We are here to serve you and your family in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Be cautious when dealing with contractors during these difficult times and make sure you’re checking their licenses and reviews. Don’t be pressured. We offer free second opinions on A/C repairs and free estimates for new A/C systems. Give us a call or text us today at (941) 485-2222! We take our jingle seriously and we are working hard to fulfill it: “No matter what the weather, Tri County makes it better!”

All You Need To Know About AC Repair

All You Need To Know About AC Repair

Your family depends on air conditioning for temperature, humidity, and air quality control. When you need AC repair, your home can get downright uncomfortable. It’s important not to delay a repair, whether it’s a simple DIY fix or you need a technician. Below, we’ll detail how to troubleshoot your system, know when to call for help, and some common AC repair issues.

Troubleshooting Your Central AC

Some common issues you might be able to correct include:

  • The Condenser Doesn’t Turn On: Check whether the AC has power. If not, plug it in, switch the system on, or if the circuit breaker has tripped, reset it. Also, reset the thermostat if it’s set too high. However, other possible issues include a faulty compressor or motor.
  • The Condenser Unit Cycles to Often: If the condenser keeps turning on and off frequently, the condenser coil and fins may need to be cleaned. You may also need to clean the evaporator or remove grass, weeds, leaves, and other debris from around the unit.
  • The AC Is Cooling Unevenly: Check whether any vents are closed and open them, or clean or change the filter. It’s also possible the air distribution system may be out of balance. You’ll need an HVAC professional to inspect the ductwork and related components to see what to do.
  • There’s Not Enough Cool Air: The thermostat may be set too high, so lower the temperature. If the issue is caused by a dirty condenser or evaporator, clean the system, and if the condenser is blocked, remove debris. If any components are faulty or there’s not enough refrigerant, you’ll need a professional to address the problem.
  • Ice Forms in the AC Unit: Try operating the unit on the fan setting. The ice should melt and your system should work normally again soon. If the problem persists, there may be a fan problem, restricted airflow, or an issue with the coolant level.
  • There’s Low Air Pressure or Warm Air: Check the AC filter; if it’s dirty or clogged, replace it. See whether performance has improved once you’ve changed the filter and cleaned the system. If not, there’s likely an internal problem or the system isn’t the proper size.

Common Repair Issues

AC repair technicians tend to encounter a few common issues. Therefore, they are ready with the knowledge, tools, and parts to fix the issue when they arrive. Some of the most common air conditioner problems include:

Drainage Issues

Condensation forms as air is cooled in the system. High humidity can cause the drain pan to fill up and overflow, while a clog in the drain line can cause water to pool up on the floor. Excess condensation can lead to reduced performance and AC damage. A technician can clear clogs, treat the line to prevent algae growth, and perform other repairs.

Refrigerant Leak

AC refrigerant absorbs heat and transports it to components that release it outside. Low refrigerant levels typically mean there’s a leak and can overwork your air conditioner. Since coolant can be toxic to people and dangerous to the environment, you should call a professional ASAP to fix the problem. 

Faulty Compressor Fan

A malfunctioning or failed fan inhibits heat transfer. Aside from your home not getting cool, this can cause the compressor to overheat and fail, requiring major AC repair. At the very least, the system may keep shutting off because the fault triggers the safety controls. Repairing or replacing the fan is less expensive than installing a new compressor.

Frozen Coils

If the condenser coils keep freezing, there may be an airflow issue or obstruction such as a dirty filter or blocked return duct. Low refrigerant is another possibility. Therefore, it’s important to have the issue diagnosed and fixed by a skilled technician.

Leaky Ducts

Ventilation issues can cause cooled/treated air to escape from your home before it has a chance to cool rooms. This can reduce AC performance and efficiency. Holes and tears in ducts can also let outside air in, potentially causing pollution in your home including dust, mold, and viruses that can lead to a range of health issues. Professional duct sealing can quickly resolve small leaks and improve efficiency.

Contact Tri County Air

Now that you know more about AC repair, you can better care for your HVAC system and know when to call for help. We provide HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance services in Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte Counties. Specials, membership plans, and financing are available to help you save on AC repair services. Request your appointment online or call 941-841-8574 for prompt and fast repairs.

 

How Does Central Air Work?

How Does Central Air Work?

In its modern form, air conditioning has been around since 1902. Willis Carrier’s invention has been improved and modified over the years, leading to many cooling options today. But split-system air conditioning (or “central AC”) is still the most popular. Aside from air temperature, it can control humidity, airflow, and air quality. Continue reading for a more in-depth look at the answer to the question, “How does central air work?”

Parts of a Central Air Conditioning System

Together all the system’s components provide cool air to your entire home, unlike a window AC or mini-split unit that serves a single room. To help you understand how a central AC system works, here’s a look at some of its major parts:

  • Outdoor Unit: A casing that houses the compressor, condenser coil, and fan, it sits on a concrete pad next to an outside wall.
  • Indoor Unit: Includes the evaporator coil and fan that circulates air throughout your home; it’s usually a furnace or fan coil.
  • Ductwork: Connects the indoor unit to registers/vents in rooms and living spaces, allowing conditioned air to circulate.
  • Copper Tubing: Provides a conduit for refrigerant, in vapor and liquid form, to flow between the outdoor and indoor units.
  • Thermostat: Reads room temperature and controls the system based on whether air temperature matches set thresholds.

How the Process Works

Here’s a simple view of how central air works. Warm air blows across a cold coil inside your home. The cold refrigerant absorbs heat from the air and becomes a gas. Colder air is then blown back into the house. On the outside, gaseous refrigerant is compressed as it enters the outdoor unit’s coil. As the refrigerant converts back to a liquid, heat is released. A fan directs the heat away by pulling outdoor air through this coil.

A more detailed look at the central air conditioning process is as follows:

The Thermostat Sends a Signal to the AC

Usually mounted on a wall in a centralized area, the thermostat constantly senses air temperature. When the ambient indoor temperature rises above what you set on the thermostat, it automatically sends a signal to a circuit board.

The Blower Motor Starts Running

Electricity starts flowing so the blower motor can turn on. The fan in the indoor unit starts pulling hot air from inside the house. As air flows through return air ducts, it is filtered, removing dust, lint, and other particles and pollutants. Meanwhile, the outdoor condenser starts to run.

Air Passes Over the Evaporator Coil

Filtered, warm air passes over the evaporator coil, through which liquid refrigerant flows. The heat from the air is absorbed by the refrigerant, causing it to turn into a gas. Cooled air blows through air ducts to vents in each room. Meanwhile, a condensate pan picks up excess moisture that flows into the drain line to the outside unit.

Refrigerant Gas Is Sent Outside

A copper tube delivers gaseous refrigerant to the compressor, which pressurizes the gas. The heat is evacuated via coils or metal fins and dissipated by a compressor fan. As the heat is released outside, the refrigerant turns back into a liquid.

Refrigerant Returns to the Indoor Coil

Coolant returns inside through a copper tube. An expansion device controls how much refrigerant flows back to the evaporator coil. Cold refrigerant can then absorb more heat from your home in a continuous cycle. The process continues until the system achieves the desired temperature, at which point the thermostat will cycle the system off.

Types of Central Air Conditioners

The most common type is the split central AC. Indoor air handlers and outdoor units contain most of the system’s components. The evaporator coils are near the air handler or furnace. Packaged central air conditioners work similarly, except all components are in one unit; which pumps warm air from inside and returns cooled air in exchange. Usually installed on the ground, a packaged unit may also be roof-mounted.

Tri County Air Has Your Central AC Needs Covered

The question “How does central air work?” is fully understood by our licensed HVAC technicians, who can install and fix any make or model of unit. Since 1977, we’ve provided a wide range of HVAC services for residential and commercial clients in Charlotte, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. If your central AC isn’t working or it’s time for maintenance, we’re here to help. We provide 24/7 emergency service and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. For more information about central AC and other HVAC topics, visit our Learning Center. Request your appointment online or call 941-841-8384 for prompt service!

Does Humidity Outside Affect My AC?

Does Humidity Outside Affect My AC?

High humidity inside and outside can have an impact on your air conditioner. Ideally, the humidity level should be below 60% in your home or business. An AC is designed to remove heat and moisture, but higher humidity outside can negatively affect its ability to cool.

A spike in humidity can make it hard for your HVAC system to cope. Increased moisture content makes it feel warmer than it actually is, and can cancel out the cooling effect of the system. Running the AC longer or at a lower temperature setting may not achieve the desired results. Nevertheless, you’ll end up paying more in cooling costs.

Effects of High Humidity

Even if you have every window and door closed, and it’s humid outside, your skin may feel clammy while indoors. Moisture may even cause your windows to fog up. And when there is persistent dampness, you may start to notice a musty odor.

But in addition to making it feel hotter, high humidity can damage your AC. If your air conditioner isn’t built with a dehumidifier, greater demand can strain it. That’s because as higher moisture content makes the air warmer, the system must work harder. Wear and tear can lead to mechanical and electrical issues and the need for AC repair. High humidity can also promote mold and algae growth within ducts, triggering allergic reactions and further reducing indoor air quality.

How Can My Air Conditioner Worsen the Problem?

You may think that a more powerful air conditioner can counter the effects of high humidity outside. But the opposite is true. If you have a higher capacity AC than is needed, it won’t run long enough to remove enough moisture. Indoor air will still be humid and outdoor conditions won’t help the matter. There are also other factors that affect how conditions outside affect your AC, including:

  • Air Conditioner Speed: A single-speed AC only runs at full blast. Once it cycles off it won’t turn on again until the temperature goes above the thermostat setting. Your home will be more humid, but a variable speed system is much more effective at removing humidity.
  • The Fan Runs Continuously: While fans produce a wind chill effect and make you feel cooler, they can blow moisture back into your rooms. Your AC may have previously removed it, but moisture must condensate in order to drain away; the fan may not give it a chance to do this.
  • Negative Air Pressure: Design issues with your ventilation system can cause too much air to be vented. Outside air is drawn in. So, if it’s muggy outside, things will get quite sticky in your home. The only resolution may be to redesign your ventilation system.

An older AC may cause trouble as well. Worn parts and a lack of maintenance can lead to inadequate cooling and inconsistent temperatures, which in turn affect humidity control. Regardless of the humidity outside, it may be time to consider repair vs. replacing the unit.

Can a Dehumidifier Improve My AC System?

Pairing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system allows it to adjust both temperature and humidity. This may seem like more for it to do. However, good humidity control allows an AC to do its job better. You’ll feel cooler and your energy bill may be lower.

Contact Tri County Air

At Tri County Air, we can address indoor humidity issues in Florida and provide all types of AC service. We’re committed to helping your air conditioner last longer and run more safely. Whether you need AC maintenance, repair, or replacement, our licensed technicians can provide the service you need, while ductwork, insulation, and air quality services are also available to clients in Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Charlotte County. To request an appointment, contact us online or call 941-841-3688.

Why Is AC Repair So Expensive?

Why Is AC Repair So Expensive?

Homeowners are often shocked when they see their AC repair bill. You may think your local HVAC company is charging too much, but many factors affect the cost of repairs. These range from inflation to system complexity, to the price of refrigerant. The next time you balk at the cost of getting your air conditioner fixed, here are a few reasons why AC repair is so expensive.

The Cost of Parts

AC parts are expensive and scarcity has driven up prices as well. Technicians don’t profit from parts; the components are also expensive to companies that install them. For example, a home AC compressor can cost $2,800 or more in 2022, according to HomeAdvisor. Reliability is another factor; air conditioner parts must be manufactured to strict standards. Some homeowners choose parts on their own, but mismatch them as far as size, compatibility, and buying off-brand products that are more susceptible to breakage, causing additional problems they must pay to fix.

High Efficiency Technologies

The higher efficiency equipment on today’s market is more complex than traditional systems. Technicians must be specialized in their trade. It’s more challenging to fix an air conditioner built with hi-tech parts, so the contractor must charge more for AC repairs. The good news is your system will consume less energy overall, so despite more costly repairs, your energy bills will be lower.

Interconnected Systems

Your HVAC system is more than just an air conditioning unit. It consists of various interrelated systems including ductwork, vents, refrigerant lines, thermostats, and electrical components and wiring. Smart thermostat technology is more sophisticated than analog and even some digital systems of the past. A licensed technician must be familiar with and be prepared to service all of these when they visit your home. With more experience and knowledge comes higher labor costs.

Licensing

Licensing/professional certification is costly to obtain. And an HVAC tech has no choice but to be licensed and certified if they want a successful career and to avoid fines and legal issues. Licensure also requires continuing education and training as technology is always changing. To cover these ongoing costs, companies often charge higher fees.

Warranty

Any reputable HVAC contractor will warranty their work. This means they’ll cover the cost of repairs they perform if something goes wrong within, for example, a year after service. Don’t work with a company that doesn’t include a service warranty. But also know they must budget for at least sometimes having to perform work they’re not paid to do.

Cost of Refrigerant

The phase-out of R-22 refrigerant (Freon) is also increasing AC repair costs. This compound is a chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC, which destroys ozone in the atmosphere. Older systems that still use R-22 can still be operated, but Freon is become harder and more expensive to find over time. Homeowners are increasingly having to retrofit their ACs or replace them with systems that use R-410A, a hydrofluorocarbon that doesn’t react with ozone.

Also beware of HVAC techs that say you need to top off your system. It is sealed so refrigerant doesn’t decrease unless there’s a leak, and it doesn’t go bad. Topping off the system means using gauges that will remove some refrigerant unnecessarily, so this will cost you even more.

Schedule AC Repair with Tri County Air

At Tri County Air, we provide high-quality AC repair services in the Sarasota area. We always start with a consultation, inspection, and thorough explanation of the problem. Using the latest repair methods and tools and following all required safety measures, our technicians resolve any problem you have and then provide a detailed report of the work. Financing options are available to help you manage high repair costs and even spread them out over up to 10 years. To learn more or request service, call 941-485-2222

What Is a Quantum Coil?

What Is a Quantum Coil?


At Tri County Air, we’re proud to be a premier dealer of Lennox HVAC systems. Lennox is known for superior quality heating and cooling systems, variable speed compressors, and its Quantum Coil. That’s not to mention the manufacturer’s 10-year transferrable warranty. But our customers often ask, “What is a Quantum Coil?” when we discuss HVAC options from Lennox.

Made of an all-aluminum alloy, the Quantum Coil is designed to withstand the harshest of weather and most volatile of compounds. It is resistant to corrosion and will not rust. Air conditioner coils can cause the entire system to fail if they start to degrade. Homes and businesses in humid climates and near the ocean are most susceptible to these types of problems.

Corrosion Resistance Outside and Inside

There are many types of corrosion and your AC coil can be damaged by elements from outside and inside your home. Salt air is prevalent in coastal areas. It eventually causes aluminum fins to corrode, which reduces cooling capacity.

However, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from inside your home can damage your HVAC system too. New furniture, carpets, and fresh coats of paint can emit VOCs without you even knowing it. When combined with moisture, organic acids from these compounds create a corrosive environment that starts to degrade AC coils within just a few short years.

The Quantum Coil from Lennox is highly durable and resistant to the effects of corrosion. Your AC can therefore maintain its cooling capacity for longer. Maintenance, repair, and performance issues are therefore reduced. That’s because the aluminum alloy used resists oxidation and corrosive processes that occur with exposure to moisture and salt.

Other Benefits of Aluminum vs. Copper Coils

Depending on the product, a Quantum Coil unit can weigh as much as 50 pounds less than a copper-based coil system. This not only makes installation easier. It also means emissions and fuel consumption during transport and delivery are reduced.

Rust in an AC coil and condenser unit can reduce performance. But it also has an impact on indoor air quality. If your condenser coil is rusting, refrigerant can start to leak, which is itself a health hazard. Rust particles and other compounds that get into the air can have short-term and long-term health effects as well.

The Quantum Coil eliminates these hazards and can enable your air conditioner to perform at peak efficiency and do so for longer. It is also leak-resistant and extremely durable.

Dealers benefit from easier transport and installation. In addition to being lighter, the system also reduces handling damage and is easier to clean. It takes less time to clean while no harsh chemicals are needed to maintain peak efficiency.

How Do I Take Advantage of a Quantum Coil?

Lennox has incorporated the Quantum Coil into many products. It has also made it easier for customers to recognize which models include it. The naming protocol is as follows. Units in the Dave Lennox Signature® Collection feature the letters “SL”. Elite® air conditioners and heat pumps are identified with the letters “EL”, while those in the Merit® collection are identified with the code “ML”. The CBA Series of air handlers as well as 35 Series coils also contain the Quantum Coil.

Contact Tri County Air for HVAC Installation

A residential and commercial HVAC company serving Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Charlotte County, Tri County Air specializes in the latest leading-brand air conditioning systems. These include products from Lennox with the Quantum Coil. Whether you need AC installation, repair, or maintenance, our licensed technicians can help. Choose a membership plan for maintenance and discounted repair services, or contact us to learn more about our products, financing, and specials.

To get started, request your appointment online or call/text 941-265-8294 today.

Life Cycle Maintenance Costs You Can Expect Over the Life of Your AC System

Life Cycle Maintenance Costs You Can Expect Over the Life of Your AC System


Customers often ask us how they can keep their air conditioning and heating system working at its best for as long as possible. Though it is true equipment does not last as long as it used to, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your investment. Here is a general guideline of what we recommend customers do each year. Please keep in mind your technician may recommend something a little bit different depending on your specific home and application. We always suggest you follow the recommendations of your technician since they are most familiar with you and your system.

Air Conditioner Heat Pump

  • Year 1:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out and maintain your air conditioning system. If you had a new install and your drain line was not replaced, we recommend you purchase Dain Solve treatment at the time of this maintenance.
  • Year 2:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out and maintain your air conditioning system. If you had a new install and your drain line was not replaced, we recommend you purchase Dain Solve treatment at the time of this maintenance.
  • Year 3:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out and maintain your air conditioning system. Even if you had your drain line replaced with your new install, we recommend you purchase Drain Solve treatment every year at your maintenance appointment starting in your air conditioning system’s third year.
    • Depending on your system, we may recommend installing a Compressor Saver Kit. This is an electrical component that benefits the compressor (the heart of your system, and the most expensive part in your system). This component allows the compressor to start easier and use less power. The benefits of a compressor saver can be electrical savings, increased longevity of the compressor, and protection from electrical short cycles caused by power surges.
  • Year 4:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
  • Year 5:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • We recommend replacing your float switches at least every 5 years.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil.
  • Year 6:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
  • Year 7:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
  • Year 8:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
    • We recommend beginning to budget for a new air conditioning and heating system once your current system is 8 years old.
  • Year 9:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
    • Continue budgeting for a new system.
  • Year 10:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • If you replaced your float switches at year 5, replace them again in year 10. We recommend replacing your float switches at least every 5 years.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
    • Continue budgeting for a new system.

 

Air Conditioning and Heating Maintenance, Service, and New Installations

Our team is ready to help you keep your air conditioning and heating system running for as long as possible. Learn more about our membership plans, or schedule service, by calling 941-485-2222 or schedule an appointment online!