For most residents of Austin, when the temperature drops below 60, we start firing up our fireplaces or cranking up the heat. We are used to that Texas heat even in December and January when 75 degrees is a regular thing. Being a trusted provider of Austin AC repair, we normally see our service calls peak between June and August.
However, there’s always a small spike of repair calls come mid-January during colder winters. Most residents think their units are just old or parts have worn out normally. You would be surprised to know that when it comes to AC repair, Austin residents also call for simple advice.
Most Common Questions Regarding Austin AC Repair
We notice that during the colder months we get several recurring questions that Austin residents want answered. We’d thought we’d spread a little holiday laughter and have a little fun with this month’s blog. So, we got our resident joker/lead technician to field three of those questions and share his answers as well as some tips.
Q: What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat To In Winter?
A: It’s Meant To WARM Your House, Not Smoke a Brisket.
Look, we get it— we like to keep Austin weird…and WARM, we don’t handle the cold well. I mean seriously, one snowflake falls and schools are shut down, right? One of the most common Austin AC repair calls we get in winter is due to overworking the system. It’s like you can’t win, you work it to death when it’s purgatory in July. Winter comes, and you think you’ll get a break and then it drops to 40° all of a sudden.
While we understand you might want to relive the 90’s and set your thermostat to 98 degrees—it’s not smart. In fact, it will have some seriously bad consequences for you, your energy bill, and your HVAC system.
Your thermostat in winter should never be set any higher than 75°—period. You’re trying to sleep comfortable, not run a sweat lodge. Furthermore, running your furnace too hard in winter can end up costing you a lot in repairs. Unless you want your HVAC to kick the bucket faster than the Cowboys playoff hopes—show some restraint.
You will thank us later because a new furnace isn’t cheap and running it hard will also send your energy bill soaring. Don’t you know you’re going to need to save that money for the scorching summers Texas is known for? Buy a blanket, rock a unicorn onesie and embrace your inner raver— just do anything to give it a break. You don’t want to have to call an Austin AC repair company to replace your furnace less than halfway into its life expectancy.
Q: We Hardly Use The Heat, Do I Really Need To Check The Filters?
A: Well, let me ask you this—do you love the smell of air pollution in the morning?
Yeah, we didn’t think so. Listen, Austin AC units suck, air that is—lots of it and with that whatever is in the air. That could be pollen, pet dander, dust, dead skin (eww!), and many other contaminants that a filter blocks.
Filters aren’t just for your 6 am “no filter” Instagram posts that make you look flawless (yeah, we see you). Filters actually benefit your system health as much as they do your own health. When you don’t change the filters they become clogged which restricts airflow. Essentially, your system doesn’t get enough air and chokes like OU every playoff run (Go Horns!). So, my advice? Change your filters on your unit as often as you do on social media and you can’t go wrong.
Q: Do I Really Need Regular Maintenance For My Austin AC Unit?
A: Are you filthy rich? Do you have too much money and just need to drop 10K or more on an HVAC unit every five years? If so, then no—skip the regular maintenance and just run that sucker into the ground. Then call us to take your money for a new unit. If you believe THAT, we got some oceanfront property in South Austin we’d love to sell you.
Seriously folks, let’s be smart here—your HVAC unit is mechanical. They are just like a car, they breakdown, need lubrication, and other maintenance. Would you drive your car for 10k miles without an oil change? If you even made it that long, you think it would run well? Probably not—it would run hotter than a Tesla battery, better pack an extinguisher.
If you don’t have regular maintenance performed on your HVAC unit, small problems can go undetected and turn into big ones. The scary thing is even something like a worn bearing can sneak up on you like Austin traffic. You know what we’re talking about, you think you got it made by leaving work at 3:45 pm on a Friday. You jump on the MOPAC and it looks like smooth sailing and then, BOOM—45 mins to go two exits.
Well, the same concept applies to your HVAC maintenance. Take, for example, a unit with a very slight noise when the compressor runs. Will the unit still run fine? Sure, probably—but it’s indicative of lubrication needs or a mechanical issue. That issue, if dealt with right away could cost very little to remedy. However, if never detected, or never repaired—it could cause compressor failure and that is like totaling a vehicle.
How To Save Money On Heating Costs This Winter
Ok, we love to have fun and joke around—laughter is good for the soul, but we want to get serious for a moment. Let’s talk about saving money and conserving energy because we all inhabit this earth and have to care for it.
One of the best ways we can be responsible is by conserving the energy used for heating our homes in winter. Austin AC units are the biggest drain on the power grids in TX—even in winter. Generating that power creates a lot of pollution and costs you money to consume it. However, with a few simple tips, you can save money and conserve energy and do your part.
If your energy bill is too high in the winter, you’ll find this especially useful. Some of these tips are more complex but most are simplistic in nature. Anything you can do to reduce energy consumption is going to benefit the environment and your budget.
Stop Energy Waste
Energy leaks in regards to Austin AC terms are when the air in your home that’s been conditioned, leaks out. However, it is also when hot or cold air leaks in, after all, if air can get out, it can also get in. Reducing this leakage is a very budget-friendly way to save money on your energy bill. Two easy ways of accomplishing this are replacing worn weatherstripping and caulking cracks.
Insulate Your Attic
We’re taught in grade school that heat rises, and air leaks aren’t the only way energy is wasted. In fact, quite a bit of heat is lost through your roof. Make sure your attic is adequately insulated and that it isn’t worn. Old homes sometimes need insulation replaced after so long, try radiant barrier if you want a serious upgrade over fiberglass fill. We can also come out on a service call and run a test to see if your attic is properly insulated.
Upgrade Your Windows
If you bought your home with the original windows from the builder, chances are you have the cheapest windows available. Cheap is never good and good is never cheap, most heating and cooling leaks in a home are though cheap windows. Energy-efficient windows use high-quality seals, glass, and double or triple gas-filled panes. These features make a huge difference in leakage and can save you quite a bit of money on your electric bill.
Close The Flue On Your Fireplace
Many people actually forget to do this more often than you might realize. An open flue can literally cost you hundreds every winter from energy loss. Make a habit of closing the flue every time you turn off the fireplace.
Looking For The Best in Austin AC Repair?
We hope you enjoyed our resident comedian, but more importantly, we hope you take heed to our advice. We are here for our neighbors and want you to get the most out of your HVAC unit and to have a safe home.
If it has been some time since your AC has been serviced, or you are having a problem with yours, please contact us. We are here and ready to help you with everything from simple repairs to new HVAC installs. Just contact us today for a free consultation!