(770) 455-6722

Serving Metro Atlanta & Surrounding Areas

Cunningham Associates
Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

How to Fix a Stuck Vent Register

Many central air conditioning systems use vent registers with movable shutters to control the amount of air entering a given space. In most instances, a small lever located on the front of the register can be adjusted to open and close the register. Over time, however, these levers can become hard to operate and make controlling airflow difficult or impossible.

However, homeowners are often able to correct problems with vent registers through cleaning and lubrication. Below is more information on this process and what you can do to get your malfunctioning registers working again.

1. Remove the Defective Vent Register

The first step in the process is to remove the defective vent register from its location. Registers are held in place by sheet metal screws, and they can be quickly removed in most instances. Be careful when removing a register, however, so that it doesn’t fall on you or drop to the ground.

2. Clean the Register

The next step in the process of rehabilitating a stubborn vent register is to clean it thoroughly. Use a shop vacuum to remove as much dust and debris as possible from the register, then immerse the register in a bucket of hot water mixed with liquid dish soap.

Allow the register to soak for fifteen minutes, then remove it and use an old toothbrush to scrub it clean. Rinse the register thoroughly in warm water, and then dry it with a clean rag or cloth.

3. Lubricate the Shutter Lever

Once the register is clean, locate the pivot point for the shutter lever and apply a drop or two of light machine oil. Manipulate the lever until it opens and closes smoothly; do not use too much lubricant and avoid the use of spray penetrating oils that will only attract and hold dust.

4. Reinstall the Register

After oiling the shutter lever, reinstall the freshly cleaned and lubricated register in its position. Verify the lever is still working correctly by testing its operation a few times.

Please give us a call with any questions and/or service needs that you may have. The team here at Cunningham Associates is at your service!

AC Installation & Contractor Responsibilities

Now that you’ve decided to replace your air conditioning unit, you’re probably wondering what to expect of the contractor’s responsibilities. Many homeowners are unaware of what should be included in the installation price, so be sure to check with your contractor for exactly what is included! Let’s discuss some of the items that typically come as part of the installation.

Payment

Contractors who demanded full payment up front should be avoided. Smaller companies may request one half of the total charge up front. This is not an uncommon practice. Larger HVAC companies usually won’t accept any payment until the installation is complete.

Installation and Removal

Your installation should include the removal of your old unit and any associated debris. Most installs will be completed in a day. When the contractor leaves you shouldn’t be able to tell they were even there, except for your cool house and sparkling new air conditioning unit.

Circuit Breaker

The new air conditioning unit will have its own circuit breaker. This breaker is usually outside near the unit. The contractor should not use the old breaker.

Permits and Inspections

Depending on the extent of work and your locality, there may be permits and inspections involved with your installation. If so, the contractor should be solely responsible for getting the permit(s), scheduling and passing any inspections, as well as any associated fees.

Test Operation

Once the install is complete, the contractor should operate the unit for you. This may occur before the inspection (if any) is complete.

Instruction on Newly Installed Control Equipment

In the case of new control equipment like a fancy thermostat, most contractors will demonstrate the most basic functions. Don’t forget to get your owner’s manual.

Information Regarding Tax Incentives

Many contractors will give you information on tax incentives if your new unit qualifies. This is more of a professional touch than a requirement.

The above list is not all inclusive, but knowing this information will help you come to a more informed assessment of the contractor. We encourage you to contact us here at Cunningham Associates with any questions and/or service needs you may have.

Warning Signs of an A/C Refrigerant Leak

Now that it’s the middle of summer, you’re relying on your air conditioner more than ever. Like any other equipment in your home, your air conditioner will malfunction from time to time. Having that said, one of the common problems that you might encounter with your air conditioner is a refrigerant leak. Here are four warning signs of a refrigerant leak:

Air Conditioner Blows Warm Air

When your refrigerant is low, the air coming from your registers will not be cooled efficiently. If your air conditioner is blowing warm air, it’s possible that you have a refrigerant leak.

Increased Energy Bills

Have your energy bills gotten higher? Your air conditioner might be to blame. When your air conditioner is losing refrigerant, it needs to run longer and work harder to keep your home cool, leading to higher energy bills.

Icy Evaporator Coils

Another sign of a refrigerant leak is ice build-up on the evaporator coils. When your HVAC system does not have enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils cannot absorb enough heat. This causes condensation to build up on the coils and freeze over.

You Hear Hissing Sounds

A refrigerant leak is caused by holes in the refrigerant lines. You may hear a hissing sound as refrigerant leaks from these holes. Given that, be sure to keep your ears open.

What to Do When You Suspect a Leak

It’s important to note that your air conditioner should not normally lose refrigerant. Your unit always contains the same amount of refrigerant when it’s operating properly. The refrigerant is not used up the way an automobile uses gas and refilling the refrigerant will not solve the problem if you have a leak.

Exposure to refrigerant can be dangerous without the proper training and experience. If you suspect a leak, you’ll need help from an HVAC professional. We encourage you to contact us so that we can get the issue resolved, and you can get back to enjoying summer!

3 Reasons to Add an Air Conditioning System to Your Home

Whether you are building a new home or updating an older home, it is important that you consider adding an air conditioning system to the home. There are so many great benefits that come along with adding an air conditioning system to your home; three of these reasons will be discussed here:

Increase the Value of Your Home 

When you install an air conditioning system in your home, you are increasing its overall value. When an appraiser comes to appraise your home, they will take the fact that you have an air conditioning system into consideration. This not only helps to protect your investment in your home, but it can allow you to make more money if you sell your home down the road. On top of this, a home that has an air conditioning system is often a lot more appealing to potential buyers.

Make Your Home More Comfortable 

Another excellent reason to install an air conditioning system in your home is to make it much more comfortable. During the summer months, the temperatures rise; both outdoors and in your home. If you don’t have an air conditioning system to cool the interior of your home, it can become uncomfortably warm. The heat can also lead to problems with bacteria and germs growing inside of your home. An air conditioner will cool your home and can be set to kick on whenever your home gets to a certain temperature; thus giving you complete control.

Reduce the Humidity in Your Home 

If you have tried to cool your home with a swamp cooler in the past, you have likely noticed how humid your home becomes once the swamp cooler is turned on. This is due to the water used within the swamp cooler. This humidity can lead to a lot of issues within your home, such as mold, warping of wood, wet furniture, etc. When you choose to go with an air conditioning system instead, the humidity will be removed from your home, while still providing you with the cool air you desire.

Overall, the installation of an air conditioning system is an excellent idea because it increases the value of your home, it makes your home more comfortable, and it helps to reduce the humidity in your home.

We encourage you to contact us at Cunningham Associates with any questions or service needs you may have.

5 Signs Your Air Conditioner Compressor is Failing

The compressor is one of the key components of your air conditioning system as it produces cool air by pumping refrigerant throughout the system. If your compressor is failing, it needs to be addressed right away before your air conditioner stops working. Here are five warning signs that indicate a potential compressor problem:

  • Your air conditioner does not cool. When the compressor is starting to fail, it cannot properly pump refrigerant through the system. Warm air coming from your vents is a surefire sign of a compressor problem.
  • Your circuit breaker repeatedly trips. Frequently tripping the circuit breaker is another sign of a failing compressor. The compressor might be working too hard and overheating, tripping the circuit breaker and cutting off the power to the unit. You should have your unit repaired if this continues to happen.
  • Your air conditioning unit makes a lot of noise. It’s normal for your outdoor unit to make some noise. However, if it’s making much more noise than usual, it’s a sign of trouble. If you hear a chattering, clicking, or rattling sound, the compressor is likely to be the cause. The noise can indicate a loose belt in the compressor or an issue with the fuse.
  • Your outdoor unit vibrates or shakes when starting. Does your condenser unit shake while it’s turning on? This is a “hard start,” which means that it is struggling to turn on. One of the most common causes of hard starts is a failing compressor.
  • You see puddles or moisture around your air conditioning unit. Puddles around your air conditioning unit indicate that there is refrigerant leaking from the compressor. If the leak isn’t fixed, your air conditioner will no longer be able to generate cold air.    

If you suspect that your compressor is failing, contact us to schedule an appointment.

3 Signs you Need Air Conditioning Repair

Whether your home just isn’t getting cool enough or you hear strange noises coming from your HVAC system, your air conditioner could be to blame. Recognizing these common signs of trouble can help you identify the problem and know when to call for help with your air conditioning system:

Your air conditioner is making noises.

If your previously quiet home is now full of wheezing, whining or humming, it could be a sign that you need to have your air conditioner repaired. Noises can be the first sign of trouble, and having your unit checked out right away can prevent further damage.

You notice strange odors or excess moisture.

If your home suddenly has a mildew smell or you see condensation or moisture, then your air conditioner could be the issue. A professional can check out your unit to ensure it is working – or find out if it is the source of the moisture.

Any of the above signs is a clear indication that your air conditioner is in trouble; the sooner you call for help, the better. Contact us at Cunningham Associates to take care of your air conditioner so that your home can then be returned to its normal and comfortable state.

What Whole-House Ventilation Can Do for You

Many of today’s homes lack proper ventilation, which can lead to stale and unhealthy air. As a result, some individuals suffer from allergies and other health problems brought on by poor indoor air quality.

Your air conditioner does a great job of cooling air and removing circulating particles, however, alone, it isn’t always enough to renew your home’s air. That’s why you should consider installing a whole-house ventilation system.

A whole-house ventilation system overcomes the lack of proper air circulation experienced by many homeowners. There are three whole-house systems in widespread use, and each of these are described below.

Exhaust Ventilation Systems

An exhaust ventilation system works by using a roof-mounted exhaust fan to suck air from the interior of a home and blow it outside. This causes fresh air to be pulled through the microscopic pores and crevices in the sides of a home.

As a result, air moves across, up and out of a home. Exhaust ventilation systems work well in drier, cooler climates. However, they are not ideal for humid areas where moist air can be pulled through walls, causing condensation inside the insulation and between drywall panels.

Supply Ventilation Systems

Supply ventilation systems work in an opposite manner from exhaust ventilation systems. Instead of pulling air through a roof-mounted vent, supply systems pump air into the home; this  forces air through the walls from the inside to the outside.

Supply systems have some advantages over exhaust systems, such as the ability to filter incoming air through the roof-mounted supply fan. However, during winter, supply systems can create drafty conditions and potentially interfere with indoor heating.

Balanced Ventilation Systems

A balanced whole-house ventilation system is the best solution, since it takes elements from both types of whole-house systems and combines them. A balanced system uses both exhaust and supply fans to provide an even mixing of air inside the home, which can mitigate some of the disadvantages associated with both of the other options.

We hope you found the information within this blog post to be helpful, and we encourage you to contact us with any questions that you may have.

Avoid Serious Health Problems by Working with a Heating Contractor

Many problems can arise with heating in your home and it is not one of those things you can choose to ignore. At best, not having sufficient heat will make you and your family uncomfortable. Then again, in the worst-case scenario, it can lead to serious health problems.

Problems That Arise with a Lack of Heating

Not having sufficient heat can lead to someone getting sick. When you catch a chill due to a lack of heating in the home, it can lead into a long-term illness.

Plus, not having sufficient heat also means that you might end up buying a number of space heaters which will run up your electricity bill.

People have also been known to do senseless things like turning on the oven and leaving it open in order to make the house warmer. This is very dangerous as the gas can spread throughout the house and cause an explosion. Even if there is no explosion, you and your loved ones might inhale a lot of gas which is terrible for your health.

Therefore it’s very important to have your heating working properly. This will protect you and your loved ones in the long run.

Advantages of Working with the Same Heating Contractor

The best thing is to have a heating contractor on speed dial so that you can request service for your heating problems and get everything take care of as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to use the same person no matter what problems you might have. Once you’ve worked with a heating contractor and you know that they do a good job, you can keep working with them.

The advantage of this is that the contractor will understand your heating system inside and out. So when you call them with a problem, they’ll probably already have the solution. This saves time and money in the long run.

We encourage you to reach out to us at Cunningham Associates with any questions or service needs you might have.

How to Incorporate Heating Into Your Room Addition

Changing up your floorplan is an increasingly common project. You might want an extra room. Or, maybe that garage would work better as a study. Even expanding an existing room needs a lot of planning and groundwork. Don’t let air conditioning get lost along the way. Keep these three heating considerations in mind when starting to build:

Will the new space have adequate ventilation?

Houses have a lot of invisible ventilation. Brick walls aren’t solid: they have minute gaps in the grout to allow for air flow during contraction and expansion. Every roof is ringed with a series of vents that let air escape from your attic, and that’s not even considering the (at least two) attic fans your house should have closer to the peak of your roof. Make sure your contractor has accounted for air flow in your new space, especially if you have gas appliances or use a furnace.

Can your HVAC handle the new load?

Heating systems are designed around the square footage they have to keep warm. Even knocking down a wall or changing the floor plan without incorporating new area can make your existing HVAC less effective. Have an expert check that your heater can fully heat the new space without impacting its effectiveness throughout the rest of the house.

Who is making the HVAC changes?

General contractors generally aren’t licensed to install, repair, or modify heating and HVAC systems. Double check that your contractor is bringing in expert professionals who are certified to make the changes you need. It might be more expensive upfront, but it will save you a lot in time, money, and stress over the years.

Contact Cunningham Associates to learn more about installing the proper heating system for your space.

The Benefits New Heating Installation Could Provide You With This Winter

By now there have been enough cold days this season that you likely have a good idea as to whether or not your furnace may need replacing this winter. However, if you have yet to have your furnace replaced, either due to the cost of replacement or due to the fact that you do not want to deal with the stress of having your HVAC system replaced, you may be surprised to learn how beneficial having your furnace replaced can be. If your aging furnace has been struggling to keep up with the needs of you and your family, here are just a few of the benefits of having it replaced this winter.

Boost Efficiency

If your furnace is 15-20 years old or older, you may not realize how inefficient your system is, and you may be surprised to discover how much money a new furnace could save you. A new furnace will be much more energy-efficient, which will help to greatly reduce the cost of heating your home this winter.

Benefit From a Programmable Thermostat

If your furnace is 20 years old, then you may not have a programmable thermostat. A high-efficiency HVAC system will come with a state-of-the-art programmable thermostat that will give you the ability to not only program your system to turn on and off at specific times, but also, systems with specific zones will allow you to heat certain rooms independently from the rest of your home. This will give you unprecedented control over how and when you heat your home, helping to further save you money on your energy bills.

Breathe Easier

If your furnace is 20 years old, you may be surprised by how much dirt, debris, and allergens have been collecting in your unit and your ductwork over the years. These irritants are then spread throughout your home when you run your furnace leading to increased allergy symptoms and other respiratory problems for you and your family. By replacing your aging furnace you will be helping to make the air in your home more breathable year-round.

Contact Cunningham Associates to learn more about the benefits you could gain by getting a furnace replacement in Atlanta GA.