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What Is That Pipe Coming Out Of My House? And Why Is It Leaking?

In general, when you find water leaking from a pipe anywhere on your home or property, your first instinct is probably to call a plumber. Before you reach for the phone, however, you should understand that in some cases, pipes leak water intentionally! If you’ve noticed a pipe leading to the outside of your home that drips water, there’s a good chance that this is actually just your AC condensate drain, which is supposed to carry water outside your home.

Still, this isn’t always the case, and some pipe leaks do need to be investigated. By having a better idea of what’s normal versus what may be problematic, you can more confidently decide when it’s time to call for help (and who to call for the best service).

AC Condensate Drains vs. Pressure Relief Valves

Most homes here in the Phoenix area have two separate pipes leading out to the side or back of the residence. One pipe is an air conditioning condensate drain, also commonly referred to as an AC drain line. These pipes are usually white in color and are made from PVC piping.

Another pipe you may find on the outside of your home is a water pressure relief valve, also known as a PRV drain line. These pipes tend to be made out of copper and are designed to prevent water heaters from building up dangerous amounts of pressure.

By knowing what each of these common pipes look like, you can better determine whether a leak is normal or something you need to have looked into further.

When is Leaking Normal?

In general, it is normal to see water leaking out of an AC drain line; therefore, if you see water leaking from a PVC pipe on the side or back of your home, you probably don’t need to be concerned. AC drain lines are meant to drain water away that is produced by your home’s air conditioning system. During times of higher humidity, it is likely that there will be additional condensation generated. As a result, you may notice greater amounts of water draining from the PVC pipe during this time.

Water draining from this pipe is actually a good thing, and indicates that you don’t have any clogs in your AC’s drain lines.

Keep in mind that some Arizona homes will have AC systems with two drain lines; one is the main drain line as explained above, and the other is an emergency drain pipe that may be located towards the top of the home. If you see any water draining from your emergency line, this needs to be addressed as soon as possible because it likely indicates a clog somewhere else in the system.

When is Leaking a Problem?

While water leaking from an AC condensate line is generally normal, water leaks from a water heater’s pressure relief valve is not normal and needs to be looked into as soon as possible. This means that if you’re noticing large amounts of water coming from the copper pipe on the side or rear of your home, this could be the sign of a larger underlying problem.

If water is simply dripping out of this pipe at a slow pace, you may be able to tighten the valve yourself to resolve the problem. However, it is generally best not to attempt any major DIY repairs on a pressure relief valve, as this is an important safety feature on your home’s water heater.

Who to Call About a Pipe Leak

If you’re dealing with a troublesome pipe leak at your home, you may be wondering who to call for the repair. In general, an emergency AC condensate drain leak should be addressed and repaired by an HVAC professional. On the other hand, water heater PRV repairs should be handled by a plumber.

Even if you don’t have a problematic leak in your AC condensate drain, it’s still a good idea to have these drain lines blown out at least once a year. This will help to prevent clogs from forming and keep these lines clear of any debris. This is something that an HVAC professional can do, often as part of an annual inspection and tune-up service.

One Stop Heating & Cooling is Here to Help!

At One Stop Heating & Cooling, we’re proud to offer HVAC maintenance and repair services to customers in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. If you’re dealing with a leak in your emergency AC condensate line or are simply looking to schedule an annual tune-up to avoid these kinds of problems down the road, we have you covered with a wide range of HVAC services.

Contact our experienced and knowledgeable team at One Stop Heating & Cooling today to schedule your appointment. You can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling our office at (623) 688-6556, We look forward to serving you!

Beat the Heat: Simple Tips for Your A/C This Summer!

Brutal summer temperatures frequently leave Phoenix homeowners looking for HVAC support. Phoenix enjoys average highs surpassing the 100-degree mark from June through September and trust us, you don’t want your air conditioner to fail during this stretch. In order to stay cool and in control this summer, we have pulled together a list of fantastic yet simple tips for your air conditioning system.

Whether you have a small house or a massive warehouse, keep on reading to find the tips YOU need to stay cool this year!

Adjust Your Ceiling Fans

If you have to rely on your ceiling fans to keep the heat at bay, make sure to set them correctly for the summer months. In order to do this, all you have to do is set your fan to blow downwards. This causes your room to feel cooler as hot air is replaced by the cooler air from above. This is a simple fix that you can implement today that won’t cause a single penny — and we like that!

Check Your A/C Filters

Did you know that you should be in the habit of regularly changing your air conditioning filters? It’s true! While it can be easy to forget that these filters need to be changed, avoiding doing so will lead to a reduction in efficiency throughout your household.

Dirty filters make it harder for air to pass through your system and this can cause your A/C to strain from the efforts. Not only will you feel less cool, but your home’s energy will also become less efficient — leading to increased energy bills throughout the summer.

Tip — Some air conditioning filters can be cleaned at home. Check online with your filter’s manufacturer to see if yours can be scrubbed clean. Try to change your filter at least once every three months, changing based upon use.

Trap Cool Night Air

While Phoenix can feel like it is boiling during the day, nights in Arizona are actually rather comfortable. Before you go to bed at night make sure to turn off your air conditioning unit before opening all of your windows. Allow the cool night air to fill the home and then in the morning make sure to close the windows before the heat of the day arrives.

By closing the windows before it gets too hot, you can trap that cool air in your home. Shut the blinds to retain all of that precious cool air.

Install a High-Efficiency System

How long have you lived in your current home? When was the last time you oversaw the installation of a new HVAC system? The average air conditioning unit can operate effectively for between 10 and 15 years, often depending on the level of maintenance the system enjoys. As most homeowners tend to ignore their HVAC system until it breaks, the odds are good that your building is due for an upgrade.

Consider investing in a high-efficiency HVAC system by contacting a local HVAC contractor. Discuss SEER ratings and any potential green energy credits that are available with your purchase. An upgraded HVAC system can leave your home cooler for longer periods of time at a more affordable rate.

Install Blackout Curtains

Radiant heat leaking through your window can go a long way toward raising the temperature of your home. If you really want to hide from the heat, consider investing in blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are designed to completely remove the light from your room, and they are often used by people who work overnight shifts.

Blackout curtains can remove the light from your home while allowing the ambient temperature in the room to decrease. While blackout curtains aren’t exactly cheap, they are infinitely more affordable than some other options available.

Buy a Programmable Thermostat

As it turns out, micromanaging the thermostat in your home can save you money and sweat. Programmable thermostats make adjusting the dial more efficient than ever, giving you the chance to take absolute control over your cooling efforts. Some studies suggest that programmable thermostats can save homeowners hundreds of dollars every single year in energy costs.

With a programmable thermostat, set the A/C to stay cool when you are awake and to turn off when you are in bed or away from the home. Easy!

About One Stop Heating & Cooling

As temperatures begin to rise, Arizona residents need to know that their cooling solutions will work. The team at One Stop Heating & Cooling has dedicated themselves to providing top-tier sales, service, repair, and installation for all air conditioning, heating, and indoor air quality products.

Driven by honest and reliable work, One Stop Heating & Cooling is proud to offer an array of winning benefits to its clients throughout the area.

  • Family-Owned, Family Operated
  • 24 Hour Emergency Hours
  • Free Estimates
  • Commercial and Residential Services
  • Flexible Financing Solutions (On Approval!)

For an appointment with the best residential and commercial HVAC team in Arizona, fill out our online contact form or pick up the phone and call for a quote at your convenience!

Tips to Keep Your Home Cool During an Arizona Summer

During the summer months, it is not uncommon for the average temperature in Phoenix to exceed 99 degrees Fahrenheit! That means your home’s air conditioning system is working hard around the clock to keep your home comfortable. However, there are some steps you can take to keep your home cool during the sweltering months of summer that don’t involve cranking the thermostat down!

Create Shade Around Your Home

You can use landscaping to your advantage to reduce the amount of sun that reaches your home in the first place. Specifically, having larger shrubs or trees around your home’s east- and west-facing windows can create some much-needed shade that will keep your home a little cooler during the hottest times of the day.

If you don’t have any significant landscaping around your home’s perimeter, now is a good time to consider working with a landscaping professional to minimize sun exposure in your home and add some curb appeal in the process!

Use Ceiling Fans to Your Advantage

Ceiling fans can be a great (and energy-efficient) way to keep each room of your home a few degrees cooler without having to adjust your thermostat. Make sure you’re using any existing ceiling fans in your home to keep air circulating. If you don’t have ceiling fans in your home (or if they’re missing from your main living spaces), having one installed is relatively simple and inexpensive. In fact, any money you spend having ceiling fans installed can be offset by energy savings down the road!

Invest in Window Treatments

Just as you can use strategically placed landscaping to cut down on sunlight entering your home, you can use window treatments in a similar manner. Specifically, you’ll want to make sure that any east- and west-facing rooms in your home (which will naturally receive the most sunlight) have light-blocking window treatments. This can include blinds, drapes, curtains, or even full blackout panels.

During the brightest times of day in these rooms, be sure to draw these window treatments closed. This will reduce the amount of sunlight that enters the room and thus keep the temperature down in your home. And of course, the right window treatments can also add some beauty to your space!

Reduce Your Use of Heat-Generating Appliances

You might be surprised at just how much heat clothes dryers, ovens, and even dishwashers can put off as they operate. With this in mind, you may want to avoid using these appliances during the heat of the day whenever possible. If you have to run a load of dishes or dry a load of laundry, try to do so during the evening or nighttime hours instead.

You can also cut down on your use of these heat-generating appliances by making sure that your dishwasher is completely full before you run it. Likewise, avoid doing laundry until you have a full load of clothes to wash. This will not only keep your home more comfortable during the summer months, but will cut down on the wear and tear of these appliances as well.

Maintain Your Air Conditioner

The last thing you need in the middle of a sweltering Arizona summer is to run into mechanical problems with your air conditioning unit. This is why it’s so important to take care of all components of your AC system year-round! There are plenty of steps you can take to maintain your AC system, starting with swapping out the air filter as needed. Typically, filters should be changed about once every 90 days to ensure proper airflow and maximize the efficiency of your unit. When was the last time you changed yours?

You’ll also want to take measures to protect your outdoor AC compressor unit from the elements. This includes keeping any landscaping (shrubs, plants, weeds, etc.) trimmed back and away from the unit itself to allow for proper airflow.

In addition to all of this, scheduling an annual air conditioning tune-up and inspection with a trusted HVAC professional can also extend the life of your unit and help you avoid unwanted surprises this summer. An annual inspection can alert you to potential problems that you can repair before they turn into more costly issues. Meanwhile, a tune-up can keep your air conditioning running smoothly all summer long.

Schedule Your AC Service Today!

A little creativity can go a long way towards keeping your Arizona home cool this summer. By following these tips, you can give your air conditioner a much-needed break without sacrificing comfort in the process.

Looking for an HVAC company you can trust with your annual AC inspection and tune-up? One Stop Heating & Cooling has you covered! Contact us today at (623) 688-6556 to schedule your inspection or to find out more about our residential services.

Things You Can Do To Prep Your AC for the Arizona Summer!

As summer approaches and temperatures rise throughout Arizona, homeowners find themselves relying more and more on their air conditioning systems to stay comfortable indoors. Before the most sweltering temperatures of the year hit, however, it’s a good idea to make sure your home’s air conditioning system receives a little TLC. After all, a well-maintained air conditioner will run more efficiently and be less prone to mechanical failures throughout the summer.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to preparing your AC for another sweltering Arizona summer? We’ve got you covered with some practical tips and recommendations.

Replace Dirty Air Filters

Start by asking yourself when you last changed your HVAC system’s air filter. If it’s been more than a few months, then there’s a good chance that your air filter is in dire need of replacement. With most furnace and AC air filters, the recommended amount of time in between changes is around 90 days.

Swapping out your air filter with a fresh one ensures that you’re not trying to run your air conditioning with a clogged filtration system. This, in turn, improves your indoor air quality and helps your unit run more efficiently. By preventing your air conditioning system from working harder than it needs to this summer, you’re also reducing the likelihood of needing costly and unexpected repairs.

Optimize Efficiency

Now is also a good time to take some proactive measures to improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system, which in turn can keep it running more smoothly. There are plenty of steps you can take to optimize efficiency, such as checking around your home for drafty windows and doors. Taking the time to caulk around drafty areas of the home provides better insulation, thus protecting your air conditioning unit from being overworked.

If any of the ductwork in your home is exposed, you may also want to consider having it insulated. This will help to keep cold air traveling from your AC’s condenser unit as cool as possible as it makes it way to your vents. This improves energy efficiency, which can save you money on your electric bills while also helping your AC unit run more efficiently.

Check the Condensate Line

Your air conditioning system also contains a part known as a “condensate drain,” which is responsible for carrying moisture away from the unit that is formed during the refrigeration cycle. Unfortunately, condensate drain lines can become clogged over time. When this happens, water can become backed up in the drain pan and eventually overflow, causing water damage that can affect other important parts of your air conditioning system.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to check your AC’s condensate line for clogs at least once a year—and to clear them out as necessary. This small step can protect you from much more costly damage and repairs down the road.

Schedule Preventative Maintenance

If you’re not already enrolled in an HVAC service plan for your home, now is the time to consider signing up for an annual maintenance and tune-up plan for your air conditioning system. Having a yearly inspection done by an experienced and knowledgeable HVAC professional is a great way to stay on top of small repairs and other issues that need to be addressed before they turn into major and costly AC repairs or premature replacement.

Meanwhile, many HVAC service plans also include tune-up services, which can help to get your air conditioning system ready for summer. While the exact services included in a tune-up can vary greatly from one company to the next, many will include such services as cleaning parts, checking condensate lines, measuring refrigerant levels, and much more. An annual tune-up is a great way to keep your home’s AC system running as smoothly as possible.

Ideally, you should have an AC inspection and tune-up done in the early spring months; this gives you time to have any necessary repairs done and ensures that your AC system is ready to perform as the warmer months of the year approach. However, you can have an AC inspection done at any time.

One Stop Heating & Cooling is Here to Help

Looking for a local HVAC company you can trust with your home’s AC inspection and tune-up? One Stop Heating & Cooling has you covered. Our NATE-certified technicians can also handle any necessary repairs or even total AC replacement to suit your needs. Ultimately, our goal is to help you stay as comfortable as possible in your home this summer—no matter what Arizona’s harsh climate brings.

Schedule your AC tune-up and inspection with our friendly team at One Stop Heating & Cooling today by our contact form or calling us anytime at (623) 688-6556. We look forward to serving you! We’d also be happy to answer any questions you may have about our residential services or schedule a quote for AC replacement, so feel free to reach out.

The Differences Between Air Ventilation, Filtration, and Purification

Understanding Your Air Handling Options

Modern HVAC technology offers a variety of methods for maintaining the cleanliness and healthfulness of your air. Three primary approaches include air ventilation, purification, and filtration. Let’s take a look at the main features, limitations, and benefits of each.

Ventilation: Air Exchange and Circulation

Pushing air around your home doesn’t automatically make that air any cleaner. If you constantly breathe the same old stale indoor air, you might actually get better air quality by going outside. Air circulation only improves air quality when you have a means of replacing the old, stale air with new, fresh air. Properly-installed, well-designed mechanical ventilation systems can make this possible. A mechanical ventilation system uses fans and ducts to pull cleaned, filtered air into the home while also pushing “used” air out. Bear in mind, however, that this very basic level of air cleaning may not be sufficient for your needs; nor can it prevent the infiltration of germs.

Filtration: Pulling Particles Out of the Air

Filtration works by setting up a physical, permeable barrier to airborne particles. Particles smaller than a particular size may pass through the filter, while anything larger gets stopped by the filter material. This straining process can provide much cleaner air for anyone sensitive to dust, dander, mold, pollen, and other common irritants. Less dust in the air also means less dust on your air conditioning coils. (Coils that get clogged with dust simply can’t operate efficiently.)

Many standard HVAC air filters do little to block any but the largest particles, which may prove beneficial only to your air conditioning components. For filtration that also helps to preserve your health, look into MERV-16 or HEPA filters, which can block particles as small as 0.3 microns.

Purification: Killing Contaminants Before They Cause Trouble

Air purification focuses on killing any germs that may infiltrate a home’s HVAC system. This makes them a natural complement to filtration systems, which may stop the majority of germs but still permit the tiniest one to remain airborne. Air purifiers work their magic by implementing either of these two technologies:

  • Ultraviolet light – Some air purifiers expose incoming air to UVC radiation (the most toxic and destructive type of UV), killing viruses and bacteria.
  • Photocatalytic ionization – This air-scrubbing technology adds a chemical catalyst to the UVC component in an air purifier system. As the UVC kills the germs, the catalyst produces chemical changes that reduce them to CO2 and water.

An air purifier may offer more air cleaning power than your home and family actually need. Some models also produce UVC radiation at frequencies that result in the production of ozone (which you don’t want in your home). If you choose this solution, ask your HVAC installer about recommended makes and models.

Which Approach Makes the Most Sense for Your Needs?

Even after examining the various pros and cons of each home air handling solution, you may still wonder which of them to install in your home. The ideal scenario, of course, would involve installing all three of them. In reality, though, one or two of these options may be all you need to tackle a pressing air handling concern or challenge. Let’s examine some specific factors that might influence your decision.

Health Considerations

Do you or your family members suffer from a respiratory condition, poor immune system, or extreme sensitivity to allergens? If health concerns dominate your air handling questions, your primary goal is to keep those particles away from your loved ones. This means starting with air filtration and purification. This “one-two punch” can strain out all but the tiniest particles while also killing viruses and bacteria. Some products actually incorporate both of these functions into their design.

Home Considerations

Your size and style of home may affect what kind of air handling devices you require. For example, if you live in a particularly snug little home with little natural air circulation, your first goal may be to get that air moving better with the aid of mechanical ventilation. It’s also possible that you simply need a better ventilation system that your home currently employs. Faulty installation or poor design can actually cause a ventilation system to make air quality worse instead of better. If you’re seeing lots of dust, your current system is probably just pushing dirty air around.

Whether your home’s air needs ventilation, purification, filtration, or any combination of the above, ask One Stop Heating & Cooling for assistance. We can evaluate your current setup, note any particular complications you might want to address, and install the ideal components to keep you breathing freely.

 

The Importance Of Your AC Filter

Your AC Filter Matters — and Here’s Why

When you think of the critical components that make up your air conditioning system, heat pump, or furnace, you probably envision the compressor, condenser, evaporator, and other major parts. However, you shouldn’t neglect a much less impressive yet equally important piece of the puzzle: the air filter. HVAC air filters contribute to your system’s energy efficiency, help to prevent breakdowns, and can even safeguard your health and the health of your loved ones. Let’s examine this unsung hero of the HVAC system to see exactly why and how it makes such an enormous difference.

The Role of the AC Filter

You can think of your AC filter as the “gatekeeper” between your living space and your air conditioning or heating system. This ordinary-looking rectangular frame filled with cloth, paper, or spun fiberglass sits just inside the vent grille that leads to your ductwork. Air that has already gone through the system’s healing and cooling processes proceeds down the duct and through the permeable material of the filter on its way into your room.

The AC filter’s job is to catch any tiny particles of unwanted airborne substances in its fibers. This filtering action effectively cleanses the incoming air to make it safer and more pleasant to breathe. It also helps to keep your floors and other surfaces free of dirt and dust.

When (and How) Good AC Filters Go Bad

Since the particles trapped by AC filters remain embedded in the filter material, these filters get dirtier and dirtier over a period of weeks or months. The more debris the filter collects, the less efficiently it can push air from the HVAC duct into the living space. Any air that does make it through may still contain particles that the dirty filter can’t catch or hold onto.

An AC filter must fit into its enclosure precisely to do its job. A poorly-fitted air filter may leave areas of the duct opening unguarded, allowing dirty air to pass directly into your home.

AC Filter Problems Can Promote Health Problems

A dirty or otherwise malfunctioning AC filter doesn’t just leave you with dusty floors and furniture — it can also pose a threat to your health and wellness. Household air naturally collects a variety of allergens, including pollen, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, metallic particles, lint fibers, and cigarette ash. Without an efficient means of filtering out these contaminants, you could experience chronic allergy symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, sneezing, and headaches. You may also run a greater risk of respiratory infections or asthma.

AC Filter Problems Affect HVAC Performance

If your AC filter can’t function properly, neither can the rest of your HVAC system, or at least not very long. The dust and debris that doesn’t get trapped by the filter may float back into other components of the system. This can contribute to mechanical breakdowns or loss of mechanical efficiency over time.

If your HVAC doesn’t quit altogether, you may end up paying higher utility bills than you should to achieve the desired temperature in your home. A clogged air filter will obstruct the flow ofc cooled or heated air, forcing you to run the system harder than normal to enjoy a comfortable home.

How to Help Your AC Filter (and Your HVAC System) Do Its Job

Fortunately, a malfunctioning AC filter is the simplest and most cost-effective HVAC problem to correct. Get into the habit of changing your air filter periodically. How often you change an AC filter will depend on what kind of filter you have. A run-of-the-mill cardboard-framed AC air filter can usually go 30 days before it needs replacing, while some high-end filters may continue to function for up to six months before they get too clogged to continue. Ask your AC service technician for advice on changing your particular type of filter.

Measure the dimensions of the space that accommodates your air filter. You want to purchase a size that will sit flush within the space, with no gaps to permit unfiltered air passage.

If you have known allergy, asthma, or other respiratory problems, you may want to purchase a HEPA air filter instead of a standard AC filter. HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air.” These specialized filters are rated to remove up to 99.7 percent of airborne contaminants over 0.3 microns in size.

Last but not least, don’t forget to schedule periodic AC system inspections. If your air filter is contributing to a problem, you want to spot and fix that problem sooner rather than later.

Whether you need to fix a problem produced by a neglected air filter or you just need advice on the right kind of air filter for your system’s needs, we can help. Contact us today so we can discuss your situation and schedule a time to look at your HVAC system.