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Places Your Home Is Leaking Heat

If you own a home, you pay for heating and cooling, too. If you aren’t careful, the cost of utilities can become expensive over time. Single family homes, on average, pay $2,060 a year in utilities according to the US Department of Energy, 29% of which is allocated specifically to heating. How, then, can you reduce the cost? By identifying the nooks and crannies most likely to leak heat, you can weatherproof your house, keep your family warm, and lower your heating costs this winter. Read on for the seven surprising places in your home you probably didn’t know were leaking heat.

1. Attics

 

Attics are one of the biggest places homes lose heat. Besides the fact that most homes don’t have enough insulation, there are other areas to be aware of. Even attics that are well insulated many times are lacking insulation above the access hatch. Additionally, holes for pipes and vents can lead to a significant amount of heat loss over time. Be sure all holes are sealed and all attic openings are properly insulated and weatherproof.

 

2. Windows and Doors

 

A major source of heat loss in homes results from gaps in windows and doors. In fact, leakage from doors and windows results in about 20-25% of total heat loss alone in a house. Reduce drafts and the cost of heating by sealing leaks around windows and doors with weather stripping and caulk. Don’t forget to add a weather strip to the bottom of the doors.

 

3. Pipes and Wiring & Vents

 

Gaps created by lights and other fixtures installed through walls and ceilings can cause heat loss. In order to prevent heat loss, exposed gaps should be filled with expanding foam to seal these leaks. Fans, vents, and holes for structures such as laundry ducts can account for large portions of heat loss in your home as well. Ensure exposed gaps are sealed or reduced in size to prevent heat leakage.

 

4. Electrical Outlets

 

While only contributing to a minor portion of total loss, electrical outlets are another lesser-known source of heat leakage. Take countermeasures to block exposed sockets and stop cold air from slipping through. You can find socket sealers at most home improvement stores and they are simple to install.

 

5. Fireplace Dampers

 

Fireplaces get a lot of attention during the colder winter months, but they can be a major source of heat loss, too. Make sure your damper is closed and remember to close it after using the fireplace. Otherwise, it’s a straight shot for heat to go up the chimney and outside.

 

6. Air Ducts

 

Check your air ducts for leaks and gaps. Seal any areas that are leaking with aluminum tape. Duct tape, contrary to its name, is not the best material for this job. It will eventually loosen and allow leaking. Pay special attention to ducts that run through unheated areas like basements and crawl spaces.

 

7. Air Conditioning Units

 

If your home has window units left untouched during the winter, they can jeopardize your efforts to keep your house warm. Remove the units entirely or seal the surrounding area to prevent heat loss and block cold air from sneaking in.

A little extra vigilance can make the difference between a comfortable home and a cold one. Keep the winter weather outside by making sure your home is insulated and weatherproof.

Keep In the Heat with a Lennox Home Comfort System

LennoxIf you think your current heating system is too old and you are worried about staying warm because of leaks,, you’ll need a new furnace. We recommend a Lennox Home Comfort System for its high quality and energy efficiency. Interested? Call us and we’ll fill you in on the great deals going on with Lennox.

Need help with heating or cooling? For friendly service, you can count on Lancaster Brothers. Give us a call at (913) 851-3399 or contact us online. If you need a new furnace, we recommend a Lennox furnace. Check out the savings here.

December 12th, 2018

Posted In: Heating, Maintenance

Tags:

Refridgerant LeakingIt’s a beautiful summer day, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the children are running through the sprinklers, and your air conditioner is blowing hot air…what a bummer. One common problem when your AC is blowing warm air is a refrigerant leak. Since the refrigerant is in a closed system, the only reason a system would be running low on refrigerant would be either it was undercharged during installation, or you have a leak. It does not deplete due to normal use, so it should not need to be refilled regularly.

 

1. Your Home Takes a Long Time to Cool

The term refrigerant refers to the chemical blend that cycles through the air conditioner absorbing heat and carrying it outside; it used to be commonly referred to as Freon, but only older systems would contain Freon because the EPA banned it due to its negative effect on the ozone layer. Today’s newer systems run on R410a (sometimes called Puron). Either way, if your home is taking a long time to cool, it could mean the refrigerant is running low.

2. Rising Energy Bills

As a result of the AC taking longer to cool down the house due to a refrigerant leak, you may see an increase in the cost of your energy bill. Refrigerant leaks cause your AC to work harder and longer. It will keep running and running but never reach the desired temperature.

3. Warm Air Coming from Vents

On a hot summer day, warm air blowing out of the vents in your house is the worst. Since refrigerant is responsible for absorbing heat and carrying it outside, when it leaks, the heat is not carried outside and the warm air blows into the house.

4. Frozen Evaporator Coils on Inside Unit, Ice on Outdoor Unit’s Line

Believe it or not air conditioners can freeze, although they are not supposed to. Low refrigerant can cause two parts of your AC unit to freeze. First is the evaporator coil, which is located in the indoor unit. Second, if the leak is large enough, the refrigerant lines leading to your outdoor unit will freeze. If either one of these parts of your AC are frozen, you definitely have a problem with your refrigerant.

5. Hissing or Bubbling Noise

If the leak is large enough, you will be able to hear it leaking out the refrigerant lines in either gas or liquid form. This tends to make a bubbling noise if it is liquid, and a hissing noise if it is gas.

The refrigerant is a potentially dangerous substance that should always be handled by a professional. This is not a problem that you should attempt to fix yourself.

Think Your Air Conditioner Needs to Be Replaced?

LennoxNo problem! Replace your struggling air conditioner with a quality Lennox Home Comfort System. Be sure to check out check out these great deals from Lennox!

 

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or are having any trouble with your air conditioner not cooling, call the pros at Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling at (913) 851-3399 or contact us online.

June 12th, 2018

Posted In: Cooling, Maintenance

Tags:

Struggling AC UnitAir conditioner problems aren’t usually at the forefront of your mind. A great AC just works. It keeps you in comfort and lets you go about your daily life…until it doesn’t. Most homeowners know when it’s time to replace their air conditioner. There are signs that let them know they are sitting on a ticking time bomb. But let’s face it, no one wants to buy a new air conditioner if they can squeak one more year out of the old one. So here are 5  tips from the AC pros at Lancaster Brothers for making it through the summer with an aging AC.

1. Set Your Expectations a Little Lower

On super hot days, your old AC may not be able to keep your home comfortable. If it’s 100 degrees, your home may stay in the upper 70s to 80 degrees. Even brand new air conditioners can only support a maximum temperature drop of about 20 degrees Fahrenheit between supply and return air (although it will likely be a bit lower since your indoor return air is usually cooler than the air outside).

2. Expect to Pay for Refrigerant

If your AC is older, chances are it runs on Freon. Since Freon was banned by the EPA (because it damaged the ozone layer) and is no longer being manufactured, the price has skyrocketed as demand has built and supply has decreased. If your system leaks refrigerant, more will have to be added to allow it to be able to keep your home cool. It will cost hundreds to recharge your system and leaks are very difficult to locate and fix. If you are paying for Freon, most likely you will continue paying for it until you replace your system. Newer systems use R410a, an environmentally safe refrigerant that costs much less. Unfortunately, older units are not designed to use the newer refrigerants.

3. Expect Higher Energy Bills

An older system won’t run as efficiently as a new one. New air conditioners are much more efficient by design, but an older system is not only built with less efficiency in mind, but also parts are older, connections are weaker, the system is dirtier, and most just don’t run smoothly or quietly anymore. The harder your AC has to work, the longer it will have to run to reach the temperature on the thermostat and the higher your electric bills will be.

4. Get a Tune-Up

A tune-up on an older system is a great idea. Not only will it help it run more efficiently, it will reduce the number of unwanted breakdowns and emergency service calls. It may be what gets your AC through the season. A technician will replace any worn parts, check all electrical connections, lubricate any moving parts, clean your system and repair any broken parts. Simply cleaning your air conditioner will help it run more efficiently too.

5. Change the Filter Monthly

A dirty filter will impede your system’s ability to push air through it, making it work harder and cost more. Make sure to change your filter every month. You’ll have cleaner indoor air too!

How to Decide Whether a Repair Is Worth It

If your air conditioner breaks down, the immediate question is: do you repair it again or do you replace it entirely? Thankfully, there’s a simple way to figure out which way to go. It’s called “the $5,000 rule”: It’s simple. Note the age of your AC and multiply the age by the amount of your most recent repair bill. If this results in a number less than $5,000, a repair is likely the best way to go! Of course, this is meant as a first step; a professional consultation from a trusted repair provider is another great data point to gather. But the decision is ultimately yours, and this is a great way to pin down what might be the best way to spend your money in the long run.

How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your AC

The formula above is a start, but a few extenuating circumstances mean you might be better off with a full replacement anyway.

  • Three repairs over the course of three years is a red flag. This implies a larger issue that a fourth repair might not address fully.
  • If your energy bills remain exceedingly high after a repair, that’s another major warning sign that the overall health of your AC system is ailing.
  • And finally, post-repair Freon leaks after multiple repairs implies that patching it up and refilling it yet again will not solve the systemic issues with your AC.

Don’t Wait Until Your AC Breaks This Summer to Replace Your Air Conditioner

LennoxYour local Kansas City HVAC professionals at Lancaster Brothers are always happy to help! We’re here for cultivating long-term relationships with our customers, not to upsell, so after you’ve thought about whether you think you need a repair or replacement, we can definitively point you in the right direction.

Call us today at (913) 851-3399 or contact us online. If you do decide to replace, we can offer a great deal on a quality Lennox system.

May 8th, 2018

Posted In: Cooling, Geothermal, Maintenance

Tags:

Your air conditioner is a vital component when it comes to your comfort in the summertime. But, let’s face it. It’s not the most attractive piece of equipment in your lawn. If your air conditioner is sticking out like a sore thumb, there are ways to help it blend into your landscaping better and they don’t have to cost you a fortune. The team at Lancaster Brothers has put together these great ideas from Pinterest to help you beautify your yard and keep your AC functioning at its best.

One Important Safety Rule for Outdoor ACs

First, there are some rules to follow to make sure you don’t hinder your unit’s ability to function efficiently. In order for your AC unit to effectively transfer air, it needs at least 36 inches of space around it. If you decide to camouflage your unit with plants, make sure to leave at least one foot around your air conditioner in all directions so it is able to easily draw air from the outside to stay cool. This is also important so that it is easily accessible for service. If you build a fence or lattice to hide it, make sure to leave plenty of room between it and your outdoor unit.

Tall Grasses Hide AC

This homeowner used tall grasses and flowering bushes to hide the unit from view. This is the easiest way to improve your yard. While it doesn’t hide your air conditioner completely, it does help it blend into the landscape better and keeps it from standing out like a sore thumb.

 



 

 

 

Shutters Hide ACNo building skills? Don’t worry. Simple shutters make a much better impression than your metal air conditioner. Plus, they are easy to remove so you can take them inside for storage during the winter and repaint them in the comfort of your own home when necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lattice Fence Hide ACA simple lattice fence perfectly breaks up the view. Tropical looking plants grow tall while ivys and hostas make great companions to cover the lower area. Where is that AC unit again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landscaping Hide ACDon’t be afraid to expand your landscape footprint away from the foundation. More landscaping is never a bad addition to your yard. Small trees can even provide shade for your unit helping it to run more efficiently in the heat of summer. If you have the budget, go bigger!

 

Best Plants to Hide Your Air Conditioner

Tall, stand-alone plants are great. Tall grasses come in many varieties and heights and if you don’t cut them down in the fall, they will provide a natural screen all winter. Flowering bushes like hydrangeas, roses, and rose of Sharons are all tall enough for great coverage. Vine type plants work well if you build a trellis or something they can climb on. Try roses, clematis, sweet pea, morning glory, and trumpet vine. Just pay attention to how much sun/shade the area gets when choosing your plants. Small, ornamental trees can also be useful for shading your air conditioner.

Have You Checked to Make Sure Your Air Conditioner Works?


LennoxThe summer heat is on its way! Before your air conditioner lets you down, make sure to consider if your air conditioner is too old to last. Stay cool this summer with a Lennox Home Comfort System. Be sure to check out check out these great deals from Lennox that will save you money.

Good luck with your landscaping endeavors this season. Remember, if you need any help with your air conditioner, inside or outside, give the friendly technicians at Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling a call at (913) 851-3399 or contact us online.

April 13th, 2018

Posted In: Cooling, Maintenance

Tags:

Whole House HumidifierWinter is here and that means you’ll be running your furnace 24/7. Unfortunately that also means all of the humidity will be sucked out of your home and you’ll be left with dry, uncomfortable air. If you experience any of these symptoms below, your home needs more humidity:

  • Dry skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Chapped lips
  • Nose bleeds
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Static electricity
  • Chipping paint
  • Dried out wood furniture
  • Large gaps between wood floor planks

What Is the Ideal Humidity Level for Your Home?

First of all, you’re probably wondering how to measure the humidity in your home. This is relatively easy. You’ll need a hygrometer (humidity meter for measuring water vapor in the atmosphere) which is easy to find at a home improvement store and very affordable (usually under $15). The ideal relative humidity level for health and comfort is about 35-45%. In the winter months, it may have to be lower than 40% to keep condensation from forming on the inside of your windows.

Whole House Humidifiers Keep Your Home Comfortable Automatically

The best way to fix this problem is to add a whole-house humidifier. A whole-house humidifier is very low maintenance and once set, should need very little adjustment throughout the winter. The only maintenance they require is replacing the pad each season. We install the Lennox Healthy Climate HCWB3-17 Bypass humidifier. It’s integrated into the blower system on your furnace and draws water directly from your water supply.

How Does the Lennox Humidifier Work?

When the level of moisture in your home drops below the setpoint on the humidifier, the water solenoid valve opens, water flows into the distribution tray and slowly runs down through the evaporator pad. By-pass air flows over the evaporator pad, increasing the humidity of the air, and then back into the return air stream. When the setpoint is reached, the water solenoid valve closes.

Portable Shmortable – Get a Hassle-Free Whole House Humidifier

Lennox LogoThe Lennox Healthy Climate whole-house humidifier offers several advantages over portable units. It is practically maintenance free, runs quietly, never needs refilling and costs pennies a day to operate. A one-time setup keeps your home at a set humidity level all winter long. Plus, the initial cost is less than what most portable units cost. So if you’re sick of static shock, dry, itchy skin and chapped lips, and don’t like the idea of refilling a portable humidifier every few days, give us a call and ask about our whole-house humidifier.

We install hundreds of these Lennox whole-house humidifiers a year and they work great! Call Lancaster Brothers at (913) 851-3399 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to install one in your home.

November 27th, 2017

Posted In: Indoor Air Quality, Maintenance

Turn Home Furnace OnThe last thing you want when the cold weather arrives is to turn your furnace on and discover it is broken. Unfortunately, the team at Lancaster Brothers sees this scenario play out every year. Everyone turns their furnaces on about the same time and we get swamped with repair calls. We try to get to all of them as soon as possible, but the situation is never ideal. So be one of the smart homeowners who turns their furnace on early this year, stay warm, and avoid any hassle.

Furnace Troubleshooting Tips

Sometimes, the problem may be easy to fix and you may not need a service call at all. Here’s a list of some of the most common furnace issues we see and a few troubleshooting tips to try this season that just might save you some money.

Furnace Won’t Turn On

  1. Check circuit breakers. A fuel-run furnace has some components that require electricity.
  2. Check the air filter. A dirty filter can block airflow, shutting down the furnace.
  3. Double check that the thermostat is set to Heat or Auto.
  4. Make sure the gas valve is turned on.

Special note: If your furnace contains a pilot light, your furnace may be outdated and in need of a replacement.  

Related Read: Save Money with a Programmable Thermostat

Furnace Blows Cold Air

  1. Change air filter.
  2. Check that the thermostat is set to Heat or Auto. The “on” position keeps the fan blowing continually. However, if the furnace is not fired up, it’s simply recycling room temperature air.
  3. Make sure the gas supply is turned on.
  4. Check that the condensate drain line is not clogged. Clogs activate a switch that will prevent the furnace from lighting.

Furnace Makes Strange Noises

  1. Rattle: It could be loose panels, a misaligned blower, or a motor malfunction. The latter two require the skill of a technician.
  2. Clicking: Repeated clicking could be your control panel, the compressor, or a defective electrical relay. Again, you may need to call a technician to fix this.
  3. Grinding: Motor bearings may need replacement or a belt may require alignment – all jobs for a trained furnace technician.
  4. Squealing: The belt connecting the motor to the fan may have slipped or needs to be replaced.

Important safety warning: If you have a natural gas furnace, you need a carbon monoxide detector in your home, no matter the age of your furnace.

Related Read: Carbon Monoxide Safety – What Families Need To Know

Lennox LogoIf you have an older furnace (and you know who you are) start it up early so you’re not living without heat on a cold day. If you think this is the year you’ll need a new furnace, give us a call and we’ll fill you in on the great deals going on with Lennox. A new high-efficiency furnace will heat your home better and save you money on energy bills. Lancaster Brothers proudly installs Lennox furnace and air conditioning systems. Contact us for current rebates and special financing for qualified homeowners.

If you try these troubleshooting tips and you still don’t have any heat, you need professional help. Give us a call at at (913) 851-3399 or contact us online. Expert help will arrive fast!

October 12th, 2017

Posted In: Heating, Maintenance

Tags: ,

Repair or Replace ACSo you have an older air conditioner. You know eventually you’re going to have to replace it, but no one wants to think about that. The cost is not something any homeowner looks forward to paying. So you’ve been limping by, year after year, adding Freon every year, and paying the repair bills to keep it going. So where do you draw the line and say, “It’s finally time to replace it with a new one.”?  At Lancaster Brothers, our technicians get asked this question a lot. So how many AC repairs are too many? Luckily, there’s a simple formula you can use to help you decide. We call it the $5,000 rule.

 

Replacement Rule of Thumb

So what is the $5,000 rule?

Simply multiply the age of your AC unit by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and repair it.

For example, if your unit is 10 years old and the repair will cost $350, multiply 10 x 350 to equal $3,500. It is less than $5,000, so it is okay to have it repaired. It’s a great guideline to help you decide.

 

Inefficiency Leads to Higher Energy Bills

AC Ineffciency leads to higher energy billsDo you ever wonder if your AC is just nickel and diming you to death? Here’s another rough rule to follow. Generally, if you have had your air conditioner repaired three or more times in the last three years, it’s time for a replacement. Parts are wearing, motors are losing their power, it’s losing efficiency every day and that is leading to higher energy bills. If your air conditioner is costing you in repair bills, chances are it’s also costing you in higher energy bills. It may make more sense to replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient model and start recouping your investment in energy savings.

 

Consider the Rising Cost of Freon

Most older systems use a refrigerant called Freon (R-22). If your repair involves adding Freon because of a refrigerant leak, you have something else to consider – rising Freon costs. If you have a Freon leak, you will have to add more every year. There’s just no getting around it. The price of Freon is rising each year. That’s because about 25 years ago, the EPA ordered the phasing out of Freon as part of an international treaty focused on protecting the ozone layer. Because production is limited, costs to charge existing units that are leaking R-22 refrigerant are rapidly increasing. By 2020, production of Freon will end, so the price will only continue to rise until then.

Production also ended in 2010 for new air conditioning units “charged” with R-22. Today’s air conditioners use a more environmentally friendly refrigerant (R-410A) instead of Freon, but it is not compatible with older models.

 

Let Lancaster Help with Repairs or Replacement

LennoxIf you experience problems with your older AC, we will be happy to take a look and either repair or replace the unit so you and your family stay cool and comfortable. Lancaster Brothers is proud to install Lennox air conditioners, so if your air conditioner is on its last leg, we will be happy to provide a free estimate. There are also rebates and financing available for qualifying systems, and our comfort specialist will let you know about available programs.

Our Customers Say It Best…

“Please pass along to Chris and Curt how much we appreciate them getting to us right away and for sending down two very professional men to do the job of replacing our AC/heater.  They were very conscientious about doing the job right.   It’s nice to have a hometown business we can count on. ”

– J & P, Louisburg, KS

Call us today at (913) 851-3399 with any questions, repair or replacement needs, or just to get a free quote on a new Lennox system!

August 24th, 2017

Posted In: Cooling, Maintenance

Tags:

Air Conditioner Unit Needing a Tune-Up

So every day your air conditioner faithfully cranks out cold air keeping your home at a comfortable temperature day and night. How many years has it been cranking away? Every year, it gets older, dirtier, and parts get looser or belts get more worn. And just think about that outside unit. It sits out all year long getting dusty and dirty and clogged with pollen and leaves and sometimes even small animals! When’s the last time you did something nice for your air conditioner?

An AC Tune-Up Is Like a Massage Treatment for Your Air Conditioner

When people get run down, a massage or spa treatment usually does the trick to make them feel better. The same thing applies to your air conditioner. Instead of relaxing tight muscles, our technicians lubricate parts to make them move easier. They tighten loose parts so they move more smoothly. The team at Lancaster Brothers follows an extensive checklist to ensure everything is tightened, oiled, and working properly.

They check all electrical connections and motors and they clean any dirty parts so everything feels good again. Ahhh.

Your AC Will Pay You Back

Air Conditioner tune-ups are an absolute must before heading into full-time air conditioner season. They help your AC unit work more efficiently. When your unit is working at its peak efficiency, energy bills are lower. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that heating and cooling costs account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. This percentage makes it the largest energy expense for the average home.

But there are other ways getting a tune-up will pay you back as well.

Avoid Unwanted Breakdowns

Like a car, your air conditioner needs to be tuned up regularly to ensure it operates properly. Our technicians use tune-ups to help identify problem areas with your air conditioner as well. Finding these issues early on and taking care of them sooner rather than later will help you avoid a breakdown on the hottest day of the year.

Extend the Life of Your System

Air conditioners and furnaces are a significant investment for homeowners. Taking care of your equipment with an annual tune-up helps to keep your system in good condition, ensuring that you will get the most out of your investment.

Keep Small Problems from Becoming Costly Ones

Regular tune-ups will catch small problems before they cause larger, more expensive problems. Let’s say your fan blade is loose. Tightening the screws ensures it functions properly and in balance. But, if nothing is done, the constant vibration of a running system will loosen them even further and your fan could come off altogether and do damage to surrounding parts of your AC. Then you’re looking at an expensive repair bill. Ughh.

Schedule Your Air Conditioner Maintenance Today

Lennox Air Conditioner LogoDon’t wait for a problem. Let Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling give your AC a tune-up and make your air conditioner run and feel great. We are able to schedule appointments up to eight weeks out to ensure that you get the dates and timeframes that best fit your schedule.

If you’re looking to replace your system, we can help with that too. Lancaster Brothers proudly installs Lennox furnace and air conditioning systems. Contact us for current rebates and special financing for qualified homeowners.

Call us today so we can help you mark one more thing off your Spring to-do list! Just call (913) 648-9442 or send an email to tina@lancasterbrothers.com to make an appointment.

May 30th, 2017

Posted In: Maintenance

Lancaster-old-ac-unit

Let’s face it, no one wants to buy a new air conditioner. It’s what we call a grudge purchase. You only buy one when yours is broken and cannot be fixed or will cost you more to fix it than it’s worth. So, in the spirit of limping along with that old, dilapidated AC, the team at Lancaster Brothers has gathered these AC tips to help get you through the rough times.

  1. Troubleshooting Tips
  2. Warning Signs to Look for
  3. Replacement Rule of Thumb (Great tool to know when it’s time to replace)

1. AC Troubleshooting Tips

The last thing you want in the middle of the summer heat is an air conditioner that isn’t working properly. Some common AC problems are easy to fix yourself, but others may require the help of professional service from Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling. If you are have having trouble getting your AC to work, the following troubleshooting tips can help you beat the heat and get back to enjoying cool air in your home.

Your AC Won’t Turn On

If your AC is not kicking on, you have several things to check.

Thermostat – check your thermostat to make sure that it isn’t set to the heat or off position. Also check to make sure that the batteries in your thermostat are not dead.

Tripped Breaker – check and make sure that the breaker connecting to your AC hasn’t been tripped.

Power Switch – look to see if the power switch on the side of your furnace is turned on.

The AC Is On, but the Air Isn’t Cool

Dirty Air Filter – One of the biggest issues that will cause this problem is a dirty air filter. Check your filter to see how dirty it and replace it if necessary. Remember, it is important to change your filter once a month to ensure proper airflow and cooling.

Ice Accumulation – ice in the outdoor unit can also cause your AC to run sluggishly. If you see ice you should turn off the AC and allow it thaw for a couple of hours.

Clogged Condensate Drain – If you are still having trouble, consider cleaning out the condensate drain. Algae tends to build up in these pipes and will cause your AC to fail.

Related Read: Heating and Cooling Myths – Do You Do These

Check Your Condenser Unit Outside

A safety precaution first – before you work on it, turn off the power to it at the panel. This is a 240-volt box and we don’t want anyone getting hurt. Also turn off the disconnect box located outside, near your unit. It will be either be a lever, fuses, or a circuit breaker to shut off the condenser. Then, allow about 30 minutes for the electrical charge that’s stored in the condenser’s capacitor to dissipate. Now, it’s safe to check the unit.

Clear Debris – Make sure the unit is clean and clear of debris. Clear away dirt, leaves, etc. Check the fan to make sure it is clear of debris as well.

Clogged Drain – Check the drain and make sure it is clear.

Broken Coolant Lines – Check the coolant lines (pipes that connect the condenser unit outside to the evaporator on the inside unit). They can get bumped around being outside.

Turn the unit back on. First, turn the thermostat in your home to OFF. Then turn on the power at both the disconnect box and at the main panel. Last, switch the thermostat to COOL. Give it some time and see if you feel cool air blowing from the ducts. You can also check your outdoor unit to see if the air blowing out the top is warmer than the surrounding air.

2. Warning Signs Your AC Is on Its Last Leg

As the temperatures soar this summer, you’re going to rely heavily on your air conditioner to keep you cool and comfortable. However, if it’s not working the way it is supposed to, you could end up breaking out the fans and waiting for repairs. The team at Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling wants to help you avoid this at all costs. That’s why we put together this list of warning signs that let you know your AC is not going to last much longer. If you observe three or more of these signs, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.

The Age of Your AC

The average lifespan of a home air conditioning system is somewhere between ten and fifteen years. This, of course, depends upon how often the unit is used and how well it has been maintained. If you use yours on a regular basis, or if you haven’t had it serviced regularly, you may have to replace it even sooner. However, a general rule of thumb is that if it is more than ten years old, you should consider replacing it.

Number of Recent Repairs

If you’ve had to call a repairman to get your air conditioner back up and running three or more times over the last couple years, it’s time for a replacement. Consider the amount of money you invest in simply fixing issues. A great example of this is having to add Freon to your unit every year because of a leak. The truth is, you’re probably going to continue to have problems, no matter how many repairs, or Freon charges you have done. A new unit, however, will require fewer repairs, and maintenance.

NOTE: Freon (R-22) prices are increasing dramatically because it is no longer legal to manufacture due to environmental issues. It will cost you several hundred dollars each time you have to add Freon.

Excessive Energy Bills

Many of us dread the time of the month when the electric bill arrives. If you and your family are having a constant battle over the thermostat because of high energy bills, your air conditioner may be the culprit. If your air conditioner is older, it will have a harder time keeping up, and it will run constantly, which increases your energy consumption. A new, energy-efficient air conditioner can save you as much as 20% on your energy bills, which is a welcome relief.

Related Read: Don’t Waste Money While You’re on Vacation – 4 Quick AC Tips

Uneven Cooling

Are there rooms in your home that simply don’t cool down to a comfortable temperature? You may think that closing off vents to seldom used rooms will help, but doing this will only make those rooms hotter. The truth is, if you’ve got hot spots in your home, your air conditioner isn’t powerful enough to cool it completely. The solution is to have a new unit installed that is designed to handle the amount of square footage you have.

NOTE: Sometimes hot spots can be due to poor ductwork. We can inspect your ducts and make adjustments if that is the case.

3. How Many AC Repairs Are Too Many? Use This Simple Rule of Thumb

The weather outside is in the 90’s and you hear your air conditioner running outside but no air is coming from your vents inside, or if there is air, it isn’t cold. Your unit is older and you’ve had a few repairs on it already, which leaves you with one question. How many AC repairs are too many?

Look at Frequency of Repairs

Generally, if you have had your air conditioner repaired three or more times in the last three years, it’s time for a replacement. Parts are wearing, motors are losing their power, it’s losing efficiency every day and that is leading to higher energy bills. If your air conditioner is nickel and diming you to death and costing you more in high energy bills, it may make more sense to replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.

Replacement Rule of ThumbLennox-AC-Kansas-City

Use the $5,000 rule. Multiply the age of your AC unit by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and repair it.

For example, if your unit is 10 years old and the repair will cost $350, multiply 10 x 350 to equal $3,500. It is less than $5,000 so it is okay to have it repaired.

Consider the Rising Cost of Freon

Most older systems run on a coolant called Freon. If your repair involves adding Freon because of a Freon leak, you have something else to consider. If you have a Freon leak, you will have to add more every year and the price of Freon is rising each year. The reason it is rising is because about 25 years ago, the EPA ordered the phasing out of Freon as part of an international treaty focused on protecting the ozone layer. Production ended in 2010 for new air conditioning units. Production has also been reduced in subsequent years. By 2020, production of Freon will end, so the price will only continue to rise until then.

Let Lancaster Help with Repairs or Replacement

Lennox-LogoIf your AC has several of the symptoms we listed, we will be happy to take a look and either repair or replace the unit so you and your family stay cool and comfortable. Lancaster Brothers is proud to install Lennox air conditioners, so if your air conditioner is on it’s last leg we will be happy to provide a free estimate. There are also rebates and financing available for qualifying systems, and our comfort specialist will provide you all of the available programs.

Call us today at (913) 851-3399 with any questions, repair or replacement needs, or just to get a free quote on a new Lennox system!

April 28th, 2017

Posted In: Cooling, Maintenance

That alone is incentive enough to join a maintenance club, but at Lancaster Brothers, we sweeten the pot quite a bit. We throw in other benefits designed to save you both time and money. Check out all the extras you get when you join our Maintenance Club:

Here Is What Our Maintenance Club Includes:

  • Two tune-ups a year. Regular tune-ups will keep your system running efficiently, will save you money on utility bills, and will help make sure your system is operating when extreme temperatures hit. Scheduling seasonal tune-ups for your AC and furnace will help ensure your systems run properly when you need them.
  • Ten percent discount on repairs. This discount applies throughout the year to any repairs you might need. If something breaks, or we find a problem during a tune-up, we’ll automatically take 10% off the total cost of the repair for all members of our maintenance club.

Related Read: AC Won’t Work? Try Our Best Troubleshooting Tips

  • No overtime charges.  Members of our maintenance club never worry about overtime charges and, like all of our customers, they get upfront pricing for repairs so there are never any ugly surprises when you get the bill.
  • Priority service. There is never a convenient time for your furnace or air conditioner to break down, but as a member of our Maintenance Club you will get priority service over nonmembers to get your unit up and running as quickly as possible.
  • Convenient email reminders and scheduling. We’ll send you reminders when it’s time to schedule your tune-ups so you don’t forget. You can even schedule your appointment through email!

Customer Testimonials

You’ll love our repair technicians, but don’t take our word for it, see what our customers have to say about them:

Mario was out today for our annual maintenance and just wanted to let you know that he did a great job.  He did a comprehensive check and explained everything to us in terms that were easy for us to understand.

J.G
Overland Park, KS

Thank you for great service!   Eric arrived promptly at my home and had our problem diagnosed in no time at all.  Gave us an explanation of problem and repair.

M.W.
Springhill, KS

New Systems Need Maintenance Too

Lennox Furnace & AC PictureMaintenance plans are also important when you install a new system because it keeps that system running efficiently for years. Lancaster Brothers typically has rebates and special financing when installing a qualifying Lennox system. Contact us for more details

LennoxLogoWe like to make taking care of your furnace and AC as easy as possible. Schedule tune-ups or service over the phone or by email for your convenience. If you would like to take advantage of all the benefits, become a member of the club! Check out our website to learn more or call us today at (913) 851-3399! Email Tina at tina@lancasterbrothers.com to find out more about our maintenance club or to schedule an appointment. She’ll take care of you!

March 2nd, 2017

Posted In: Cooling, Heating, Maintenance

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