My AC is Blowing Warm Air!

Troubleshooting an Air Conditioner that is Not Blowing Cold Air

Troubles with an air conditioner are never great, but it is especially a problem when it seems your air conditioner is making your home warmer! There is never a worse time to discover this than the middle of a hot Kansas summer.

When you realize your air conditioner is putting out warm air instead of cool air, what should you do? It may seem like your system is completely broken and that you will need a costly repair or even an even more expensive complete AC replacement. But the good news is that isn’t always the case. There may be some easy fix that just about any homeowner can handle to get the hot air problem fixed right away.

What Should You Do When Your AC is Not Blowing Cold Air?

The first thing you should NOT do is panic and rush for the phone to call for a repair. Yes, we would be happy to fix your air conditioning problem whenever you need us, but if there is an easy fix, doing it yourself will save you some time and money. So before calling a professional technician, we want to give you the AC Blowing Warm Air Troubleshooting Tips you should try first. 

Here at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air, we receive calls throughout the summer from Manhattan, Wamego, Junction City, and surrounding towns with people in distress over a broken air conditioner. Sometimes when we go to service their AC system, we discover the source of the problem required easy fixes the homeowners may have been able to handle themselves.

Troubleshooting AC Blowing Warm Air

Here are the first steps for a homeowner to take when faced with an AC not blowing cool air. These are pretty basic steps that just about anyone at any skill level can handle.

These troubleshooting steps: 

  • Are relatively easy and require no (or little) repair skills
  • Can be done quickly, often in mere minutes
  • Require little or no money

Taking a little bit of time to troubleshoot your AC problem could really pay off. If one of these troubleshooting steps fixes your problems, you will have prevented paying for a service call.

Graphic image showing the 4 basic troubleshooting steps to do when your AC is blowing warm air

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #1: CHECK YOUR THERMOSTAT

You are going to hope the thermostat is your problem because it can be the easiest problem to fix! Getting your air conditioner to blow cool air again may be as simple as a push of a button.

We see this problem every so often: someone in the home changes the thermostat. Whether they intentionally wanted it much warmer or simply hit something wrong by accident, there could be a setting that is making your AC blow warm air.

Checking to ensure that your thermostat settings are where they should be is your first step.   

Is the thermostat set to COOL? No matter how low you set your thermostat it, if it’s not at the COOL setting, it won’t put out cool air. You need to make sure the thermostat is indeed set on COOL. It should not be only on FAN or HEAT.

Is the thermostat set to be colder than the current temperature? If you haven’t adjusted your thermostat since the winter, it may be set to a hotter temperature than the ambient temperature. If that’s the case, lower the set temperature to be a number below the current air temperature. You should notice your air conditioner fan kick on rather quickly. And soon after, you should feel cool air coming from your vents.

Is the thermostat’s battery dead? A lot of us forget that the device controlling our temperatures needs battery power to work. If that battery is dead, it can’t send the message to your HVAC system the message that your house is too hot. It is great news if you discover this is your problem. Simply replacing your thermostat’s batteries may be all the fix you need to get your air conditioner back to working and blowing out cool air.

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #2: VENTS

This step is to simply check all the vents in your home. Are your vents open? For proper heating and cooling to occur, you need to keep every vent in your home open. It’s a common mistaken belief that closing vents to rooms saves energy. However, your HVAC system was designed to work in the way it was set up, including utilizing your full duct work system. Vents should be open for proper flow of air through your home. It is okay, however, if a couple vents are closed.

Make sure you can feel air coming out of your registers. If you do not feel any, the fan motor in your HVAC system may not be working. Call us at Standard and our technicians can get that fixed quickly.

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #3: INDOOR UNIT

Your home’s HVAC includes a component of the AC system called an evaporator. The evaporator absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to your outdoor AC unit (the condenser). To check this step, go to your furnace and listen if the blower motor is running. Also, check to see if there is any ice on the evaporator coil. That may indicate there is a refrigerant leak or something simpler to address such as a dirty air filter (keep reading for more on air filters).

If your evaporator mower is not working, you will want to contact a professional air conditioning technician to handle. There are a few issues that could be keeping the motor from working, from lack of lubrication to electrical issues, and these are most safely handled by a trained technician.

Dirty air filter: This is a great problem to discover as it is very easy to fix. You may not have realized exactly how important it is to change your air filter on a regular schedule. It’s the most important part of regular AC maintenance. Many people don’t know how frequently it needs to be changed or the serious problems a dirty filter can cause. A dirty or clogged filter really can shut your entire HVAC system. If your air filter looks dirty, change it. That alone may be the only fix your air conditioner needs to begin blowing cool air again!

While the indoor component of your cooling system contains the fan that blows air through your home, it will blow air even when the outside unit is not working. It is your outside unit (the condenser) that turns the air cool that gets circulated through your home. That takes us to Step #4.  

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #4: OUTSIDE AC UNIT

If you’ve tried the above 3 troubleshooting AC steps and your vents are still blowing warm air, it’s time to go outside.

Look at the outdoor AC unit. Does it have any frost or ice on it? If it does, change the setting on your thermostat from COOL to having only the FAN on. This will allow the unit to thaw. It may take as much as 12 hours for the unit thaw out. A frozen outdoor AC unit is often an indicator that your air filter needs to be changed. If changing your filter fixes the problem, but only temporarily, you may be dealing with a possible freon leak. Contact Standard and our technicians will quickly come out to resolve any potentially dangerous freon leak. We will also refill your unit with refrigerant.

Another thing to check is whether the unit is dirty. It’s common, especially here in Kansas, to find our outdoor AC unit covered with milkweed, leaves or other natural debris. If you can see it is dirty, you can clean it.

How to Clean Your AC Condenser Unit 

    • Turn off your condenser unit.
    • Remove the top section and outer caging.
    • Spray the coils from inside the condenser with a hose. Make sure you are spraying from the inside going out. Do not spray from the outside in. Also, take care to not bend the fins.

If you want a professional to handle the cleaning and maintenance of your AC unit, feel free to schedule service with us online or by calling at (785) 776-5012.

Graphic image showing the list of big AC problems that would require an HVAC technician, such as one from Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Manhattan

Other Broken AC Problems

If none of the above AC Blowing Warm Air Troubleshooting Steps worked for you, call us. We may be able to provide you more things to check that can be handled on your own. Give us a call at (785) 776-5012. We will be happy to come out and service your HVAC unit to get cold air blowing again as soon as possible.

You can learn more about how air conditioners work and energy saving tips from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy Tax Credit for Homeowners

Save Money on New Efficient Systems in Your Home

March 2020

Promotional ad for potential $500 tax credit for new energy efficient HVAC installation

Now a New Furnace or AC Comes with Extra Benefits!

The federal government is giving homeowners a tax credit for making their home more energy efficient. It is extending a tax credit for homeowners who’ve had new systems installed in their homes that meet certain qualifications. And great news – there is still plenty of time to take advantage of this energy efficiency property credit!

How Much Money Can You Save?

Cash money iconDepending on the product or system you had (or will get) installed, you could see a tax credit for several hundred dollars. Some of the products qualify you for a credit of 10% of the cost up to a total of $500. Other products have specific credit values ranging from $50 to $300.

Which Products Does this Include?

This is a Federal Energy Tax Credit. These are federal incentives to increase the efficiency in homes across the country.  You have an opportunity for this money saving opportunity because of the energy saving investments you made in your home. This credit is only for an HVAC system or property placed in service in a home. Therefore, the products that qualify you for this tax credit have specifications regarding their level of energy efficiency.

What that means is a higher SEER rating on a newly installed air conditioner. If your new AC is listed as an ENERGY STAR Most Efficient product, than it should qualify.  Central air conditioner systems qualify for a credit of up to $300.

When it comes to heating systems, you will be looking to get a furnace or boiler with an AFUE rating of at least 95. Propane, natural gas and oil furnaces and boilers can result in a saving of up to $150.

The types of products that qualify include:

    • High efficient furnace with high AFUE that qualifies for federal energy tax creditHigh efficient AC with high SEER rating that qualifies for energy tax creditFurnaces
    • Air Conditioner Systems
    • Heat Pumps
    • Hot Water Boilers
    • Water Heaters
    • Circulating Fans

These products must be installed in your home to qualify. This is not a credit for businesses. For the full list of what products qualify and how much each qualifies for, check out the property tax credit list on EnergyStar.gov.

For some information on how to apply to receive your federal tax credit regarding energy efficient installations, check out Energy Star’s Tax Credit page. There you will also find links to various tax forms and contact information for the IRS.

Deadline to Get the Credit

cash money iconThis tax credit is one that is in effect now and through the end of this year. You have until December 31, 2020 to get a new energy-efficient system put into your home to take advantage of this savings.

 If you had a new home comfort system installed in the last couple of years, you may still be in luck! This tax credit is retroactive all the way back to 2018. So you still can get the savings on systems and products you’ve already had recently installed.

Want to take advantage of this tax credit before it’s too late? Call us! Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air are Manhattan’s heating and cooling experts. We can provide you with a new furnace or air conditioning system or even a complete HVAC package in time for you to qualify for this tax credit. We install high-end, energy-efficient systems that will improve the comfort in your home. You can expect to also see a saving on your monthly energy bill with newer systems working more efficiently in your home.

Request a free estimate for a new system for your home online or by calling us at (785) 776-5012.

 

Related Tax Credits to Homeowners

In addition to this HVAC energy tax credit, you’ll find other home improvement products also qualify for a credit. This includes new insulation, roofs, windows and doors. However, the credit for these improvements does not include installation costs.

Ask the Professionals

While we can address any problem or question you have about heating and air systems, remember that we are HVAC experts, not tax experts. For more in-depth questions on who can qualify and instruction on applying for tax credits, you will want to see a tax professional.

 

 

2023 Federal Rules on AC SEER Ratings

What to Know about New Regulations Affecting Air Conditioners

March 2020

Federal Restrictions on Buying New Air Conditioners

In three years, the government is changing environmental standards that will affect AC systems in homes across the United States. This coming change is already impacting service companies like us at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air here in Manhattan, Kansas. It will affect homeowners over the coming years, but how much?

The way that air conditioning systems work has always had an impact on energy use and our environment. Our industry has regularly dealt with federal guidelines on the service and installation of air conditioners and refrigerant. The rules affecting AC systems in homes across the country sometimes change, and they are about to change again.

How will the next AC change affect you and your home?

 

First: Understanding SEER

Knowing how this coming regulation change on minimum SEER requirements will affect your home’s HVAC system starts with understanding the SEER rating.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a measurement that tells you the level of energy efficiency for an air conditioner. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient it is.

KANSAS FACTS: AC systems in homes across the Manhattan area usually have a SEER rating somewhere between SEER 10 and SEER 20. If you have an older air conditioner, yours might have a lower SEER number. If you have a newer AC, your system may even have a SEER number higher than 20.

The minimum efficiency rating of air conditioners has been mandated for decades. In 1987, the U.S. Department of Energy set it’s first SEER rating standards. Those standards vary from region to region. The reason for this is because of the wide range of climates across the country. The temperature and climate are primary factors into determining the minimum SEER rating allowed for each regions. Many states south of Kansas have a higher SEER rating requirement.

KANSAS FACTS: Here in the Manhattan area, the current federal requirement for air conditioners is that any new ones installed have a SEER rating of 13 or higher.

Our current SEER 13 minimum requirement began five years ago – back in 2015. Just 8 years later, the EPA will raise the SEER minimum again.

The new federal regulation means that all new air conditioners that get install need to be SEER 14 or higher starting 2023.

Beginning in 2023, Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air (along with every heating and air conditioning company in the United States) can no longer install an air conditioning unit with a SEER rating of 13 or less. For HVAC companies in states further south, they will only be permitted to install air conditioners with a minimum rating of SEER 15.

 

What if Your Current AC Has Less than a SEER 14 Rating?

Standard AC technician repairing an air conditioner in Manhattan areaThere is nothing to worry about right away. The new higher standard coming in 2023 is only for new AC units that are getting installed.

The new change to the SEER minimum coming in 2023 will not force you to have to do anything soon.

Many homeowners aren’t meeting the current SEER 13 requirement right now anyway. If your AC has a lower SEER rating and it’s running fine, you don’t have to replace it right now with a new, more efficient system, although there are great reasons why you should do that anyway. But if you do choose to (or need to) replace your system, there are already a lot of great high efficent AC options. You will easily be able to purchase one with a SEER of 14 or higher.

New AC installed by Standard Plumbing Heating & Air ConditioningYou Will Likely NOT Be Affected By This Regulation Change

The SEER 14 minimum rule will only be a potential issue for homeowners who need to replace an aging cooling system on or after 2023. But even that isn’t going to be much of an issue.

Cooling technology has improved greatly over the years. Today, you have a lot of different air conditioning options to choose from. It’s quite easy to find a system that is not just more energy efficient, but also affordable. Even today, most homeowners don’t even consider getting a new AC that has a rating lower than SEER 14. For not a great cost difference, you can purchase an AC that has a high SEER number, one that runs more efficiently and provides you reliable cooling for your entire house.

When you hire Standard for a professional AC installation, we give you the information necessary to help you understand the benefits of different systems so you can be sure you have the right cooling solution for your home.

Choosing an AC system with a higher SEER rating could end up saving you money. The amount you spend every month on energy bills can be reduced by simply having a more efficient air conditioner. Over time, you may find that the money you save on monthly bills will more than equal the additional price of buying a more efficient unit.

 

The Larger Impact of the 2023 SEER Rating Change

While we’ve explained this regulatory change isn’t likely to affect homeowners across Kansas or anywhere in the United States, it is expected to impact our country in other ways. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EPA) has stated that this new rule change for SEER minimum ratings will add up to creating a savings of between $2.5 billion – $12.2 billion on energy bills over three decades.

 

A Different Federal AC Rule Change

The regulation raising the SEER minimum ratings in 2023 isn’t the only change happening to homeowners’ air conditioning systems. A different governmental rule just went into affect in January 2020. The refrigerant used in many current air conditioning units, R22 (also known as Freon), has been phased out. Learn how the R22 phase out could affect you and your HVAC costs.

 

Have Questions?

Photo of Standard Heating & Air service van outside Manhattan shopContact us with your heating and air questions. The Standard Plumbing Heating & Air team are your Manhattan experts on the rules and standards for proper service and installation of AC systems. We would be happy to help you understand the heating and cooling options for your home. Call us at (785) 776-5012.

 

Furnace Won’t Light

Homeowner’s Troubleshooting Guide to a Broken Heater

The middle of a cold Manhattan winter is the worst time to find yourself with a broken furnace. Facing an impending night in the cold can be very stressful. However, calling for a furnace repair technician right away isn’t always the best thing to do. For one reason, HVAC companies like Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning will be busy addressing heating problems in homes across Manhattan and surrounding Kansas towns when a cold snap hits.  Another reason is because the problem may be something you as the homeowner can fix yourself.

There are lots of different issues that could be causing your furnace to not work, including its ignition. If you find that the problem is that your furnace is not igniting, there are several things you can do to try and fix the problem yourself. These troubleshooting attempts may help you save time, money and keep your family from spending even one night in a freezing house.

Graphic image showing the difference of a pilot light from an electric ignition

Furnace Ignition Instructions

Your furnace ignites in one of two ways. Therefore, the first step a homeowner should take on a broken furnace that won’t ignite is to find out which ignition source is the one for their unit.

Icon of a gas furnace that uses a pilot lightIgnition by Pilot Light

The oldest way that furnaces have been made to light is by a pilot light. This is a is a small flame constantly burning in your furnace. Look to see if your furnace has a pilot light. Look into the bottom of your furnace where there is a tray of burners.  A pilot light is typically located to the side and just a bit above the tray. To ignite, you will need to get fire to this pilot light. First, make sure the control knob on the gas-valve is set to pilot. A long lighter or a long match are good tools for supplying this needed flame.

5 Steps: Lighting a Pilot Light

  1. Before even dealing with the actual heating unit, turn the thermostat down low enough so that the furnace won’t come on right away when lighting the pilot light.
  2. You will need to remove the door on the furnace to expose the burner area and locate the gas-valve. Next, turn the gas-valve to “pilot”.  It should be set to “on”, turn it off and wait five minutes. This will allow any remaining gas to clear out.

WARNING: If after waiting 5 minutes you smell gas by your furnace, you could have a gas leak somewhere in the unit. If that is the case, DO NOT attempt to light it yourself. Contact us at (785) 776-5012 for us to come and make sure your system’s lines are safe for your furnace to be relit.

  1. Now you can turn the gas-valve to “pilot”. Push down on the knob your just turned and hold-down. You may notice the faint sound of gas going through the pipe. With that knob pressed, use a lit match or long lighter to place flame under the gas port of the pilot. Do you now see a flame burning from the pilot light? If so, continue holding down that knob for at least a minute.

NOTE: Be aware that it may take several minutes for your pilot light to heat up, especially if this is the 1st time you’re lighting your furnace for the season. The gas needed to ignite the pilot flame will have to travel the entire length of the gas line. The longer your line is, the more time it will likely take before your pilot light ignites.

  1. Now you can release the knob slowly. Your pilot light should stay lit. If so, you can turn the control knob to “on”.
  2. Go back to your thermostat and turn it up to the desired heat. If you go back to your furnace, you should see more flames burning in the tray. Put door back onto furnace.

Igniting an Electric Furnace

Icon of an electric furnace ignitionAn electric furnace ignition is the most common ignition source for modern furnaces. An electric ignition is thought to be a safer type of ignition because it does not require any gas like a pilot light does. These ignitions are made of a metal alloy. It heats up when an electric current runs through it. The heat from this current causes the gas-air mixture that is going into your furnace to ignite.

If your furnace won’t light, this type of ignition source will pose you a bigger problem. You can’t relight an electric ignition. What a homeowner can do is to check if the electric ignition is lighting up. Determining this will help diagnose the problem and potential solution, which may be to replace the ignitor.

4 Steps: Checking if a Furnace’s Electric Ignition is Burnt Out

  1. Turn the power to your furnace on. This often looks like a light switch on your heating unit.
  2. Look into your heater and check to see if your electric ignitor is glowing. This is usually in the same place as a pilot light would be (see above Ignition by Pilot Light section).
  3. You should hear a click when the gas valve opens. This indicates that gas is being sent through the area where the electric ignitor is. You may also hear sounds of gas hissing. Do you see any flames coming from your electric ignitor? If not, that means it is very likely that your ignitor is burnt out.
  4. If you can get a good look at the ignitor, look for cracks. A crack in an electric ignition is another indicator that your ignitor is burnt out or that there is some problem keeping your furnace from getting the necessary electricity needed for ignition.

Can you replace a broken electric ignitor yourself? It’s possible. If a homeowner has the ability to handle furnace repair that is more complicated than basic maintenance skills, this could be handled without calling for a professional technician. However, you do need to consider what type of furnace you are dealing with. Even if you have beyond-average repair skills, the type of furnace you have may prevent you from replacing the ignition yourself. Most of the modern, high-efficiency furnaces contain an electric ignition that is placed so far inside the unit that homeowners aren’t able to access it.

Graphic showing the troubleshooting steps of dealing with a furnace that won’t light

Troubleshooting Why a Furnace Won’t Light

If you’ve taken steps to ignite your furnace and it still won’t ignite, your furnace ignitor may be broken and in need of getting replaced. But other issues should still be considered. There are a few things that could cause your furnace from lighting that a homeowner can easily check. And if it’s one of these other issues, you may find you don’t need a heating technician to handle.

Here are 4 issues you could check before paying for a service call. Most are easy and can be done by a homeowner of any skill level. But if you do not feel confident in handling any issue, especially when it comes to electrical matters, do not hesitate to give us a call. Our technicians would be more than happy to come out and do what needs to be done to fix your broken furnace.

  1. Thermostat showing 68 degreesCheck the thermostat
    Is your thermostat is set to heat? Is the temperature set at level that is above the current ambient temperature? If not, set the temperature up a few degrees. If you don’t feel heat shortly after doing this, you can remove this as the cause of the problem. Most digital thermostats require new batteries to be installed about once a year. Located under the cover of the thermostat.
  2. A dirty air filter next to a clean air filterCheck the air filter
    If your air filter is dirty, that could what’s keeping your furnace light from igniting and perhaps over-heating the furnace itself.
  3. Check the circuit breaker
    Has the circuit to your furnace gotten tripped? If so, turn it off for a couple minutes and then reset it. Does it trip again? If so, you should call a professional to see what’s causing the problem. Contact us at Standard and we will send a technician out to your house to repair your furnace problem.
  4. Check your gas line
    Look for a switch near the furnace that turns the furnace on. Turn it to the on position if it’s off. You can also check out the gas valve and ensure it is open. Do you have other gas burning appliances? If so, check if those are working in order to determine if the gas is on.

One Little Way to Avoid a Big Furnace Problem

Discovering that your furnace isn’t working in the dead of a Kansas winter is the worst time to realize you have a problem with your home’s system. The best way to avoid that is a step you can take right now.

CalendarPREVENTING NEXT WINTER’S PROBLEM

Schedule a reminder on your phone for late summer or early fall. This reminder is for you to do the simple task of turning on your furnace to give it a good test run well in advance of needing it for the coming winter season.

This early reminder should be done for your air conditioner as well. Right now, set a reminder to turn your air conditioner on in early spring.

Furnace Ignites but You’re Not Getting Heat?

If you can light your furnace but still don’t feel heat coming through your vents, there could be several different issues that’s causing your furnace not to work. Some of the easy and common ones relate to your thermostat or air filter. Going through the above steps to address those areas may solve other problems your furnace could be having.

Standard heating technician working on diagnosing the problem of a broken furnace

If you notice any problems with your heating or air that is beyond your ability to fix, contact us at Standard and we’ll work to get your system back up and running again as quickly as possible. We have a large team of experienced HVAC technicians and service Manhattan, Wamego, Junction City and surrounding Kansas towns.

Call us at (785) 776-5012

 

Water Coming Up through the Floor

4 Signs you have a Slab Leak

Water coming up through your floor or discovering a leak somewhere can be the sign of a serious problem, one that requires prompt attention before the problem gets worse. It could also create water damage to your home. If you notice water coming up from your floors, contact us and one of our experienced local plumbers will come investigate and determine the problem. But there are some things you as a homeowner can do yourself in determining if you have a very serious leak under the floors of your home.

If your home doesn’t have a basement and was built on a concrete slab foundation, water coming from your walls, underneath cabinets or out of cracks in the floor tile can mean you have a leak in your floor slab. But there are less severe reasons than a slab leak causing you to see water coming up through your floors.

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