HVAC Maintenance Tips for Summer

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Your HVAC system works hard all summer to keep your home nice and cool. It could use a helping hand from time to time to function at peak efficiency and to help prevent system malfunctions. While many tasks should be reserved for your HVAC technician, there are plenty of easy summer HVAC maintenance chores you can do that make a big difference.

Outdoor HVAC Unit

The outdoor portion of your HVAC system contains the compressor, condenser, fan and electrical parts. Like your indoor air handler and vents, the outdoor unit needs free airflow. Keep the landscaping around the air conditioner clear of obstructions that restrict airflow.

Evaporator and Drain

On top of or beside your gas furnace sits the evaporator coil. The evaporator is a metal tubing device that circulates very cold refrigerant to extract heat energy from indoor air. The more contact the evaporator has with return airflow, the more efficient it cools your home.

  • Spray the evaporator with a self-rinse foaming coil cleaner.
  • Wait 30 minutes for the cleaner to drip into the condensate pan.
  • Pour a quart of 50/50 bleach and water solution into the pan to wash away the coil cleaner and, more importantly, to wash out and disinfect the pan and drain tube of mold and other micro-organisms.

Air Filter

If you don't use at least a mid-efficiency air filter, do yourself a favor and pick up a box of high-quality filters at your home store. Change the air filter on your HVAC system promptly according to the filter manufacturer suggestion. A dirty filter increases energy usage and puts extra stress on HVAC parts.

Vents and Doors

Clean the air vents and grilles in your home. Make sure they are fully open. If you have rooms that aren't occupied, don't close off the vents nor keep the door closed. This disrupts airflow through your home. Your HVAC system will work more efficiently with all vents and interior doors wide open.

HVAC Service from the Experts

To schedule professional HVAC maintenance or for more DIY tips for your home this summer, please contact McCoy’s Heating & Air today.

How to Landscape the Grounds Around Your A/C Unit

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Many people leave the land around an outdoor air conditioning component bare, with the only greenery being the lawn. This may come from a mistaken idea that this is best for the unit, but that’s not so. If done properly, landscaping around the A/C unit can assist the unit’s performance. Here’s how to landscape the right way.

Provide Shade

Shading the outdoor cooling unit helps it run much more efficiently. The air in and around a shaded A/C is cooler and therefore the system has less work to do than it does when baking under the hot sun. This saves on energy costs and may extend the working life of the air conditioner.

Offer shade via trees or landscape architecture, such as arbors or trellises covered with climbing ivy or similar plants. Just make sure there’s plenty of clearance above to allow for A/C maintenance visits and proper functioning. Plants should be kept three feet away on all sides to allow plenty of room to service the unit when necessary.

Keep the Space Clean and Clear

When choosing plants to add near the outdoor cooling component, don’t use trees or bushes that lose their foliage. The space directly around the A/C needs to be free of debris. Otherwise, this debris can blow into the unit. Planting anything that loses its leaves every fall or drops needles will just cause headaches and extra work.

When doing the actual planting, be careful not to cast dirt toward the air conditioning unit. You don’t want the unit sucking this up. When you’re finished planting, relocate any loose soil or plant debris far away.

Be Mindful of Airflow

Avoid planting thick hedges placed tightly together around the unit. Good airflow to your A/C is essential for optimal operation.

Consider Plants as a Security Feature

Rising copper prices have left A/C units vulnerable to damage and theft from thieves who seek the copper inside. Large hedges that block view of the A/C from the street are one security option.

Easy Summer Plumbing Tips

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The heat is on!  Summer’s rising temperatures often coincide with an increase of water usage, both indoors and outdoors.  It’s estimated that a family’s water usage can increase by 25%-50% during the warmest months of the year.  We are always looking for ways to save some money, so these helpful tips will give your plumbing and water bill a little break:

If you’re vacationing away from your home for several days, turn down your water heater to save energy.  It’s also important to know that the average life of a water heater is anywhere from 8-11 years old.  If you don’t know the age of your system, check the last four digits of the serial number on the tank.  This will show you the month and year it was manufactured.

Another great way to save money and energy while on your vacation is to turn up the temperature of your refrigerator. But if you do turn up your fridge make sure you remove highly perishable foods, like dairy, produce, and meat first.

Make sure to check your ductwork for condensation. This can cause a backup if the drains are not clear. Leaks inseams can also cause condensation. If you notice problems call us today!

Summertime means entertaining family and friends with cookouts and get-togethers, which mean lots of food that could end up in your disposal

  • So be careful what you put down your kitchen disposal after your cookout. Most are not equipped to handle cornhusks, celery, banana peels and other fibrous or “stringy” foods. Some other items to stay away from are fats or cooking oils because they form clogs in the pipes.
  • Make sure you Run cold water at full pressure for 15 seconds before and after you put anything down the disposal to flush it through.
  • And NEVER put instant stuffing, potato mixes or similar “just-add-water” foods down the drain—they’ll create an instant clog when you add water. Pasta, rice, and eggshells should also be avoided.

Does it seem like summer laundry never ends?  Make sure you give your washing machine a break and visually inspect the machine and hoses for bulges, leaks, and cracks. The lifetime of a rubber washing machine hose should be replaced approximately every 3 years. Also, be sure to clean out your dryer lint regularly.

Consider replacing some of your older appliances such as your showerheads, faucets, and toilets with EPA WaterSense products. Click here to see how much you can save annually on your water bill!

Water your lawn at the right time!  It’s suggested that the best time to water lawns and landscapes is in the early morning and evening after the sun goes down.  If you decide to tend to your lawn in the middle of the day, that water can be lost due to evaporation from the heat throughout the day.

Do you have trees planted in your front lawn? Any kind of tree growth can cause roots to make their way to your sewer line in search of water.  If you suspect any damage (ie: sewage backups in your lowest level), give us a call to check your lines.

As it goes every season the best defense to ensuring your plumbing systems are running properly is to schedule annual maintenance inspections and keep on top of your systems before it’s too late, or when you need them most.

Top 10 Reasons You Need to Replace Your HVAC System

There will come a time when you need to replace your HVAC system so we put together a guide to give you an idea when it’s time to contact a professional HVAC company.

If you don't think your HVAC system can make it through another summer call us today at 731-668-7492 to schedule your FREE ESTIMATE and see how you can qualified for 0% financing for 60 months on new unit installations.

5 Steps To Take To Prepare Your HVAC System For Summer

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Summer is less than a month away. It’s heating up outside and pretty soon you’ll be turning on your air conditioner to full blast. In order to be well prepared for high temperatures, here are 5 steps you can take to prepare your HVAC system for summer:

General HVAC Maintenance
Replace the filter. A dusty filter means your system works harder, cools less and costs more. When you do replace it, decide whether an inexpensive one you need to change every month is a better deal than one of those expensive anti-pollen, anti-cat dander, anti-everything filters you only need to change once every three months. Put a note on your refrigerator as a reminder.

Use a hose to wash away the dust, dead weeds, twigs and the general detritus that blew onto the outside condenser unit during those wild winter storms. Those clogged fins will cost you money.

Check that the duct outlets are open in the rooms you spend a lot of time in, and closed in rooms you don’t need to keep as cool. Why cool the guest bedroom, every day, if you only have guests eating you out of house and home at Thanksgiving?

Check the thermostat to make sure it cycles on and off according to the temperature setting.

Now Get Serious
There are some jobs you cannot do, so call in a professional. Let’s go through them, so you are clear about what you want the professionals to do. It is too easy to pick up the phone and call in the cheapest, fastest or nearest AC repair company. When you understand just enough to ask the right questions, you get the right professional.

The Thermostat
If it’s an older model, it may be dusty, or the internal wiring may be poor. Ask how they will clean and test it. Tell them how old it is, and see if they suggest replacing it with a programmable unit.

Test and Deep Clean
Your professional should test temperature differences at different locations, so ask what, where and why. They should check out and clean the air handler, the drain, and the drip tray. They should make sure your condenser is fully functional, and there is enough Freon, or a more modern coolant, to keep everything working efficiently.

Air Duct Cleaning
Older homes collect dust. Older AC ducts store it. Few things reduce efficiency and raise costs more than dirty ducts. Ask how they test for dust build-up, and how they will do the air duct cleaning if it’s needed. We don't do air duct cleaning, but we can put you in contact with our most trustworthy person. 

We hope you found these tips helpful. Contact McCoy's Heating & Air at 731-668-7492 if you have any questions.

6 Summer Plumbing Problems (and How to Avoid Them)

Summer is for fun—travel, entertaining, relaxing and recharging for the busy fall ahead. Don't let summer plumbing problems spoil your down time! Here are six common (and preventable) situations to watch out for, so you can avoid seeing us this season.

Outdoor fun = indoor mess.

Whether your summer fun involves sand and surf, hiking trails or ATVs, it’s a good bet that it comes with an extra dose of dirt at the end of the day. When you're washing up after your adventures, make sure you keep the worst of it out of your drains. They weren't designed to handle large amounts of sand, gravel, and mud, and could become clogged or damaged.

Instead, hose yourself—and any kids or pets you took with you—off outside and knock the debris from clothes you plan to place in the washing machine. Your drains will thank you!

Some summer foods don't agree with your garbage disposal.

Your garbage disposal works hard year-round, but summer can pose some additional challenges for this tireless tool.

  • Taking advantage of summer fruits and vegetables? Fibrous parts, like corn husks and cobs, celery strings, banana peels and artichokes can jam up your disposal. Hard seeds and pits, including popcorn kernels, can also be a hazard.
  • Grilling out? Be sure guests know not to put bones or fat down your garbage disposal, if you want to keep it running its best.

Summer is your sprinkler system's busiest season.

If you had your sprinkler system inspected this spring, after winter’s disuse, you’re a step ahead in keeping it in working order throughout the summer. But, there are still a few things to look out for:

  • Watch where you’re mowing. Aboveground sprinkler heads are easily damaged by mower blades (and vice versa).
  • Prevent pet damage. Tubing and other interesting bits of plastic may be tempting chew toys!

Is Spot a summer shedder?

Some dogs (and most cats) shed all year, while others grow a bulky winter coat that sheds in late spring/early summer. Whatever your breed’s schedule, you’ll want to prevent all that hair from clogging your pipes and causing backups.

  • Brush your pet regularly to reduce the amount of hair that hitches a ride on your clothes and linens and into your washing machine—or into your tub drain during the next bath.
  • Avoid bathing a pet in the bathtub if you can. If you can't, make sure to trap fur and debris before it goes down the drain. There are devices on the market that can help with this.
  • Pre-rinse especially dirty pets. A fur coat can pick up a lot of gravel, sand, and mud!

Make sure your travel plans include time for plumbing prep.

If you have summer travel planned, make sure your home is ready for it—especially if you're going to be away for weeks (or, lucky you) months at a time.

  • Arrange to have a trusted friend or neighbor check in on your house and make sure everything is ok. Even an absence of a couple of days could lead to a big and costly mess if a leak goes undetected.
  • Check your water-using appliances for loose or cracked hoses, leaks or other malfunctions.
  • Turn your water heater down to its low, pilot or vacation setting. No need to waste energy heating water that won't be used!
  • If you’ll be away for an extended amount of time, consider turning off your water main and hot water heater and draining your pipes and tank.
  • Empty the dishwasher and washing machine and leave them open to air. While you're at it, make sure your garbage disposal and plumbing traps are clean. That way, you won't be coming home to musty, unpleasant odors.
  • Make sure all indoor and outdoor taps are completely off.
  • If your irrigation system is on a schedule, make sure it will run as desired while you're away.

When it rains, it pours—into your basement.

Heavy summer rainfall can overwhelm your gutters and other drainages. If basement flooding is a problem in your home, there are a couple of things you can do to mitigate the damage.

  • Install a sump pump to collect and dispel any water that collects in your basement. If you already have one, make sure it’s in good condition.
  • Keep your gutters, downspouts and other drainage systems clear of debris.
  • Consider having a professional look at your property's grading. You may need to shift some earth or add more drainage to keep water away from your foundation.

We hope these tips will help you avoid common summer plumbing problems, but if you do need service or repair, we’re just a phone call away: 731-668-7492!

Best Time to Buy a New HVAC System

Your air conditioner is a vital part of your West Tennessee home during the summer, but it's also a big investment. Of course, you want to get the most for your money, which is why you should buy a new air conditioner when you can get the best deal. If you plan well, you can get a good price on a new HVAC system.

Right Before Summer

Although you probably won't find the lowest prices on HVAC systems during the summer, if your system is old, it might be worth the additional cost to install early in the season. If your technician sees a major issue during your preventive maintenance check, you don't want to go through the summer wondering if your system will last. Also, when your system is old or inefficient, you will likely see a spike in your utility bills. While the initial costs of a preseason installation might not be ideal for your budget, it could save you a lot of money over the course of the summer.

End of Summer

While it may seem counterintuitive to buy a new system after you need it, there are significant savings involved if you buy a new system after summer. Just like stores have massive after-Christmas sales, many HVAC companies and manufacturers offer sales and rebates on units and installation after peak season. If you can stand to wait out the summer without upgrading your system, you could see some significant savings on a new unit.

Shoulder Months

During the winter, HVAC companies are busy repairing and replacing furnaces and heat pumps, and during summer, is the peak season for air conditioners. The shoulder months of these seasons when the weather is milder tend to be a slow time for HVAC companies. Consider shopping during these shoulder months when you may find specials on installations.

If it's time to upgrade your HVAC system, we are the experts you need to call. Contact McCoy's Heating & Air at 731-668-7492 to speak with an experienced professional today. We are currently offering 0% FINANCING FOR 60 MONTHS on New Unit Installations. The offer will expire on June 15, 2018.

Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home

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Disaster preparedness is a big part of home ownership, so we do our part to prevent damage from storms, fires, and floods. But mold is the homeowner’s nightmare you might never see coming. It slowly, subtly, and sneakily spreads anywhere in your home where there’s moisture or humidity. And once it starts growing, it can destroy anything and everything in its path — from carpets to wallpaper to bath-ware to wood, and much, much more.

So what can you do to make sure mold doesn’t take a hold of your home? Read on to find out.

In the bathroom…

With plenty of wet, slippery surfaces, the bathroom is easily the room at the highest risk of mold. But how do you prevent a mold problem in the dampest room in the house? Start by looking for signs of trouble. While some mildew may be normal in places that regularly accumulate water, such the corner of your shower — mold growth on walls, floors or countertops is a clear sign of trouble. The first thing you should do to prevent this from occurring or worsening is finding and fixing any plumbing leaks , such as dripping faucets or trickling pipes that add unnecessary moisture to the air. Remove and launder wet towels after right after you use them, and wash or replace your shower curtain frequently.

You should also be proactive about pinpointing the trouble spots you can’t see. Seal your grout and calk lines with a waterproof sealer every year to prevent mold from growing underneath them. And use moisture- and microbe-resistant materials in your bathroom decor, including the rugs, paint and flooring.

Lastly, invite as much ventilation into your bathroom as possible. Leave the door open to let moisture out after showering (or while you're showering, if that's an option). And consider making an investment in an exhaust fan, if you don’t already have one. If your bathroom fan isn’t effectively ventilating, a larger one should probably be installed.

And last but not least, don’t forget to clean regularly! It’s always best to nip mold and mildew in the bud before they gain a foothold. But the bathroom isn’t the only room at risk. So what about the rest of the house?

In the kitchen…

Much like the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the wettest rooms in the house. One of the easiest ways to prevent mold growth in the kitchen is to stop old food from piling up. That means getting rid of the forgotten leftovers in the back of your fridge as well as cleaning the dirty dishes mounting in your sink. You should also show special attention to your microwave and stove, which see more than their fair share of spills and splatters that invite mold growth. And most importantly, keep your kitchen dry! Run water on low whenever you washing or rinsing, and avoid splashing water around. If water does spill, make sure you wipe it up immediately before your countertops are able to absorb any of it.

In the bedroom…

While the bedroom seems like an unlikely place for mold to grow, it also presents a number of risks for mold growth, specifically on your mattress. And again, the key to prevention is keeping your mattress clean and dry, despite constant contact with sweat, skin and germs. How? Start by vacuuming the mattress thoroughly with its hose every couple months (and don’t forget to vacuum the bottom side as well). If your bedroom has a ceiling fan, then use it regularly to control humidity. Change your sheets regularly, and invest in a mold-resistant or waterproof mattress cover. If you’re in the market for a new bed, consider a slatted bed frame that allows air to escape — and skip the box spring if possible.

In your indoor air…

Did you know that mold spores that are invisible to the eye can circulate throughout your indoor air? Scheduling regular HVAC cleaning is the first step to prevent spores from spreading. But there are other steps you can take to maintain excellent indoor air quality. McCoy's Heating & Air offers a range of services and products that can help reduce the number of toxins in your air. Give us a call today at 668-7492 to discuss reducing the number of toxins in your home.

15 SIMPLE PLUMBING TIPS TO HELP YOU SAVE MONEY

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Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to do some “Spring Cleaning” for your home’s pipe and drainage systems. Here are 15 quick and simple Spring Plumbing Tips to protect your home against plumbing problems:

  1. Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  2. Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, the color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes
  3. Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap, and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  4. Inspect toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  5. Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
  6. Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill.
  7. Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  8. Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. A great Spring Plumbing Tip.
  9. Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient
  10. Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  11. Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  12. If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  13. Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups
  14. Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  15. Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

This list of Spring Plumbing Tips is just a handful of the useful services and solutions that McCoy's Heating & Air can provide your home this spring. If you are interested in the full rundown of our plumbing services you can schedule a service maintenance of your plumbing and drain systems by calling us!

6 Signs it's Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

As a homeowner, one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make about your air conditioner is when it’s time for a new unit. Although a new air conditioner can be a big investment, so can the costs of continuing to repair and operate an old, inefficient unit. So how are you supposed to know when it’s time to replace your air conditioner? The six tell-tale signs we’ve listed below are sure to help you make your decision!

6 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner

  1. Air conditioner is more than 10 years old. In general, you can expect a well-maintained air conditioner to last about 15 years. However, if you’re in need of expensive repairs and your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it will often make more sense to replace it. This is especially true when you consider the advancements in efficiency we’ve seen with air conditioners in the past decade alone.
  2. Air conditioner is inefficient. If your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it can cost you a lot of money to operate it. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is below 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit.
  3. You’re facing expensive repairs. Any time you’re facing an expensive repair, you’ll want to weigh the costs of the repair against the costs of a new unit. If the cost of the repair would cover a large part of a new system, and especially if your air conditioner is showing any of the other signs in this list, it will likely make more financial sense to replace it.
  4. Frequent breakdowns. Does it seem like your air conditioner is constantly breaking down? Are you calling Hyde’s every month because of a new problem with your unit? These repair costs can really add up, and it doesn’t make sense to keep making them on older units. Save yourself the headaches and the money by investing in a new unit.
  5. Air conditioner uses R 22 Freon. Freon is being phased out by the federal government in order to conserve energy nationwide. As a result, the costs of Freon are rising exponentially. If your air conditioner uses Freon, you’ll have to replace it eventually in order to switch over to the new refrigerant (R410A). If you’re having major problems with your air conditioner, especially if they involve the need for more Freon, it’s probably a good time to replace your unit.
  6. Your home isn’t comfortable. Do you have a hard time keeping your home cool? This could be the sign of an aging air conditioner or even an incorrectly sized system. Regardless of the cause, you want your air conditioner to do its job! If it’s not going to keep your home cool, you’ll want to replace it with a unit that will.

If you have any questions about when to replace your air conditioner, or if you’d like an estimate for your new air conditioner for your home, contact McCoy's Heating & Air at 731-668-7492 to schedule your FREE ESTIMATE. Plus right now we are offering 0% interest for 60 months on new unit installations.

Why Smart Homeowners Get A/C Cleaning in April

The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck without a working A/C unit once Summer rolls around.

And everyone wants to save money—especially when it comes to air conditioning.

So, we’ll let you in on a little secret: If you schedule your A/C cleaning in April, you’ll stay comfortable AND save money this summer.

That’s because of these 4 main reasons:

  1. Cleaning help prevent breakdowns
  2. Cleaning lower your monthly energy bill
  3. Annual cleaning increases the life of your A/C unit
  4. Getting a cleaning now saves you the scheduling hassle in the summer

Let’s look at those reasons in more detail:

#1: Check-ups prevent breakdowns

  • A smart homeowner will schedule their A/C cleaning in April to prevent breakdowns in the summer. Summer temperatures can often exceed 100°, you don’t want to be without a working air conditioner!
  • When a trained technician inspects your system, he can catch serious problems before they cause your system to break down.
  • Some of these common air conditioner problems include refrigerant leaks, dirty coils, sensor problems and electric control failure.  
  • And in addition to keeping you comfortable, a serviced air conditioner can also save you money on your energy bills...

  #2: Check-ups lower your monthly energy bill

  • An annual cleaning can lower your monthly energy bill by 15%. A smart homeowner will schedule a cleaning in April, before the cooling season hits in full swing, to maximize their energy savings.
  • Air conditioners are made up of parts—like coils, evaporators, and filters—that become clogged and dirty over time. During a cleaning, these parts are cleaned (and replaced, if necessary) so that your whole A/C system can run efficiently.
  • Regular maintenance makes your system more energy-efficient, but it also extends the life of your system, which saves you money in the long run...

#3: Annual cleaning increase the life of your A/C unit

  • Smart homeowners want their air conditioner to last as long as possible, so they schedule their annual cleaning in the spring (before the heavy cooling season hits) and again in the fall (before the heavy heating season starts).
  • An annual cleaning can extend the life of an A/C unit by several years. Think of it like car maintenance: if you change the oil and rotate the tires, your car will perform better and last longer.
  • And since an air conditioner is an expensive home investment, you want to get your money’s worth out of your existing A/C unit.
  • Most regularly maintained air conditioners last anywhere from 10–15 years, but neglected ones sometimes last only 7–8 years.

#4: Getting a cleaning now saves you the scheduling hassle in the summer

  • Smart homeowners will schedule their cleaning in April so they don’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts in the summer.
  • Summer is the busiest time of year for air conditioning contractors because more people need their A/Cs repaired or upgraded, so their work schedules fill up fast.
  • Because the homeowner needs to be home during the cleaning, we recommend scheduling now to avoid any scheduling hassles in the summer. That way, you won’t run the risk of not having a working A/C when you need it most.

RIGHT NOW during the month of April, we are offering one-time seasonal cleaning for only $90, regularly $149, for one unit. Each additional unit is an additional cost. You just have to call 731-668-7492 before the end of April for the promotional price. 

Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Spring

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April showers bring May flowers and the onset of spring, which means it's time for "spring cleaning." McCoy's Heating & Air offers these maintenance tips to protect your home against plumbing problems.

Kitchen/Bathrooms

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  • Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap, and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, the color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Inspect tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  • Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They're inexpensive and you'll notice a lower water bill.
  • Clean mineral deposits from the shower head. Unscrew it and soak in vinegar or fill a plastic baggie with vinegar; place it over the shower head and hold in place with a rubber band. Soak overnight then remove and gently scrub with an old toothbrush to remove deposits.

Appliances

  • Make sure flammables are not stored near the water heater or furnace.
  • Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  • Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. Check your water heater manufacturer 's website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15-year-old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient.
  • Check dishwasher, washing machine and ice maker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or older than ten years. Use stainless steel hoses wherever possible. They are more reliable and less prone to bursting than other types.
  • Clean out washing machine lint trap, if equipped, and place a wire trap or a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the washer.

General

  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  • Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes backup into homes. This device will prevent future backups.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter before bedtime. The next morning, without using any water overnight, take another reading. If the reading has changed you have a leak that should be repaired.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.

Outside

  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

When Spring Cleaning, Don’t Forget Your HVAC Unit

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As the weather warms and the world turns green once again, many of us are inspired to tackle some spring cleaning. Freshening up the interior and exterior of a home can make a world of difference, and there is no better motivating factor than the sense of renewal that spring engenders. When making your list of spring cleaning tasks, be sure to remember to give your HVAC unit a seasonal maintenance check.

Your HVAC unit is one of the most underappreciated components of your home. It plugs along all year, keeping your family and home comfortable. Unfortunately, many people fail to give their HVAC unit any attention unless there is a problem. By taking the time to do a seasonal maintenance check, it is possible to extend the life of the unit and avoid costly repair bills. 

Filters

The first step is to check the system’s filter(s). Different systems have different filters, and the replacement schedule can vary widely. That said, there are few among us who check and replace our HVAC filters as frequently as we should. Many systems use fiberglass filters which can simply be replaced, and spring is a good time to ensure that you have a supply of these filters on hand. Other systems have a HEPA filter, which can be cleaned with a standard vacuum cleaner hose. Cleaning the filter helps to keep pollutants, dust, and other particles out of your HVAC equipment, and out of the air that your family breathes.

External Unit

Next, step outside and check the area surrounding your external HVAC unit. The unit and the base upon which it stands should be free of any debris. If leaves or other forms of debris have accumulated around the unit, use a rake or leaf blower to clear the entire area. If debris has fallen onto the unit from the roof, check to ensure that the gutters are working properly, and take any steps needed to direct the flow of water and roof debris away from the HVAC unit.

Condenser Fan/Coils

Begin by turning off the power supply that runs your HVAC unit. Inspect the unit itself, and look for any buildup of dirt on the fan blades or the condenser coils. If there is visible dirt or grime on the fan, remove the external cover and gently clean the blades of the fan. Never attempt to repair bent or damaged fan blades; they must be replaced. Bending a fan blade could result in an improperly balanced fan, which can damage the fan motor or come into contact with the condenser.

Next, inspect the condenser coils for bent fins. These tiny metal fins can be easily damaged by debris that is thrown from a lawnmower, accidental impact during yard work or even careless weedeating. Pressure washing is one of the most common ways that fins become damaged. If a large number of fins are bent, the unit cannot properly “breathe.” If they have become dirty or clogged, it is possible to clean them with a special fin comb. If the fins are simply dirty, they can be cleaned using coil cleaner and a water hose.

These basic HVAC spring cleaning tips can help homeowners ensure that their unit is in optimal condition for the upcoming cooling season. By taking the time to inspect and clean filters, fans, condensers, and the external unit as a whole, it is possible to avoid a wide range of costly repair needs, and to enjoy your system for many more years to come!

If you do not feel comfortable checking and cleaning your HVAC unit and filters give McCoy's Heating & Air a call at 731-668-7492 to schedule your spring cleaning. Right now we have a promotion for one-time spring cleaning for only $90, regularly $149, for one unit. Each additional unit is additional cost.

Spring Plumbing Tips

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Spring is a time when many homeowners engage in maintenance tasks like spring cleaning and home renovation. It’s also a good time for homeowners to check up on their plumbing system to protect their home from clogged drains, leaks and water damage. Keeping up with this basic maintenance on a yearly basis can help keep your home functional throughout the year.

Perform a Water Heater Check-Up

You may have turned up the temperature on your water heater when the weather got cold this last winter. As a general rule, professionals recommend keeping your home’s water heater set to 120 degrees. Turning your water heater higher than the recommended setting can result in scalding and may also cut back the service life of your water heater.

While you’re turning down the temp, check your water heater for signs of corrosion and leaks. Look for puddles, rust or soot around the control panel. If you see signs of distress, contact a plumber to get a second opinion.

Don’t forget that water heaters may only last around 10 years. If your water heater is an older unit, consider having your heater tuned up annually by a professional.

Watch for Water Leaks Associated with Sprinklers and Outdoor Faucets

Outdoor pipes attached to sprinklers and faucets can easily freeze and break over the winter. When temperatures outside have thawed, watch your outdoor pipes for signs of water leaks. If you notice a water leak in your home the first time you turn on your hose or other faucets, this could be a sign that one of your pipes froze and broke over the winter.

Turn the Water Valves

Water valves can get hard to turn over time. Once annually, turn off the water valves in your home, then turn them back on just to keep the parts from becoming sticky.

Check Under Sinks and Supply Hoses

Take a look at your sinks and check the supply hoses that run to your dishwasher, clothes washer and other water-using appliances. Look for moisture, puddles, rust, corrosion and other warning signs of a leak.

Drain the Sediment from Your Water Heater

Sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, which reduces the efficiency of the unit. Draining your water heater every year can extend the life of the appliance. 

This chore make take an hour or two, depending on the water heater and whether or not you’ve done it in the past. If you’re not comfortable draining the water heater yourself, get a professional plumber.

Test the Toilets for Leaks

You can test your toilet for leaks by putting food coloring into the tank of your toilet. If the water in the bowl turns the color of the food dye within a half an hour, this is a sign that your toilet has a leak. Replacing the parts in the toilet tank will save you water and money this year.

Clean Gutters and Down Spouts

After a long fall and winter, your gutters and downspouts may be full of pine needles, leaves, twigs and other debris. Clean out your gutters and use a plumber’s auger to clear out your home’s downspouts. This will prevent leaks in your home and prevent water damage during spring showers.

Why you should start your spring cleaning with an HVAC maintenance

Spring cleaning can become an overwhelming chain of tasks, especially when you would rather be outside, enjoying the beautiful weather. An early start is important, and one of the first areas to consider is one that is commonly neglected by homeowners. In fact, many don’t realize that HVAC maintenance should be an annual priority. However, there are three major reasons to place AC and duct cleaning at the top of your list for the season.

1. Hidden Allergens

What you don’t see could hurt you. If you are sensitive to mold, dust or other airborne materials, then you may be surprised to discover that they may be hiding in your HVAC equipment. Your air filter plays a minor role in trapping these materials, but particles still make their way past it. As they settle on the coils in your air handling unit, they combine with moisture in the area. A layer of grime can develop, and it will take more than a feather duster to get rid of it. This is a prime breeding spot for mold and bacteria and left untouched, this dirt can continue to contaminate your air supply summer after summer.

Some airborne particles continue along to your ducts. If you’ve never had duct cleaning performed on your system, you can expect equally dirty conditions. Additionally, ducts can provide harbor to insects, dust mites and rodents when your central heating and cooling system isn’t in use. Dander, droppings and dead insects may be contaminating your air supply, as well. While annual duct service may not be essential, you should consult with your HVAC contractor to establish a maintenance plan based on your home’s unique needs.

2. Hidden Costs

Some homeowners view HVAC maintenance as a needless expense. Those who can afford to spend 50% or more extra on cooling costs may not care. However, budget-minded consumers should note that various elements of this spring cleaning task can contribute to better system performance, resulting in more controlled energy costs.

The layer on your indoor coils and dirt on your outside coils can represent approximately 30% of a cooling bill in an extreme case. Blockages and leaks in your ducts can add 20% or more to your energy usage. The low refrigerant may result in another 20% or more in cooling energy required to keep your home comfortable. You can’t afford to ignore these priority areas included in seasonal maintenance service.

3. Preparedness

Summer weather may be a distant consideration as you begin your spring cleaning. However, it won’t be long before you’re relying on your HVAC system to provide around-the-clock cooling. Preventive care allows issues to be diagnosed before they become serious. While you won’t avoid all potential breakdowns, you can reduce your potential for a malfunction by more than 90%. Additionally, your contractor can help you in planning ahead for an eventual system replacement.

The professionals at McCoy's Heating & Air are available to assist in addressing spring cleaning of your AC equipment. You can contact our customer service representatives at 731-668-7492 to schedule a spring cleaning.

Right now we have 1 unit spring cleaning promotion for $50. Regularly $89. Each additional unit is an additional charge. Call today to schedule your spring cleaning!

Pre-Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring cleaning is a given, but what about pre-spring cleaning? Learn what areas of your home need some TLC before spring arrives.

We’ve all heard about spring cleaning, but what about pre-spring cleaning? There are tons of areas in and around your home that might need some TLC before spring arrives. Make sure you are prepared for the warmer months with this pre-spring cleaning checklist! Here is a list of the most important areas to prep before spring is here:

1. Gutters and Roof

It’s not uncommon for snow or ice to do some damage to your gutters and roof. We recommend getting up there to check for any loose tiles/shingles or noticeable issues that might have been caused by winds or harsh weather. It is also a good idea to clean up any sticks, leaves or debris for the overall health of your roof and gutters.

2. Windows and Doors

Now is a good time to look for any leaks in your windows or doors; your weather-stripping may need to be replaced if you see any holes or gaps. This will significantly help with your AC bill in the warmer months! While you’re at it, inspect any window screens for holes bigger than a dime -- it might be time to replace it.

3. Landscaping

If you have a sprinkler system, inspect all valves, lines and sprinkler heads. If anything looks questionable, now is the time to fix it. It might also be helpful to check your outside hose faucets and pipes to ensure nothing is cracked from freeze damage. Lastly, if you have any outdoor lighting, check to see if the sensors are still working properly and look for any bulbs that may need to be replaced. 

4. HVAC Unit

Did you know that servicing your HVAC unit on a regular basis can help its’ overall efficiency and lifespan? Take a few minutes to service your HVAC unit. Clear any debris that may be on or surrounding your unit, and change your air filters. Spend some time making sure that the coils are clean and the fins are straightened out. Our air conditioning maintenance checklist blog should help with more detailed instructions and recommendations.

5. Fire Safety

Test all of your smoke detectors around the house. You might need to replace batteries, then test the alarm to make sure everything is working correctly. Now is a great time to make sure you have a fire extinguisher that works, too.

See these tips on spring home maintenance visually!

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4 Reasons to Love Your HVAC System

Valentine’s Day is all about showing love to those who are always there for you, who never let you down and who can always make you feel better after a long, hard day. Sound like anyone you know? What about your home’s HVAC system?

Here are some reasons why you should show some love to your HVAC system this holiday…

Keeps You Comfortable

Imagine living through a bitterly cold blizzard or scorching hot heat wave without your beloved furnace or AC. How awful would that be! Thankfully, you are able to stay nice and toasty during the winter and fresh and cool during the summer in your climate-controlled home. A comfortable temperature in your home definitely creates a more productive and pleasant environment to live in.

Makes You Smell Good

Thank your air conditioner for preventing you from sweating profusely and making sure you stay dry and feeling fresh on those sweltering summer days. Bonus – by guaranteeing you aren’t drowning in a pool of your own perspiration, you are also lowering your risk of dehydration.

Saves Your Life (In More Drastic Conditions)

Summer temperatures in the south can soar to well over 100 degrees, and in northern areas winter temps can drop below zero. An air conditioner stops you from passing out in high temperatures, while a furnace or heater makes sure you don’t end up with frostbite or hypothermia.

Maintains Your Health

Your HVAC system can reduce the number of allergens, dust, and pollen in the air and improve the overall air quality in your home. Without the filters in your HVAC system, your allergies may be more severe, and sicknesses and germs can linger in the air longer. Your HVAC system provides you with clean, healthy, filtered air.

Basically, your HVAC works for you day and night. Have you ever known anything to be more dedicated to your wellbeing or more deserving of love and admiration? Well, yes, your significant other for sure, but your HVAC system comes in a close second place. Make sure you return your HVAC system’s kindness with continued maintenance and annual check-ups!

Happy Valentine’s Day from the McCoy's Heating & Air Conditioning team, and always let us know how we can make your life more comfortable!

Valentine’s Day Heating Tips

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What’s worse than coming home to a frigid house or apartment after a nice night out? Not much if you ask us – and not to mention, a cold place won’t impress your date! Follow the tips below to keep your sweetheart warm this Valentine’s Day!

Curtains: Open or Closed?

During the daytime, it’s important to keep your curtains or shades open. This will allow sunlight to enter and heat your home naturally. Close them at night to reduce the chill. You can also add tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades to your windows to improve energy efficiency.

The Lower The Better

When you are home, set the thermostat to the lowest temperature without sacrificing too much comfort. When you go to sleep or leave the house, turn it down 10 to 15 degrees. This proactive measure can save you around 10% per year on your heating bills.

Maintain Your Heating System

We can’t stress the importance of maintenance enough! Clean or replace your furnace’s filter once a month and make sure it is kept clean. If you haven’t done so already, schedule an appointment with McCoy's Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll come by to make sure your system is operating at peak performance.

McCoy's Heating & Air Conditioning is your go-to choice for protecting your family’s safety and your home’s comfort. Need service or repairs? Give us a call at (731)  668-7492. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter. When you do, you’ll have all of the heating tips you’ll need to get you through the winter!

Plumbing Tips for Valentine's Day

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With Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, now is the perfect time to show your plumbing system some love. Here are a few maintenance tips from BlueFrog to help keep your plumbing system in good shape.

Home Plumbing Tips:

  1. Locate Your Water Shut Off Valve – Knowing where your main water shut off valve is located will help prevent water damage in an emergency. If you ever experience a plumbing leak, you will be able to quickly turn off the water to your home to prevent flooding and damage until our plumbing technicians arrive.
  2. Insulate Plumbing Pipes – Adding pipe insulation can help you prevent frozen pipes, especially in cold parts of your house like the garage, basement and crawl space.
  3. Correct Small Leaks – If you notice a leak, don’t let it go uncorrected. Even a small leak can make pipes corrode more quickly. This can lead to water damage and mold.

If you experience any plumbing problems, give us a call. Our professional plumbing technicians can help you get your bathroom back up and running. Call us today at 668-7492!

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6 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

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As a homeowner, one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make about your air conditioner is when it’s time for a new unit. Although a new air conditioner can be a big investment, so can the costs of continuing to repair and operate an old, inefficient unit. So how are you supposed to know when it’s time to replace your air conditioner? The six tell-tale signs we’ve listed below are sure to help you make your decision!

6 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner

1. Air conditioner is more than 10 years old. In general, you can expect a well-maintained air conditioner to last about 15 years. However, if you’re in need of expensive repairs and your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it will often make more sense to replace it. This is especially true when you consider the advancements in efficiency we’ve seen with air conditioners in the past decade alone.

2. Air conditioner is inefficient. If your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it can cost you a lot of money to operate it. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is below 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit.

3. You’re facing expensive repairs. Any time you’re facing an expensive repair, you’ll want to weigh the costs of the repair against the costs of a new unit. If the cost of the repair would cover a large part of a new system, and especially if your air conditioner is showing any of the other signs in this list, it will likely make more financial sense to replace it.

4. Frequent breakdowns. Does it seem like your air conditioner is constantly breaking down? Are you calling Hyde’s every month because of a new problem with your unit? These repair costs can really add up, and it doesn’t make sense to keep making them on older units. Save yourself the headaches and the money by investing in a new unit.

5. Air conditioner uses R 22 Freon. Freon is being phased out by the federal government in order to conserve energy nationwide. As a result, the costs of Freon are rising exponentially. If your air conditioner uses Freon, you’ll have to replace it eventually in order to switch over to the new refrigerant (R410A). If you’re having major problems with your air conditioner, especially if they involve the need for more Freon, it’s probably a good time to replace your unit.

6. Your home isn’t comfortable. Do you have a hard time keeping your home cool? This could be the sign of an aging air conditioner or even an incorrectly sized system. Regardless of the cause, you want your air conditioner to do its job! If it’s not going to keep your home cool, you’ll want to replace it with a unit that will.

If you have any questions about when to replace your air conditioner, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact McCoy's Heating & Air at 731-668-7492 or on the contact page. We have FREE estimate plus right now we are offering 18 months 0% interest new unit installations.