, you want to look more closely at the grate or foil filtering the air flow.

If you have coil fins — in which thin aluminum sheets cover the air flow — know that these can get bent, drastically impeding air flow. If you have coil fins that have been bent, you will want to purchase an affordable device known as a “fin comb.” This will allow you to bend the fins gently back into place.

If you have a more open grating system, make sure to use a cleaning solution to remove finer dust and debris, further increasing airflow.

Third, look inside and make sure the heat exchange coil is free of obstructions. If you see leaves or other debris, clear them out.

If you have window units, you still need to inspect the outside air flow vents of these units. In many cases, the same maintenance steps will apply.

Finally, run your air conditioning unit and inspect it as it is running to see if there are any airflow obstructions that you did not notice during your initial inspection. Don’t be afraid to listen to the fan as it is running to see if you can hear any grinding or the sound of a leaf caught in the fan.

Do not try to remove the obstruction while the air conditioning is running, but if you do notice something, turn the unit off again and see if the movement made it easier for you to clear out the remaining debris.

Check for Good Airflow From Both Indoor and Outdoor Units

Now that you’re confident that your units are debris-free, you want to go back inside while the air conditioning — whether central or window units — are running.

If you have window units, and especially if they are all the same brand and model, each should be running with the same strength. If there are any units that are lagging, it might be time to have them either serviced or replaced.

If you have a central unit, you still want to investigate airflow coming from your ductwork vents. Depending on the age and style of your home, there will likely be some vents that do a better job of pushing out cool air than others. Taller, older homes tend to have a harder time evenly distributing forced air on the upper floors. However, vents within the various regions of your home should be consistent.

If airflow is poor or inconsistent, and you are confident that you have already cleared obstructions from the central unit, you may have a larger issue. It is most likely that a coil is being obstructed in a way that you cannot see without dismantling the unit, or your fan may be starting to fail. In either case, it is time to consult a professional.

In a moment like this, a professional may seem like an expense that you can avoid, but having an air conditioning system in this type of condition serviced will save your money in the long run.

Remember, you want to get as much life out of a central air conditioning system as you can, as the cost of replacement, especially if the unit is relatively new, will far outpace the cost of routine maintenance. Because these sorts of issues are common, diagnosing them will likely be easy and the repairs quick.

Check for Rust or Corrosion

Rust or corrosion is one of the first age issues that can start to tax an A/C unit. Because an air conditioner needs to be working at peak performance to be energy-efficient, you don’t want any corrosion slowing the fan or making the coil less effective.

Additionally, like the paint job on a car, a little bit of rust can quickly start to spread. That’s why you need to address even minor, seemingly cosmetic rust issues as soon as possible. While the rust may not be impeding the operation of your unit now, in a season or two, it is likely that the rust will spread and become a much more expensive concern.

If you are an intrepid do-it-yourselfer, you can use waterproof steel paint to address minor scuffs and superficial rust. This will stabilize the issue, although if you are strongly concerned about cosmetics, know that it may be difficult to match the paint perfectly.

Major rust issues always need to be addressed by a professional. While you may be able to diagnose rust as the cause of a fan problem, it’s likely that the damage extends beyond what a non-professional can observe. If the rust issue has gotten that bad, there’s a good chance it will also be damaging other, harder-to-see parts of your air conditioning unit.

Check Your System on Both Heating and Cooling Modes

The final step in the home A/C maintenance checklist is to make sure your HVAC system can switch between heating and cooling modes.

Once you’ve established that your system is operating well on cool, turn the thermostat to heating mode — making sure to adjust the thermostat to a warm-enough desired temperature to trigger heat — and see if it adjusts correctly.

This is an important test because it is the only way to determine if there is an issue with the reversing valve.

The reversing valve is an important piece of equipment that allows you to use many of the same components for both heating and cooling. If this crucial part isn’t working properly, you will need to contact a professional to have it replaced properly.

Important Air Conditioning Diagnostics Requiring a Professional

While the above checklist should become an essential and regular part of your yearly A/C preparations, there are air conditioning issues that require a professional. While you may not need to have these things checked annually, they are important enough that you should schedule professional maintenance regularly. Below is a list of things that should be left to a professional. You can also consider this as an air conditioner service checklist for when you do hire a professional.

HVAC maintenance professionals are required for the following issues:

  • Precisely measuring airflow. As we mentioned above, you should be able to tell if your air conditioning airflow is sufficient. But you won’t have the kind of precision equipment needed to make sure that there isn’t a smaller obstruction in your evaporator coil. That’s why you should get a professional to diagnose an airflow problem if you suspect there is one but cannot clearly identify where the obstruction might be.
  • Verify the electric control sequence controlling the reversing valve. If you are having problems switching between heating and cooling modes, you may have an issue with your reversing valve. However, you could also have a problem with the electric control sequence. You want to make sure a professional determines which of the two issues you are having trouble with. Remember, when it comes to electrical controls, do-it-yourself solutions can be dangerous. And depending on where you live, attempting a DIY electrical fix may be a code violation.
  • Apply lubricant and check belts for tightness. You can usually spot rust and the problems that corrosion can cause. But other issues can impede the operation of your air conditioning fan. It may be a simple lubrication problem, or it could be an aging belt. Either way, because these parts are delicate and need to be perfectly installed to work properly, inspecting and maintaining these parts is a professional job.
  • Check refrigerant levels, test for refrigerant leaks and capture refrigerant that needs to be evacuated. When it comes to a refrigerant, addressing it improperly isn’t just wasteful, it is illegal. That’s because these chemicals can have an enormous environmental impact if released improperly. You cannot spill or release refrigerant into the atmosphere. And if there is a leak, you are responsible as a homeowner for any damage that that leak may cause. This is perhaps the most important reason to get a regular professional checkup on your air conditioning unit. It is vital that you not attempt to address refrigerant issues yourself.
  • Tighten connections and re-apply non-conductive coating. Remember, the many parts in a central air conditioning unit are complicated and need to be installed correctly. Knowing what parts to tighten and how to do so in a way that won’t damage their non-conductive coating is crucial if you want an air conditioner that works the way you expect it to. Further, correctly making the adjustments often require tools that can’t be found in a common home toolbox.
  • Look for duct leakage. This is another issue that could be sapping the efficiency of your airflow that can be hard to identify during your routine check. Your fan could be working perfectly, your filter can be brand-new and all ventilation might be unobstructed, yet you are still experiencing airflow issues.

In this case, it’s possible that you have duct leakage somewhere in your HVAC system. A professional will know what to look for and have the materials necessary to fix it. While the repair is minor, having a professional complete it will go a long way in improving energy efficiency, thus saving your money in the long run.

Contact Bruni & Campisi About Our AC Maintenance

If you live in Westchester County, N.Y., Stamford, Conn., Greenwich, Conn. or any of the surrounding areas, you can count on Bruni & Campisi for all your HVAC needs.

Since 1979, we have been providing the region with expert HVAC and plumbing care for both residential and commercial clients. Since then, we have earned a sterling reputation for reliability, quality and experience with the leading and most respected air conditioning brands in the country.

All our work is performed by licensed HVAC professionals, meaning you can feel confident that the experts diagnosing your air conditioning issues have received the training to get it right the first time.

As a benefit to our budget-minded clients, we have created a regular air conditioning maintenance program. Our annual A/C tune-ups help to avoid costly repairs and replacements down the road while extending the life of your equipment. As a part of this program, you will receive:

  • Annual tune-up and 15-point inspection of one central A/C unit
  • Priority response for all service calls
  • Maintain maximum safety and efficiency
  • 10 percent off replacement parts for duration of agreement

Because our service staff is equally well-trained on heating systems as they are on cooling, you can be confident that our repairs and maintenance will ensure that both systems are working together as efficiently and effectively as possible.

In the event of an air conditioning emergency, we provide 24/7 emergency service. That way, if your air conditioning fails in the middle of a dangerous heat wave, you can get repairs done quickly, protecting your family.

To take the guesswork out of maintenance and repair costs, we offer free estimates and up-front, flat rates. That way, you won’t have to worry about unexpected costs tied to hourly labor.

If you are ready to set up a regular maintenance contract or you just want to talk to a professional about what you may need to get your air conditioner working like it did the day you had it installed, contact us.


Bruni & Campisi, Inc.

Serving Westchester, Greenwich and Stamford since 1979.

100 Grasslands Rd, Elmsford NY 10523

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