Air Conditioner Failure

The last thing anyone wants is for their air to go out as the temperatures climb into the 80s and beyond. However, that’s bound to happen if you ignore the warning signs that your air conditioner is on the fritz. Disregarding the situation can even put you and your family at risk if temperatures get too high or if there’s a poisonous refrigerant leak.

Here are some common indications that your air conditioner is on the brink of failure. Get these problems fixed now so you don’t find yourself out of luck on a hot summer day.

A Warm Breeze

Double-check that your air conditioner is set to “cool” and replace your thermostat batteries. If the issue persists, this could mean the refrigerant – the liquid that cools the air – is too low. Because R-22 (Freon) is particularly expensive and being phased out, you may be better off getting a new air conditioner than continuing to repair and refill a unit that leaks. In fact, Freon will be illegal starting January 1, 2020, so if your system still relies on it, you may want to replace it.1 Another issue could be a broken outdoor unit, which houses the compressor that pumps refrigerant into your home.

Poor Air Circulation

In some cases, your air won’t be hot or warm, but ever-so-slightly cool. You want instant relief on a hot day, not the HVAC equivalent of a hand fan! If checking the vents and changing the air filters doesn’t fix the issue, you may be dealing with a faulty compressor or fan.

Short Cycling

If your air is constantly clicking on and off, or if it feels like your unit never stays on long enough to cool the entire house, you could have a problem with your thermostat. A thermostat located directly in the sun or in a room far

from the center of your home may have trouble sensing your home’s true temperature. Short cycling is also caused by:
• Blocked air filters
• Lack of refrigerant
• Icy evaporator coils, and
• Electrical malfunction

Wonky Sounds

Any sounds other than the click of the air turning on and off and the fan whirring are a cause for concern. If you hear anything metallic, a part is most likely loose. Watch out for thudding, scraping or squealing. Some of the most common offenders are inadequate lubrication, a broken motor, a banged-up fan or a loose belt.

Funky Smells

Your air conditioner should not smell like anything other than clean air. If your unit is smelling like burning or gunpowder, the issue is likely electrical in nature. Your circuit board and wires could be fried or your fan motor might be malfunctioning. A dirty or musty smell, however faint, could mean moisture and mold is beginning to build up. Don’t ignore chemical smells or exhaust fumes either, as this could mean fluids are leaking within your HVAC system.

Pools of Liquid

There are two causes for pooled liquid around your A/C. The first is that the drain line, which allows moisture to escape your unit, is obstructed. Simply flush, patch or replace the line so condensate can flow freely again. Make sure no mold has built up in the damp area. The second is a refrigerant leak. This liquid is poisonous, and the leak should be repaired by a professional immediately for your safety.

Scary Utility Bills

It’s normal to see a bump in your electric bill come spring and summer, but it should not be astronomically high for your home or area. If you can’t explain why your bill is so high, that indicates your unit is having to run harder than it should to achieve the desired cooling effects. Try switching out your air filter and rinsing the condenser coils with a garden hose, spraying from the inside out. If these solutions don’t work, one or more parts may be fatigued or broken.

Impending Unit Death

Most A/C units only last 12 years, although yours may certainly last for longer if it’s well maintained.2 If your unit is at the end of its lifespan, getting a repair may just be postponing the inevitable. Consider replacement over repair if your unit continues breaking down or if the unit is 15 years or older. If you’re having trouble deciding, multiply the age of your unit by the repair cost. Proceed with repairs only if the answer is less than $5,000.3

Air Conditioner Repair in Greensboro, NC

We tend to have muggy summers here in North Carolina, and when they hit, you don’t want to find yourself trapped in a humid, overheated house. At Kay Heating & Air Conditioning, our team gives you upfront prices and guarantees the quality of replacement parts for a full two years after repair (refrigerant leaks not included). Call us at (336) 274-6323 today to schedule your service appointment.

HVAC Summer Maintenance

The last thing you want during the hot summer months is an air conditioning malfunction. Take these steps to ensure you and your family keep cool all summer long.

An Overview of Central Air Conditioning

In order to understand how to prepare your HVAC unit for summer, you’ll need to be able to identify the basic parts of a split air conditioning system. These include both the outside unit and the indoor components.

The outside unit is the large metal box that sits on a concrete slab in your yard or on your roof. It consists of a condenser, compressor, coils, fins and a fan. This unit releases hot air outdoors and moves refrigerant to the indoor components. The parts inside your home include an air handler with a blower fan and an evaporator coil. They suck in warm air from the home, cool it by running it over the evaporator coil containing refrigerant and pump the newly cooled air back into your house.

Check the Outside Unit

One of the first things you’ll want to do after a long winter is to check the appearance of your outside unit. It is not uncommon for it to get dirty during winter due to a lack of maintenance and inclement weather. Be sure to remove any covers you used to protect the unit before turning on the air, as they will inhibit the system and cause damage.

Do an external scan of the unit. Make sure any plants, outdoor furniture or toys are at least two feet away. Also check that the unit is sitting level to the ground and that the panel, which protects the electrical wiring, is intact. Examine the refrigerant lines that run from the outdoor unit back into the house. The larger line, called the suction line, should have insulation. If the insulation has been damaged by weather or wildlife, replace it.

You will also want to clean the dirt and leaves from the coils and fins to make sure air can flow effortlessly throughout the unit. Turn off the power, unscrew the grilles and remove the top portion carefully, as the fan and its wires are attached.

Start clearing away the dust and debris from the coils by vacuuming them using a soft bristle attachment. Inspect the thin metal fins that run up and down the unit. If they have been damaged or bent, take a fine comb and run it gently through the metal to straighten them again. Next, use a garden hose to spray the coils and fins, aiming from the inside of the unit outward. Do not get water on the electric components in the panel or the internal wiring. Once the coils and fins are thoroughly rinsed, remove any built-up dirt inside the unit with a rag or vacuum and gently clean the fan. Once everything has dried, reassemble the unit.

Inspect Indoor Components

If you only do one thing to prepare your air conditioner for summer, make sure you replace the air filter. This is a quick and easy fix nearly everyone should be able to accomplish. Locate and remove the old air filter, which is usually hidden by a panel somewhere between the return duct or blower and the air handler. Look through your unit’s manual to see which air filters are compatible with your HVAC system, purchase one from the local hardware or home store and insert it. This filter should be replaced every month or two during summer and high-use seasons, and potentially even more frequently if someone in the household struggles with allergies or other respiratory issues.

The easiest component to forget is the coil drainage line, also called the condensate line. This hose allows condensation to drip away from the evaporator coil into a tray, where it eventually drains. However, this line can easily become blocked, meaning the water will back up into your air conditioner and the house, potentially causing serious structural damage. You want to avoid this at all costs!

To clean the condensate line:

• Use a shop vacuum to remove the blockage
• Pour a solution through the hose using a funnel (this could be algaecide, distilled vinegar or water and bleach)
• Rinse the solution through with water
• Clean any gunk out of the drain port

If you can’t salvage the condensate line, you can always buy a new one.

Make Sure Everything Runs

Now that everything is cleaned or replaced, you want to make sure that your air conditioner will turn on and run as expected. Give your system a while to kick on, but turn it back off if air doesn’t circulate or if the air coming from the vents isn’t cold. If you can’t identify the source of the issue, it’s best to call an HVAC professional.

Get an A/C Checkup From Kay Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.

If you’re not the DIY type or you’ve hit a snag, the CFC-certified technicians at Kay Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. can get your unit up and running for the summer. We have more than 40 years of experience serving the Greensboro area and understand the ins and outs of seasonal maintenance in North Carolina. Our team provides both residential and commercial air conditioning maintenance. If you want to make sure your home stays cool this summer, schedule an appointment by calling us at (336) 274-6323 today!

Thermostat Placement | Kay Heating and Air

When most people move into a new home, they often aren’t overly concerned with the location of their thermostats. However, placing your thermostat in the right place has a significant influence on the efficiency of your HVAC system and its ability to maintain your desired home temperature.

Thermostats read ambient air temperatures and use that information to tell themselves to cycle on and off. A poorly-placed thermostat may cause it to read an incorrect ambient temperature — making the thermostat run either too often or not enough. Unnecessary cycles cause unnecessary wear and tear on your HVAC system, resulting in uneven heating or cooling and leading to higher energy bills.


Placing your thermostat correctly can help you get the best out of it and save you money. Here’s some general information about what’s considered a good or bad location for your thermostat so you can avoid dealing with those headaches in your home:

Bad Places for your Thermostat

  • Near the Kitchen 

Your thermostat should read an uninfluenced temperature. Consider your kitchen space; the oven, microwave, dishwasher, and other appliances can alter your thermostat reading when they’re in use. If you choose your kitchen as a placement, there’s a good chance your HVAC system is not running as it should.

  • In Prolonged Sunlight 

If your thermostat is in a room with an east-or-west-facing window, it will be exposed to prolonged sunlight. It’s like being in a warm kitchen – if your thermostat is reading the temperature of a sunny afternoon, it won’t operate as intended.

  • Drafty Doors and Windows

Thermostats near windows and doors on the outer edge of the home will be influenced by outdoor temperatures, especially if the window or door isn’t correctly sealed.

  • In a Hallway

People assume hallways are the right place for thermostats. Direct sunlight, drafts, or radiating heat sources should not affect ambient temperature. While all of these are true, hallways still are not the best place for thermostats because people don’t spend much time there. A more active area provides your thermostat with a more accurate assessment of what the people in your home are feeling.

Good Places for your Thermostat

  • Outside the Master Bedroom

Placing a thermostat outside the master bedroom combines the benefits of a hallway (minimal draft, sunlight, and external influences) and also is an area where people spend more time. This makes it a better indicator of the “living” temperature in your home.

  • Near the Center of the Home

Outside the master bedroom is often the center of the home. At this place, it’s less likely to be affected by the temperature outside or drafty windows with temperature-altering sunlight.

  • Often-Used Areas

Wherever you spend the most time, that’s the temperature your thermostat should be reading so it can adjust accordingly and keep you comfortable. Just make sure that the area is near the center of the home and away from large windows and prolonged sunlight.


Do You Need to Move Your Thermostat?

Moving your thermostat could help your home maintain more comfortable temperatures or help your HVAC system run more efficiently. However, remember that it’s not a process you should attempt on your own. You will need a licensed and experienced HVAC service company, such as KAY Heating and Air, to get the job done correctly.

Kay Heating and Air Conditioning has been providing the Greensboro area with high-quality indoor air for years. Whether you need routine HVAC services or moving your thermostat to a more efficient location, we are your trustworthy AC partners. Contact Kay Heating and Air by calling (336) 274-6323.

A/C Unit Repair in Greensboro NC

With summer well on its way, the days are starting to heat up. Homeowners across the country are beginning to rely heavily on their air conditioning units to keep them cool and comfortable. What, then, do you do if your A/C is just making the problem worse by circulating warm air throughout your home? If you’re experiencing these problems, it’s definitely time to call in an expert from Kay Heating and Air to solve your cooling woes once and for all.

Refrigerant Problems

A refrigerant is a type of super-cooling liquid your HVAC unit uses to cool the air circulating through the system. As one of the top reasons an air conditioning unit blows hot air, refrigerant leaks are usually a straightforward fix. Catching the leak in the act can be tricky because the valve is situated outside your home. Unless you’re actively watching it, you’d never realize the leak was there. Leaks typically occur with regular wear-and-tear or when a joint comes loose from heavy operation or poor manufacturing. Switching on the A/C after months of winter hibernation without servicing can cause damage to the unit, potentially leading to leaks in the outer valve. Remember: just because it’s a common problem, doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. Always call a professional if you suspect you may have a refrigerant leak. To prevent leaks in the future, have your unit serviced at least twice per year.

Broken Thermostats

Occasionally, the fault lies with your thermostat, not your actual HVAC unit. If you notice your unit isn’t carrying out your thermostat settings, there may be a communication issue between the two. Thermostats are usually attached to a sensing bulb and the compressor of your A/C unit. The thermostat uses the bulb to gauge the ambient temperature and adjust the unit’s operation accordingly, based on the thermostat’s settings. If your unit is capable of cooling air but simply isn’t, the compressor or the sensing bulb may be malfunctioning, leading the system to continue circulating warm air. A professional will inspect the sensing bulb for bends, breaks or kinks and service it to ensure it is properly functioning.

Dirty Air Filters

Surprising as it may be, sometimes it may only feel like the unit is blowing warm air. In actuality, the system may be functioning perfectly fine, but could be suffering from an obstruction in the air flow, preventing the home from cooling properly. Perhaps one of the simplest A/C fixes, replacing a dirty air filter can do wonders for your unit’s cooling abilities. Your air filter catches allergens, dust and debris that is circulating through the home. However, during months where pollen count or pet shedding are at their peaks, the filter can become filthy quite quickly. Without regular replacements or cleanings, the filter can block the flow of air, preventing your home from cooling.

Stay Cool This Summer with Kay Heating and Air

Summer is the season when your air conditioning unit needs to be at its best. Prepare for the long, hot days to come by scheduling maintenance ahead of time with one of the expert technicians from Kay Heating and Air. To schedule your service today, contact us online or call 336-274-6323.

R-22 vs R-410A Refrigerant

As a homeowner, you probably only think about your air conditioner when it starts showing signs of a problem. But before you fork up hard-earned money for repairs or installing an entirely new system, it’s important to know the latest facts and details regarding these types of products and the industry overall.

One recent development involves the EPA’s phasing out of certain ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), including Class I and Class II controlled substances, which are predominantly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) respectively. While Class I CFCs have been entirely phased out at this point, the EPA is still in the process of ceasing the production and importation of Class II HCFCs, most of which will be completely phased out by 2020.

Wondering how exactly this information affects you and your neighbors in the Greensboro, North Carolina area? Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know.

Your AC System May Use a Refrigerant That Will Soon be Phased Out

Until fairly recently, R-22 (an HCFC better known by its brand name, Freon®), was by and large the most commonly used refrigerant in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Freon is still used in many homes today, particularly those with air conditioning units that were manufactured prior to 2010, at which point the government officially mandated the discontinuation of the manufacturing of new Freon-powered AC systems.

The problem with Freon and all other HCFCs is that it releases harmful greenhouse gasses into the air when used, which plays a role in depleting earth’s ozone layer and has led the EPA and government to begin favoring a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) known as R-410A instead (also more commonly referred to by its brand name, Puron®). R-410A is more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than R-22, so it has dual benefits for you, the consumer, and our planet as a whole.

What This Shift from R-22 to R-410A Means for Homeowners Like You

Although R-22 refrigerant will continue to be available (until 2020) for homes that still use these types of systems, it becomes more and more expensive with each passing year as the phaseout progresses. It’s also important to note that once R-22 is completely phased out, you will not be able to replenish your R-22 system with R-410A refrigerant, as the two are not compatible. In other words, in order to replenish your system after 2020, you will need to have a system that runs on R-410A.

That said, if you find yourself needing to make even somewhat extensive repairs to your R-22 system at any point from here forward, it’s strongly recommended you forego the repairs and invest your money in a new, energy-efficient R-410A system instead. Not only will this ensure you’re prepared once the phaseout is complete in just a few more years, it will also allow you to reap the efficiency, performance and environmental benefits R-410A systems afford!

New, Energy-Efficient HVAC System Installations in Greensboro

If your HVAC unit is broken, inefficient, outdated or less-than-ideal in any other way, our team at Kay Heating and Air would be happy to install a new, energy-efficient, high-performance system that uses ozone-friendly refrigerants like R-410A. To learn more about our wide array of high-efficiency HVAC systems and services or to speak with one of our friendly technicians about whether repairing or replacing your unit is the best decision at this time, contact us online today! If you have any questions regarding the differences between R-22 and R-410A refrigerants, please do not hesitate to call us at 336-274-6323!