What’s Included in an HVAC Tune-Up?

Closeup of a pressure meter on air conditioner

An important part of having an efficient, effective, and long-lasting HVAC unit is keeping it maintained on a regular basis. Scheduling annual routine maintenance from a professional is the best way to ensure your HVAC unit is running its best. This not only makes sure your HVAC unit lasts as long as possible, but it also prevents unnecessary and costly repairs you could experience down the road. You can turn to the knowledgeable professionals at Rick’s Heating & Cooling for a regular HVAC tune-up service.

When you hire us for an HVAC tune-up, you can expect to receive a basic inspection and cleaning service. If we find any issues, we’ll fix them or discuss a plan with you if we find anything major. We perform a thorough, 15-point precision inspection to ensure every part of your HVAC system is working efficiently so there are no surprises later on.

Our HVAC tune-up includes:

  • Check calibration of thermostat
  • Check condensate drain
  • Check furnace blower
  • Lubricate all motors
  • Check fuses
  • Check all electrical connections
  • Check indoor coil
  • Clean and check outdoor AC unit
  • Check refrigerant charge
  • Check suction line temperature
  • Check indoor plenum temperature
  • Check return temperature
  • Check furnace venting
  • Check temperature rise
  • Check inlet temperature
  • Check outlet temperature
  • Check manifold gas pressure
  • Check inducer assembly
  • Check burner and ignition system
  • Check for detection of carbon monoxide
  • Check overall condition of AC or heat pump
  • Check overall condition of heating system

Don’t neglect your HVAC unit. If you need a professional and reliable HVAC tune-up, turn to the experts at Rick’s Heating & Cooling. Our technicians are dedicated to providing prompt, dependable service and know what to be on the lookout for. Call us at 513-899-6005 to schedule an HVAC tune-up now.

Are Your AC Coils Dirty?

Your air conditioner has condenser coils that are responsible for transferring the hot air from your home to the outdoor air. When your AC is running, refrigerant carries heat from inside your home through those coils. Outdoor air blows over the coils, and heat is transferred from the refrigerant to the air. This removes the heat from your home, so your indoor air is cooler and more comfortable.

These critical coils are located inside the outdoor unit of your AC, which makes them vulnerable to dirt and debris buildup. If you don’t take measures to clean your condenser coils, that buildup can greatly impact your system’s overall efficiency.

Are you having problems with your condenser coils? Schedule an appointment for a maintenance check with the Clinton County, OH pros at Ricks Heating & Cooling.


Signs Your AC Coils May Be Dirty

Can you tell if your air conditioner coils are getting dirty? Some signs that indicate you may have a problem include:

  • Inefficient cooling – The dirt on the condenser coils prevents the unit from cooling the air properly. When air is blown over the coils, the heat inside the coils can’t transfer to the air, which means it will not be properly removed from your home.
  • High energy bills – Another sign that your condenser coils are dirty is higher-than-normal energy bills. It takes more work to cool the home when the coils are dirty, which means more energy use.
  • Full system breakdowns – Dirty coils cause the system to work harder, and this eventually will increase the likelihood of a full system breakdown.

If you’re noticing these problems, then it’s time to have your coils cleaned. With professional cleaning, you can keep your air conditioning working well.

For help maintaining your air conditioning system, including help cleaning the condenser coils, talk to the team at Rick’s Heating & Cooling. You can call (513) 899-6005 or reach out online for help in Clinton County.

FAQs About Cleaning Your Condenser Coils

Proper air conditioner maintenance will help prevent your coils from becoming dirty, but if you notice a problem, you may want to clean them yourself. Here are some frequently asked questions about cleaning condenser coils.

How can you clean your air conditioning condenser coils?

To clean your air conditioner’s condenser coils, first remove all visible debris from the outdoor unit. Then, cover the unit with coil cleaner. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, and rinse it with water. If that does not help, call a pro.

Why should you clean your air conditioning condenser coils?

Keeping the condenser coils clean helps your air conditioner run effectively and efficiently. Letting the coils get dirty can drive up your cooling costs significantly. It also can shorten the life span of your system by increasing the risk of a full system breakdown.

How often should I clean the condenser coils?

Clean the condenser coils at least one time a year. Leaving them dirty can increase your energy use significantly. If you have routine maintenance performed each year, this will be done as part of your cooling season maintenance check.

If you’re struggling with dirty AC coils, the team at Rick’s Heating & Cooling is ready to help. Call (513) 899-6005 or schedule a consultation online to discuss maintenance plans that include condenser coil cleaning.

What to Do Before Turning on Your AC This Summer

As the weather begins to warm up and transition from winter to spring, it’s important to make sure your air conditioner is ready to cool your home properly when summer rolls around. When hot temperatures are right around the corner, do you know what to do to get your AC ready for the heat? If not, don’t stress! The cooling service specialists at Rick’s Heating and Cooling are here to help you with our quick and simple pre-season checklist.

Your Fast Guide to AC Readiness in Cincinnati

We know, no one wants yet more chores to do around the home. But we promise that these are not only fast and easy, but absolutely worth your time. Before you turn on your AC for the season be sure to perform these AC maintenance tasks:

  • Clean the vents. Check all of the supply vents in your home to ensure that they are unblocked and clean. This ensures you keep good air flow into rooms and optimize air pressure in the duct system, minimizing common causes of an overheat and uneven cooling.
  • Replace your air filter. If you only have time to do one thing on this list, make it this one. Keeping up with the air filter is the number one best thing you can do for your cooling equipment on your own. A quick filter swap means a reduced risk of AC repair, higher efficiency, and a more powerful cooling system all in one.
  • Inspect the outdoor unit. Clear away any dirt or plant matter, and be sure all of the fins are straight and unbent. If they are a little out of place, gently push them back with a blunt tool. Do be careful though, as the fins aren’t all that hardy, and you don’t want to damage them.
  • Check the condensate line. Just a quick peek into the drain hose—leave anything more complex to the pros. You’re just checking for any obvious clogs that could result in a condensate system leak, helping you avoid some potential water damage in your Cincinnati home.
  • Perform a short test run. On a warmer (not cold, and not hot) day, go ahead and turn the system to 70 and let it run for half an hour. Listen for any strange noises, and check for any air flow issues at the vents. It’s just an easy way to do some minor troubleshooting, ensuring you don’t need to get an AC repair before the hot season kicks off.

Don’t Forget to Schedule an AC Tune-Up!

After you’ve done all the stuff on our list, go ahead and call in to schedule your pre-season maintenance service! Professional tune-ups offer a ton of optimization benefits that can save you in cooling costs. And even more importantly, it stops most of the common causes for a summer cooling system breakdown. A tune-up now saves tons of money and stress, so never neglect to set one up!

Professional Air Conditioner Maintenance in Ohio

At Rick’s Heating & Cooling we’ve been offering homeowners in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas the best in HVAC service and care for years. Our certified technicians are on standby and ready to help you get set and settled for a hot summer, so contact us online or call (513) 899-6005 now!

Benefits of Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces

Keeping your home comfortable requires the right system. For your heating needs, you’ll likely be deciding between a heat pump and a furnace. Since both offer benefits and drawbacks, making the choice about which is right for you isn’t always easy. The team at Rick’s Heating & Cooling can help you determine which type of heating system is right for your needs. Here are some things to consider as you make your decision.

Benefits of Heat Pumps

A heat pump offers an energy-efficient option to heat and cool homes in moderate climates. These systems work like a refrigerator, using electric energy to move heat in order to meet your comfort needs. In the summer, this means moving heat from your home to the outdoors to make you home cooler, and in the summer, it means moving heat energy from the outdoors into your home to make it warmer. This can allow you to heat and cool your home for a fraction of the cost of a furnace or air conditioner. A heat pump serves both functions, so you only need to install one unit for year-round comfort.

Potential Downsides of Heat Pumps

The main drawback of a heat pump is the fact that it doesn’t work well in temperatures below the freezing level. In these instances, a backup heat source is needed. Most heat pumps have backup furnaces, but they use electricity or gas to heat the home during cold spells, which can negate some of the benefits. However, for those days when the outdoor temperatures stay above freezing, the heat pump can be quite efficient and effective. Heat pumps are more costly than furnaces to install, but you will end up saving money in the long run over the life of the heat pump.

Benefits of a Furnace

A furnace uses gas or electric energy to heat air, then pumps the heated air through your home via your ductwork. This is a great option for heating your home that works no matter the outdoor temperature. Another potential benefit of a furnace is a lower installation price.

Potential Downsides of a Furnace

The main drawback of heating your home with a furnace is the cost of heating. The gas or electricity that you need to run a furnace creates expenses that add up. Over the life of a furnace, you can expect to pay more than you would with a heat pump. If you wish to have cooling for your home, you will have to install an air conditioner along with your furnace.

Which Is Right for You?

So which heating option is right for you? The answer depends on your goals. If your goal is a lower initial cost, then a furnace is likely best. If you’re looking to save on your overall energy costs, a heat pump may work better.

Making this choice is complicated, and that’s where the team at Rick’s Heating & Cooling can help. Our experienced HVAC technicians can help you measure your needs and goals to choose the right heating option for your Cincinnati, OH home. If you are in need of a new furnace or heat pump, contact us for help.

You can contact us online or call 513-899-6005 for expert guidance on your search for the right heating option for your property.

Recommended Thermostat Settings in the Winter

Winter in Ohio is notorious for being bitterly cold, which leads to high energy bills. If you’re looking to balance comfort with energy savings for the remainder of the season, follow these recommended thermostat settings in the winter.

Set the Right Temperature

Begin by manually setting the thermostat to a temperature you feel comfortable with while you’re at home. We recommend dressing for the weather and setting the thermostat to 68 degrees, though anything at or below 70 degrees is ideal. Remember, the lower you set your thermostat in the winter, the more money you’ll save.

Next, choose a setback temperature for the hours when everyone is away. Setbacks are worthwhile anytime your house is vacant for more than four hours. We recommend setting the thermostat to 62 degrees or lower while you’re gone to avoid paying to heat an empty house. However, to prevent frozen pipes, you shouldn’t set the furnace any lower than 55 degrees.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat keeps you comfortable when you’re at home and saves you money when you’re away. Once you program the settings you want, you can go about your day while the programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on your schedule. There’s no need to remember to turn the temperature down when you leave for work in the morning, and best of all, the thermostat recovers a comfortable setting by the time you get home. It’s the best of both worlds!

Consider the specific features of the programmable thermostat you choose:

  • Day settings: Seven-day units allow you to program a different schedule for every day of the week. 5-1-1 models let you program Monday through Friday on the same setting and Saturday and Sunday differently from one another. 5+2-day models allow for a different setting on weekdays and weekends.
  • Program settings per day: Many programmable thermostats allow you to enter up to four settings per day. These periods are typically named Wake, Day, Evening, and Sleep.
  • Wi-Fi capabilities: “Smart” thermostats connect to the internet, making them accessible from an app on your phone. This allows you to check and change the temperature from anywhere.

Get the Most from Your Programmable Thermostat

To maximize heating efficiency and help your new programmable thermostat pay for itself in energy savings, follow these tips:

  • Use the hold feature properly: You can pause the regular thermostat schedule when you’re away for extended periods with the vacation/permanent hold setting. You can also override programmed settings on a daily basis if you feel uncomfortable. Just remember that every time you turn up the thermostat, you’re using more energy and increasing your heating costs.
  • Refrain from cranking up the temperature: You won’t heat up your home any faster by boosting the setting to 90 degrees. All this does is increase your bills as the temperature exceeds your comfort level. Instead, adjust the temperature by a degree or two at a time to minimize energy waste.
  • Consider adding a zoning system: If your home suffers from uneven temperatures, one way to combat the problem is with a zoning system. This incorporates multiple thermostats and dampers in the ductwork to control the temperature in different rooms independently. Be sure to set each programmable thermostat according to the above recommendations to maximize comfort and energy efficiency.

Get More Recommendations for Setting Your Thermostat from Rick’s Heating & Cooling

If you have any questions about the recommended thermostat settings explained here, or you’re interested in installing a programmable thermostat, please contact Rick’s Heating & Cooling today. We perform expert HVAC services in homes and businesses across Southwest Ohio.