6 Signs of an Aging Plumbing System

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Old buildings are beautiful, but they are often riddled with infrastructure problems, such as aging pipes. By keeping an eye on signs of plumbing problems, you can fix the issue before it leads to expensive water damage.

There are miles of piping inside of our walls, floors, and ceilings, giving us access to clean water while taking away waste we don’t want. And they are working 24/7, even when we’re sleeping.

Unfortunately, we tend to forget about all the pipes inside and underneath our homes. But if they don’t receive adequate attention, you’ll soon be forced to take notice. Think wet spots, mold, low water pressure, and cracked and busted pipes.

Plumbing maintenance from a team of professionals can routinely assess your plumbing systems for any signs of premature failure, but it’s important to know how to recognize the signs of an aging or failing plumbing system yourself.

One small failure, such as a pipe leak, can permanently damage the foundation and original structure as well as valued possessions, such as art, musical instruments, and furniture. Six signs of an aging plumbing system in need of repair or replacement include:

1. Age and Type of Your Pipes

Different pipe materials have different lifespans. You can expect PVC and brass pipes to last 40 to 70 years, while copper pipes have an average lifespan of around 50 years. Galvanized steel pipes, on the other hand, have a life of about 20 to 50 years. Keep in mind that these are general estimates and depend on a variety of factors, such as the hardness of your water. 

2. Discolored Water 

The water that comes out of your pipes should be clear. If you notice any discoloration in your water, such as brown, yellow, green, or any other color, it could be coming from the city’s pipes or your home’s pipes. Speak with a professional plumber to learn the cause of your discolored water.

When pipes age, whether on the city side or the homeowner side, water can leech rust, sediment, and minerals from the pipes. Cloudy water can indicate excess air within the pipes. Yellow and brown water usually indicates rust, while green tints are caused by extension corrosion in copper pipes. If you notice green-colored water, contact a professional plumber right away — your pipes are in a serious state of degradation.

If you have a lot of scaling and mineral stains around your plumbing fixtures, you may have hard water that can be rectified with a water softener. If the discolored water turns out to be a problem on the city side, you can install a whole-house water filtration system to remove excess rust, sediment, and other contaminants.

If the problem turns out to be homegrown, you may need to replace your aging pipes with copper pipes, which don’t rust. Not only will this clear up your water, it will also prevent things like burst pipes before they cause extensive water damage to the home.

3. Discolored Pipes

Every once in a while, take a look at your exposed pipes to see if there are any signs of corrosion, rust, or flaking metal. If you see any signs of discoloration around your pipes, there could be a leak or something more serious. 

4. Soggy or Green Patches in the Yard

One sign of a sewer line leak is if you have a patch of yard that’s a lot greener than the surrounding areas. Leaking sewer lines can cause permanent soggy spots in the yard as well. Sometimes invasive tree roots cause these leaks, but often it’s the result of corrosion and degrading materials from old age.

If you suspect a leaking sewer line, contact a professional plumber right away to avoid any further damage.

5. Bubbling, Peeling Paint

If you start to notice the paint on your wall or ceiling bubbling and peeling, it’s almost always the result of moisture. This can come from a leaking roof or plumbing system. You may also notice brown spots, blistering, and discoloration. Contact a professional plumber right away to investigate the cause.

6. Rising Water Bills 

One way you can tell if you have a plumbing leak is if your water bill starts to rise without any obvious reason. Even small leaks can cause extensive damage. If you suspect a leak in your plumbing system, contact a professional to find the leak and fix it.

Aging plumbing systems should be replaced before problems develop. If you have any questions about the status of your plumbing system, contact McCoy’s Heating & Air for inspection, repairs, or replacement. We can use non-invasive technology, such as pipe bursting and epoxy coating to replace your pipes with hardly any disruption to your home or routine.

Don’t wait for a plumbing emergency  — contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert plumbers in the Jackson Tennessee area.

10 Areas Check When Maintaining Your Homes Plumbing System

When it comes to maintaining your home’s plumbing system, you don’t have to feel like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. There are ten areas you should check when you are maintaining your home’s plumbing system.

1. WATER LEAKS

Check for signs of water leaks around all exposed pipes, including under sinks, the water heater, central A/C unit and underneath your refrigerator.

2. WATER STAINS

Check for water stains on floors and walls where pipes run inside. Even small patches of water could indicate a bigger leak inside the wall. Also check for water stains on tub and shower gypsum, where the pipes are behind the tile.

3. LAUNDRY FLOOR

Check your laundry area floor. Water collected under your washer and dryer could indicate the appliance itself is leaking or overflowing, but it could indicate a bigger problem, such as a septic system blockage.

4. WATER QUALITY

Test your water. You’ll be able to find out if microbes are infiltrating your water supply, if your water is too hard, or if sediment is getting into your water.

5. CORROSION

Look for corrosion. Corrosion presents itself as pinholes in copper lines caused by acidic water, or green, yellow or orange stains on copper and brass pipes and fittings at connection joints and shutoff valves.

6. WATER PRESSURE

Check water pressure. Use a tool to make sure you’re getting the water pressure recommended for your system.

7. FAUCET HEADS

Unscrew faucet heads. Look for sediment in the filters and remove as necessary to ensure proper flow.

8. DRAINAGE

Monitor drainage. Slow drainage could indicate an obstructed pipe. Gurgling noises can either be a vent problem or a temporary clog.

9. FLUSHING

Check flushes. Toilets should flush smoothly. If not, consider when the last time you had your septic cleaned.

10. CRACKS

Look for cracks. Cracks in tile around sinks, tubs and showers allow water to slowly seep through. Fill with waterproof caulking or replace tile.

Maintaining your home’s plumbing system in Jackson, Tennessee areas isn’t too difficult, but repairs can be. If you discover a potential problem, don’t hesitate to call in the professionals at McCoy’s Heating & Air for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Ways to Increase Air Conditioner Efficiency

It sure is a relief to arrive to a cool and comfortable home when it's hot and sticky outside. Though, if you find yourself hot under the collar when you see high cooling bills, use these 10 ways to increase air conditioner efficiency and give your pocketbook some relief this summer.

Ceiling Fans

The wind-chill effect produced by ceiling fans can help you feel four to six degrees cooler. Set your fans so that airflow blows toward the floor, and turn up your thermostat a few degrees to reduce cooling costs.

Attic Ventilation

Mechanical ventilation helps remove heat and moisture from your attic space. Attic ventilation will substantially lower the temperature in upstairs bedrooms, reduce the cooling load and also help prevent ice dams on your roof during the heating months.

Duct Inspection

The federal Energy Star program states that the average home may increase air conditioner efficiency by up to 20 percent, and sometimes more, by sealing and insulating air ducts. Wrap metal tape around loose and leaky duct connections, and wrap fiberglass insulation around uninsulated ductwork.

Sealing and Insulation

Do you feel drafts near windows and doors? Silicone caulk and weatherstripping work wonders for blocking drafts, increasing air conditioner efficiency and your comfort. Use foam weatherstripping to seal your attic hatch. Check the insulation levels in your attic. If you can see the tops of the joists, add more fiberglass insulation rolls.

Air Filter

A dirty air filter makes your air conditioner work harder to circulate airflow. Filter obstructions can also cause ice accumulation on the evaporator. Check your filter each month during peak usage, and consider using a high-efficiency filter to increase air conditioner efficiency.

Maintenance

Schedule professional maintenance each spring season with your HVAC pro. Running system diagnostics and deep cleaning will help your air conditioner last longer and run more efficiently.

At McCoy’s Heating & Air, our goal is to help our customers in the West Tennessee area learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.

Improve Cooling Efficiency with Ceiling Fans

Having a central air conditioning system or window unit helps keep your home cool in summer, but the cost of running these can be high, especially during heat waves. You can lower your energy use and utility bills by putting your ceiling fans to use. These fans can provide you with improved cooling efficiency, even on the hottest summer days.

  • Use fans in occupied rooms only. Ceilings fans will keep you and your family cool, but they don’t actually lower the temperature in a room. Save energy by only running these fans in rooms that are occupied. Shut them off when you leave the room.

  • Run fans in a counterclockwise direction in summer. When it’s hot out, make sure your ceiling fans are running in this direction, which will produce a draft that helps you stay cool. When it’s cold out, you can run your fans in a clockwise direction to help push warm air down into the room.

  • Turn your thermostat up. Ceiling fans provide enough cooling efficiency to allow you to increase the temperature on your thermostat while still feeling comfortable. In fact, you should be able to turn your thermostat about 4 degrees higher in summer when you have ceiling fans running.

  • Choose fans with larger blades. If you’re having new ceiling fans installed, consider choosing fans with larger blades. These blades are able to cool you off more when fans are on a slower setting, since they’re big enough to move a larger amount of air around.

  • Switch to energy-efficient ceiling fans. If you have older ceiling fans, save energy by installing ones that are certified by the federal Energy Star program instead. These fans typically move air about 20 percent more efficiently than regular ceiling fans.

At McCoy’s Heating & Air Conditioning, our goal is to help our customers in the West Tennessee area learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.

How to Cut Cooling Costs without Sacrificing Comfort

This summer has been hot, muggy weather and high electric bills, and unfortunately it is not going away any time soon. As summer temperatures continue to break records, so do our energy bills. While there are many solutions for cutting cooling costs, most options are quite expensive. Not everyone can invest in solar panels, new energy-efficient appliances, and other fancy equipment. Keep in mind, however, that these energy-saving devices usually pay for themselves over the course of their lifespan. Luckily, you can significantly cut cooling costs by simply changing some habits and becoming more efficient.

USE FANS

According to the U.S. Energy Department, you can raise the thermostat 4 degrees without feeling a difference in comfort if you are in a room with a ceiling fan. In the winter, you can flip the black switch at its base to reverse the blades and push down warm air from the ceiling. Ceiling fans only cost about 2 cents per hour to run, much lower than what it costs to use your air conditioner. You can also use floor fans, table fans, window fans, and fans mounted to walls. The wind-chill effect makes us feel cooler without actually cooling the room, so make sure you turn off fans before leaving the room. Use bathroom exhaust fans when bathing or showering to help remove unwanted heat and humidity.

COOK AND RUN LARGE APPLIANCES DURING COOLER HOURS

Run your ovens, washers, dryers, dishwashers, and other heat-producing appliances during the cooler hours of the day. Consider cooking your meals ahead of time so you aren’t cooking as much in the daytime. Here are 50 cold food recipes for hot weather days. When cooking, use the range hood to clear the kitchen of heat and humidity.

USE A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT AND SET IT AS HIGH AS IS COMFORTABLE

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider investing in one. There are several different makes and models to choose from, but they all add the advantage of being able to automatically set the temperature for different days and times of the week. Learn how to use your programmable thermostat properly for maximum energy savings. According to the Energy Department, you can save around 10% a year on heating and cooling costs by simply setting your thermostat back 7°–10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. Just make sure that your thermostat isn’t near any heat sources, such as sunlight, lamps, and appliances. You may also be interested in smart thermostats and thermostats with Wi-Fi capabilities. These thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home using a smartphone or other internet-connected device. Consider upgrading some other things in your home, including light bulbs, locks, and homeowners insurance.

SEAL AIR LEAKS

Learn how to find air leaks around your doors, window, and where utilities enter the home. The three most common ways to find air leaks are: Visual inspection – look for visible holes, gaps, and cracks. Physical inspection – use a lit incense stick/smoke pencil, thin piece of toilet paper, or your hand to feel for drafts and air movement around suspected leaks. Energy audit – A certified technician will conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of your home’s energy use, examining each and every room as well as your past utility bills. A blower door test will pressurize the inside of the building in order reveal even the smallest of leaks. Additionally, thermographic scans and infrared photography can show exactly where you are losing the most energy. When you find an air leak, you can most likely seal it with caulk or weatherstripping. The most common air leaks can be found in your attic, basement, garage, and ductwork.

KEEP WINDOWS AND DRAPES CLOSED ON HOT, SUNNY DAYS

Use light colored blinds and drapes to reflect the sun’s rays away from your home. You may also want to buy window solar screens, which block up to 90% of the sun’s heat-producing rays. Another option for blocking solar rays is with operable window coverings, such as shades, blinds, curtains or shutters. Learn more about window treatments for energy savings.

MAINTAIN YOUR AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM

Make sure you are checking your air conditioning filter every 30 days and waiting no longer than 3 months to replace it. If you have an outdoor heat pump, clear away any dirt or debris that may have gathered around it and make sure there is a minimum 24-inch clearance around the entire unit. Periodically spray the outside unit with a garden hose (make sure the unit is turned off first), being careful not to bend any of the sensitive condenser fins. And don’t forget to schedule annual AC maintenance from a qualified technician. In addition to these 6 easy ways to cut your cooling costs, consider signing up for a home maintenance plan for twice-yearly HVAC cleaning, discounts on repairs, and much more. To learn more about the benefits of an HVAC maintenance plan, contact the experts at McCoy’s Heating & Air. We provide the best HVAC and plumbing services in the West Tennessee area since 1981.

On Or Auto: Which is the Better Thermostat Setting?

If you have ever wondered which is the better thermostat setting for the fan mode, you are probably not alone. Though, while not affecting indoor temperatures so much like "heat" and "cool" modes, the fan "on" and fan "auto" settings do impact indoor air quality, energy bills and more.

Thermostat Fan Settings

The fan setting controls the blower motor after "heat" and "cool" modes turn off. For example, if you have the fan mode in the "auto" position, the blower will turn off when "heat" and "cool" modes end. Or, if "heat" and "cool" modes are not on at all, the fan mode will be off, too.

If you have the fan mode in the "on" position, the blower will continue to run, circulating unconditioned air through your home, after "heat" and "cool" modes come to an end.

Choosing Fan Modes

Consider how the fan mode you choose affects indoor air quality, energy bills and more:

  • Indoor air quality: The "on" fan mode pulls airflow through the furnace filter when your furnace and A/C are off. This is beneficial if anyone in your home suffers respiratory ailments. Additionally, turn on the fan when you are house cleaning to help remove stirred-up dust from indoor air (i.e. when "heat" and "cool" are not on).

  • Comfort: During the heating months, the thermostat's "on" mode can help continually circulate indoor air more evenly. Though, this also depends on where your vents are located (i.e. wind-chill effect).

  • Energy efficiency: Continuous use of the HVAC blower is going to increase your energy bills. The better thermostat setting and alternative to circulating indoor air is to use ceiling fans. Reverse the switch on your ceiling fans so that airflow is pulled up toward the ceiling. Moreover, ceiling fans are quieter and use a fraction of electricity as your HVAC blower.

Do I Need to Replace My Indoor and Outdoor HVAC Unit At The Same Time?

Have you ever been told to replace both the outdoor heat pump unit and indoor unit, even though only one of them needs replacing. Did you also wonder why the technician suggested to replace both, and question is it really beneficial or just an up-sale?

The short answer is yes. You should replace your indoor air handler at the same time as your outdoor heat pump — or air conditioning unit if it’s that time of year. I know it seems like an extra, unnecessary expense, but let’s look at why:

It is a necessary evil to replace both, here’s why:

 1. Matched systems perform better: When outdoor ac units and heat pumps and air conditioning units are designed, they are built to work with a matched indoor unit. This matched system works in tandem to generate optimum efficiency and ideal system performance. Replacing an outdoor air conditioner unit without installing the matching indoor unit will work. However, you are jeopardizing the dependability of both the units and compromising your HVAC system’s efficiency, which may cost more in the long run.

2. Efficiency ratings are based on matched systems: When you purchase a new HVAC unit, the heating and cooling efficiency ratings are based on matched system performance. That means if you bought a heat pump with an 18 SEER rating to help you save money on monthly bills, you won’t realize the full potential of those savings without the matching air handler.

3. Technology has changed: Over the last 20 years, advances in residential HVAC technology have made outdoor and indoor HVAC units better than ever. When it comes to debris filtering, noise levels, and air handling performance, the units today simply outperform those installed in the past. Replacing both your indoor and outdoor units at the same time ensures that your HVAC system is running on the latest technology to make your home comfortable and your family healthy.

4. Replacing both now will save you money long-term: Like I mentioned above, a mixed system will result in poor efficiency, which will cost money on energy bills. But that isn’t the only money replacing just an outdoor unit will cost you. Since most systems are installed as pairs, your indoor unit is probably just as old as your outdoor unit. Additionally, if your heat pump or air conditioner is 10 years old, it’s time to replace it anyway. If you choose to replace only the outdoor ac unit, you’ll probably have to spend the money to replace the indoor unit shortly thereafter, and that means paying installation costs twice. Replacing both ensures you will have an efficient, dependable system for a longer period of time.

5. New units mean new warranties: Purchasing new HVAC equipment means a new manufacturer’s warranty and service guarantee when your equipment is installed. If you only replace your outdoor unit, your indoor unit’s warranty may expire before your outdoor unit’s. Additionally, some manufacturers may not extend full warranty coverage to an outdoor heat pump or air conditioner that is not attached to the matching indoor equipment. Replacing both the outdoor air conditioner unit or heat pump and the indoor unit allows you to breathe easy knowing that your entire HVAC system is covered for the same period of time. Right now we are offering FREE 10 years parts & labor warranty if you purchase a complete York system before August 31, 2019.

I know replacing just the outdoor unit might appear cheaper right now, but long term, it will only cost more money. Replacing both units at the same time may seem like a more costly option, but a matched design system will run more efficiently, perform better, and last longer, delivering cost savings well beyond the extra expense.

Energy Saving HVAC Summer Maintenance Tips

The summer season means extra work for your HVAC system because as the temperature rises, homeowners across West Tennessee are turning their air conditioning up to full blast.  The best time for HVAC maintenance is before the extreme temperatures hit, so I’ve compiled a few energy-saving tips to keep in mind.

Ensure the outdoor unit has room to breathe: The warmer weather begins many great things, but it also brings weeds and overgrown vegetation if you aren’t careful. Make sure to keep vegetation at least two feet away from your outdoor unit so it can efficiently pull in air.

Clean/change your air filter: Air filters that become clogged with dirt or are overdue for replacement make it harder for your HVAC unit to work well. Keeping your air filter clean can help lower your unit’s energy consumption!

Seal heating/cooling ducts and open spaces: Make sure that your doors and windows are sealed properly so that when they are shut there is no extra space letting the cool air out. The less cool air that escapes your home, the less energy you’ll waste on the air conditioner. Also, keeping drapes and blinds closed to keep out direct sun helps to keep the house cooler longer.

Find the sweet spot with your thermostat: Set your thermostat to your ideal temperature – not any colder. Setting it to a temperature colder than desired doesn’t cool your house down any quicker, but instead keeps the unit working longer than necessary. Also, avoid placing heat producing appliances next to the thermostat – this can cause it to read the room temperature higher than it actually is.

Now that your HVAC system is ready, here’s to a great summer!

15 Summer Plumbing Tips

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Sunny summer days are almost here! Rising temperatures often lead to increased water usage both indoors and out. During summer months, an average family’s water bill can go up anywhere from 25-50%. If big utility costs and pesky plumbing problems aren’t part of your summer plans, take action with these preventative maintenance tips from McCoy’s Heating & Air plumbing pros:

1. Going on vacation? Turn DOWN your water heater to about 120 F to save energy. It’s one easy way to lower your utility bills while you’re relaxing away from home. On the flip side…

2. Turn UP the temperature of your refrigerator. Of course, first be sure to remove perishable foods like produce, meat, and dairy.

3. When hosting backyard BBQs, be mindful of what goes down the kitchen disposal. Most disposals have a tough time processing fibrous food like celery or banana peels, and can lead to disastrous plumbing problems. Also avoid fats and cooking oils because they can cause stubborn clogs in your pipes. Same goes for eggshells and cornhusks – don’t let them go down the drain! If a troublesome item does get by, go ahead flush it by running cold water at full pressure for 10-15 seconds.

4. Say goodbye to annoying bug bites by eliminating ANY standing water in your yard – even puddles have the power to attract disease-bearing insects (and mold!).

5. Go green. Ask McCoy’s how to capture grey water or rainwater for your garden during the hottest months out of the year. Many of these systems quickly pay for themselves.

6. Store your garden hose properly with the nozzle pointed down and disconnect them when not in use.

7. Tend to your trees. Any kind of tree growth can cause roots to make their way up to your sewer line in search of water, causing plumbing problems. If you’re experiencing sewage backups, give us a call! We’ll help you determine what’s causing the damage. All too often, trees are the root cause.

8. Know how old your water heater is to prevent surprise repair or replacement costs. The average water heater typically last 10 years. You can determine the age of your water heater by simply checking the last four digits of the serial number on the tank. This will show you the month and year it was manufactured.

9. Adventures in the great outdoors can mean loads more laundry. Get in the habit of removing dryer lint with every cycle – and never leave home while the washer or dryer are running.

10. Know what’s up with your washing machine hose. On average, a rubber washing machine hose needs to be replaced every three years. If you can see cracks or bulges – call McCoy’s!

11. Move your washer and dryer at least 4-5 inches from the wall to prevent damage.

12. Show your lawn some love! When you water your lawn at the right time, you save money. McCoy’s plumbers recommend watering in the early morning and after the sun goes down.

13. Think ahead. For preventative maintenance, schedule a sewer line inspection at the start of summer, especially if there have been recent rains. Tree roots naturally grow toward a leaking sewer line in search of water, and can be a common culprit for cracks in your home plumbing system.

14. Summer is a smart time to save. Consider replacing a few of you older appliances such as faucets, shower heads, and toilets with more energy efficient products. You’ll notice significant savings on your water bill.

15. Scheduling regular plumbing maintenance inspections is the best way to proactively protect your home. The McCoy’s team is happy to stay on top of your system. We’ll check all your appliances and fixtures for leaks, monitor your gutters, and safeguard your drains.

5 Easy HVAC Maintenance Tips for Summer

The last thing you want as the temperatures rise across the country is to be caught without a working HVAC system. To help you out, we've compiled five of our favorite HVAC maintenance tips to get you through the summer:

Replace the Air Filter

Depending on how often your cooling system gets used, your air filter must be replaced every 1-3 months. But it's a good bet that you never thought about changing the filter at the end of the prior summer, so now's the perfect time to check it and replace it, if needed.

Check the Wiring

It's important to check the wiring of your HVAC system on a regular basis to make sure it continues to work properly and remains safe. Turn off the system and open the access panel. If you notice any wires that look burned or blackened, it's time to call a professional and get them replaced.

Upgrade the Thermostat

We're guessing that your home already has a programmable thermostat, which enables you to schedule when your cooling equipment comes on and helps control energy costs. But now you can pick up a Wi-Fi model and gain access to the thermostat remotely through any internet connection.

Check the Condenser Unit Fan

Since the outside condenser unit is exposed to the elements, the fan can get damaged due to debris that slips through the slits. A damaged fan can cause more severe problems and a lack of proper operation, so if you notice any issues, replace the fan right away.

Clean the Condenser Unit

It doesn't take long before dirt, leaves, grass, and other debris gets into or on top of the outside condenser unit. This will reduce air flow, forcing your system to work harder and costing you more money. Remove whatever debris you can by hand, then switch off the unit and wash it out with a garden hose.

AC Features Keep You Cool

Are you planning to upgrade your air conditioner? If so, now's the ideal time to investigate equipment features that not only keep your home comfortably cool, but provide greater efficiency so you can save money on your energy bills. Here are some A/C features worth considering.

High Efficiency Rating

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) on central A/Cs tells you how much energy they consume to produce a specific amount of cool air output. Models on the market today range from SEER 14 through 26, and the higher the A/C rating, the greater the efficiency. For maximum energy savings, pick a model with the highest possible rating within your budget.

Two-Speed Compressor

A two-speed compressor can switch its speed between low and high depending on how much cooling is needed. This can provide significant savings on cooling costs, because the A/C can operate on low about 80 percent of the time and still can keep your home comfortably cool.

Variable-Speed Air Handler

A variable-speed air handler can modulate its speed automatically to precisely match your cooling needs. It operates on the lowest speed approximately 75 percent of the time and runs almost continuously too. This saves energy and results in better air filtration, greater humidity control and more consistent temperatures in your home.

Automatic Fan Delay

Usually, the blower fan stops running in sync with the A/C compressor, so conditioned air remains the ductwork at the end of each cooling cycle. When the system has a built-in fan delay, the blower stays on briefly after the compressor cycles off so all the cool air is pushed out of the ducts and not wasted.

Fan-Only Switch

A fan-only switch on the HVAC system lets you use the blower for air circulation without running the A/C compressor, and it's especially beneficial if you have a whole-home ventilation system.

How to Know If Your Thermostat is Reading Properly

If your home often feels too hold or cold even when the temperature setting on the thermostat says it should be comfortable, it may not be reading accurately. Thermostat malfunctions like this can interfere with HVAC system cycling, make it harder maintain a comfortable temperature and increase your energy bills. Here are some common causes and solutions to help you get the problem under control.

Dirty Components

If you can't remember the last time you cleaned the thermostat's internal components, dirt buildup may be interfering with its ability to read an accurate room temperature. To get rid of dust and debris, pop off the cover, gently dust the interior with a soft brush, then use electrical contact cleaner on a cotton swab to remove any corrosion from the metal contacts.

Faulty Sensor

If the sensor is out of whack, it won't read the correct temperature. You may be able to re-calibrate the thermostat to fix this, but if not, you'll need to replace it.

Off Level

Older, mercury thermostats may not work properly if they get bumped and knocked off level. Try placing a level just above the unit and making any needed adjustments to see if there's any improvement in accuracy. If this doesn't solve the problem, it may be time to upgrade.

Poor Location

The location of your thermostat plays a large role in how well it functions. To accurately monitor the temperature in your home, it needs to be placed in a central location that's out of direct sunlight, away from drafts, HVAC air vents and heat sources.

Old Age

Just like other types of equipment, a thermostat can show its age by malfunctioning. Replacing it gives you an opportunity to upgrade to a programmable or Wi-Fi model with the latest convenient features designed to optimize HVAC efficiency and help you save energy.

Why 2nd Opinions Are So Important

Have you been told that your HVAC system needs to be replaced? Has a HVAC repair technician told you that your HVAC system requires extensive repairs? Either way, you may be looking at the prospect of shelling out hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your HVAC system this spring. If this is the case, before you spend a great deal of money on HVAC repairs or replacement services, you should seek a second opinion from McCoy’s Heating & Air.

Far too often, we don’t even have a clear idea of the reasons for these repairs or why our HVAC needs to be replaced. Many repair services provide explanations in such technical terms that you need to be a certified HVAC repair person to understand them. When you seek a second opinion on your repair estimate from McCoy’s Heating & Air, you will receive a new estimate completely in terms that you can understand.

YOUR HVAC SYSTEM IS IMPORTANT

Of course, a properly functioning HVAC system is not a luxury in West Tennessee — it’s a necessity. As summer draws near and the weather gets hotter and more humid, you are going to need your HVAC system to be in peak working condition, not merely for your family’s comfort but for the sake of their health as well. A properly functioning HVAC system not only keeps a home cool and comfortable, it can help to purify the air in your home, keeping out the humidity and allergens that have been known to cause so many health and breathing problems.

Because your HVAC unit is so vitally important to the health and happiness of your family, when a technician tells you that they have to perform extensive repairs, you will tend to believe that there are no other options. But the truth is that many repair services will always recommend replacement when there are actually several less expensive options. This is why seeking a second opinion on your HVAC repair services is so important.

HOW A SECOND OPINION CAN HELP

When you seek a second opinion from McCoy’s Heating & Air, you will benefit in a variety of ways:

  • First our expert technicians will perform an extensive inspection of your HVAC system. In many cases, we find that the work your repair service wants to do will not even solve your problem.

  • We will give you the real facts about the status of your HVAC system, including our no hype solution to your system’s problem. Our technicians are trained to deliver this information in layman’s terms because you deserve to understand what you are paying for.

  • Our HVAC repair experts 2nd opinion services are risk free. Our technician will perform a detailed inspection, assess your HVAC system’s problem and provide you with a new estimate at no cost to you.

  • Most importantly of all, McCoy’s Heating & Air will provide you with up-front information about the repair and replacement of your unit. This means that there will be no surprises later on that add to your repair bill.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Whenever a HVAC repair company tells you that your HVAC system requires more than $500 in repairs, and especially if they tell you that you need a complete system replacement, it is a great idea to seek a second opinion. Sometimes our assessment will match the initial estimate. However, in many cases, 2nd opinion service can offer you a significant savings. The bottom line is that you should not be expected to pay for unnecessary repairs.

WHAT IF YOU DO NEED TO REPLACE YOUR HVAC?

If it turns out that you actually do need to replace your HVAC system, we will review your situation and make a recommendation based both on your needs and budget. A McCoy’s Heating & Air technician will base their recommendation on a short list of considerations and never on what they want to sell you, including:

  • The present condition of your current HVAC unit.

  • The energy efficiency needs of your home.

  • The specific area that you want to keep cool.

  • The age and condition of your home.

  • How long you plan to live in your current home.

Have you received a quote recently on a system replacement? You may be able to walk away with a new system for cheaper than your quote, but you won’t know until you get a second opinion. Contact us today at 731-668-7492  to have one of our HVAC repair experts come out and discuss options for your HVAC system!

4 Ways to Make Your AC Last Longer in West Tennessee

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If you live in West Tennessee, you want to make sure your air conditioning system lasts as long as possible.

The typical lifespan of an AC is 10-15 years.

However, if you neglect your AC over the years, it may need to be replaced much earlier than its 10th birthday.

The good news? There are a few ways that you can ensure your AC lasts as long as possible, including:

  1. Scheduling annual maintenance with a professional

  2. Cleaning and replacing air filters regularly

  3. Opening all supply and return vents

  4. Keeping temperatures consistent (with a smart thermostat)

We’ll discuss these 4 easy tips below and explain why these tips can help lengthen the lifespan of your air conditioning system.

Want to speak with a professional about your AC system? Our experienced pros are ready and available to answer any questions. Contact us or schedule an appointment today!

Tip #1: Schedule annual maintenance with a professional

There's a reason this is the first suggestion on our list. Scheduling annual maintenance with a licensed professional is the best way to extend the life of your AC system.

Why?

The more efficiently your system is running, the longer it will last. If part of your AC system isn’t working the way it should be, the whole system has to work harder to compensate, resulting in more wear and tear and a shortened lifespan.

The best way to prevent a premature AC death is with professional maintenance.

During a tune-up, a professional will clean and inspect your system for any issues. If there are issues, they'll recommend repairs to keep your AC healthy and running strong.

This way, when it comes time to turn your AC on for the summer, all parts are working correctly and efficiently, extending the lifespan of your system as a whole.

Tip #2: Clean and replace air filters regularly

For your AC system to run efficiently, it needs to have a consistent supply of air.

When your air filters are dirty, the airflow to the AC is reduced, making it more difficult for your AC system to run efficiently.

The harder your AC has to work to do its job, the more wear and tear you’ll see on your system.

A good rule of thumb is to replace your air filters every month or when you notice they are dirty.

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Not sure what a dirty air filter looks like? The filter to the right is a dirty filter that needs to be replaced.

Tip #3: Open all supply and return vents

Many people think closing vents in unused rooms will decrease energy costs, but this is not true. Closing supply or return vents can actually damage your AC system, increase energy bills and decrease your AC’s lifespan.

Why?

When you close a vent, pressure can build in the duct system. This can cause air leaks and your blower motor to work harder.

If there are air leaks in your system, your AC has to produce more conditioned air to account for the air that is lost through those leaks.

The solution? Open all supply and return vents before turning your AC system on for the season. You should also ensure vents aren’t being blocked by anything, like furniture.

Tip #4: Avoid significant temperature swings (Smart Thermostat)

One way to give your AC a break and extend its lifespan is by avoiding significant temperature swings.

We all want to save money on utility bills, and many people attempt to save on their summer energy bills by turning up their thermostat when they’re not at home.

BUT, turning your AC up while you’re gone and then cranking it down when you get home is actually very hard on your AC and can result in faster wear and tear on your system.

To keep your AC running for longer, our suggestion would be to invest in a smart thermostat.

A smart thermostat allows you to set the temperature higher when you’re away but gradually changes the temperature so that by the time you arrive back home, the temperature is where you want it. This allows you to:

  • Save some money on your energy bill

  • Alleviate the strain of significant temperature changes on your AC

  • Give your AC a break when you don’t need your home cooled

Waived Diagnostic Fee

For the month of May and June, McCoy’s Heating and Air is waiving their diagnostic fee for all residential HVAC or plumbing repairs.

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Many times, we have customers who call and say “my air conditioning is out… what will it cost to fix it?” This is where the diagnostic fee comes into play. When we come out to your house and run tests on your system to determine the problem, that is the diagnostic test. We are “diagnosing” the problem. It covers a full inspection of your heating and cooling system to find any issues.

Fortunately for you, this fee is being waived for the months of May and June. So give us a call today to come check out your HVAC.

7 Spring/Summer Maintenance Tips for Your HVAC System

Your home’s heating and cooling unit may be a silent support system, but when it comes to your energy bill, its presence is as loud as can be. How loud? According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the average household energy expense is about $2,200 per year, and nearly half that amount can be tied directly to costs associated with heating and/or cooling your home. That’s pretty loud.

The costs associated with controlling the temperature in your home are significant, and if your HVAC system isn't running efficiency, then your costs only go up. Fortunately, ensuring your HVAC system is running at peak performance doesn’t always require an expensive repair bill. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure your HVAC system is up to the task with a little preventative maintenance.

Make a habit of doing these seven things, and your silent energy partner won’t shout so loud when the monthly bill arrives.

  1.  Change the furnace filter. Why is this tip number one? Simple: It’s easy to do and can have a big impact on the health of your HVAC system. A clean filter can reduce your energy usage by 15 percent according to the Alliance to Save Energy. If your filter is temporary, replace it every month on a day you’ll remember — like the first of the month. And if it’s a permanent filter, take it out and rinse it off monthly.

  2.  Clear the drainage hole. Air conditioners commonly have a drainage hole located at their cabinet’s base. The hole is usually located beneath the evaporator fins. In order for your air conditioner to work effectively, this hole must be kept clear. While the hole may be too small for you to clean out manually, a paper clip or small piece of wire works wonderfully.

  3.  Drying out your dehumidifier. Depending on the time of year, a dehumidifier can be invaluable. To be sure it’s working at maximum capacity, remove the outer casing and allow your system to dry. Once the system is dry, vacuum the entire unit to remove excess dirt and debris before putting it back together.

  4.  Remove obstructions around your exterior system. Though the AC is located outside your home, you cannot afford to sacrifice your air conditioner to the elements. Inspect the unit at least twice a month and remove loose vegetation or debris. Standing vegetation surrounding your air conditioner should not be allowed to grow within two feet of the unit. This clear zone allows your air conditioner to pull in the air it needs to control the temperature in your home.

  5.  Clean the bathroom fans. Your bathroom fans work hard all year and this is the perfect time to ensure the work they do is as efficient as possible. Remove the covers from your fans before washing them with soap and water. Once the covers are off, use a toothbrush to clean the fan blades before reapplying the cover. Just make sure the power is off before starting this task.

  6.  Add a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats allow you to program the temperature settings in your home so you can set your home to be warmer during periods when you’re away and more comfortable when you're home. The system will also communicate with you and provide ways of saving even more energy and lowering your monthly bill. Follow its recommendations and you'll get new tips that can help you save even more. 

  7.  Schedule a tuneup. Once you’ve accomplished all the tasks above, it’s time to bring in the experts. The professional at McCoy’s Heating & Air will be able to take a more detailed look at your system and identify problems you may have otherwise missed. Follow them around during their inspection and ask questions. You may just learn some insights that will be invaluable in your ongoing efforts to reduce your energy usage and total bill.