(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.

Air Conditioning Contractor Explains Why Your AC Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker protects your electrical system and the electric devices in your home from excessive electrical current. Too much electrical current can damage your air conditioning system and heat up wiring to the point of causing a fire. This is why you should never continually reset a circuit breaker every time it trips.

Now and then a one-time power surge may trip the circuit breaker, such as from a lightning storm. To rule this out, reset your circuit breaker only once before turning your air conditioner on. If the breaker trips again, there’s a problem with either your circuit breaker or the AC system. If the breaker has a burning smell, feels hot, or you see signs of charring, the circuit breaker has gone bad. Otherwise, the issue probably lies with your air conditioner.

Here are four possible problems with your AC:

  • The air filter is dirty. A dirty air filter increases resistance to air flowing through it which then intensifies the workload on your AC system, which ultimately increases the draw of electrical current. This increased current trips the circuit breaker. Replace the air filter and try again.
  • The condenser unit requires cleaning. The condenser unit can get full of dirt and debris, especially in its fins. This reduces air flow through the fins and prevents the condenser from efficiently dispersing heat. The AC then draws too much current, which trips the circuit breaker. If the condenser is dirty and you have experience cleaning the condenser unit, then give it a good cleaning.
  • A motor has a problem. A motor could have shorted out from running too hot. For example, if a fan motor is working too hard to push air, the internal wiring could overheat and break down the insulation; thus causing a short, which trips the breaker. The motor having a bad capacitor can also trip the circuit breaker.
  • The air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Too little refrigerant causes the AC system to work too hard. If this is the problem, there is no point in refilling your AC with more refrigerant. The fact that your AC worked without problems in the past means that it used to have plenty of refrigerant; which means that your AC has a leak and should be fixed.

If you have any questions or need assistance, we encourage you to contact Cunningham Associates Heating and Air Conditioning in Atlanta GA.

3 Signs You Should Get Air Conditioning Service

If your home has poor indoor air quality, it could be a sign that your HVAC system needs to be serviced. Dander from your pets, mold, dust, and household chemicals can really harm the air quality in your home. Since this can cause serious health problems if left unresolved, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure your family is healthy. If you experience any of the three you may want to call Cunningham Associates Heating and Air Conditioning in Atlanta, GA to receive air conditioning service.

Warm and Drafty Spots

Sometimes bugs or contaminants can block your air conditioner and make certain areas of the home warm and drafty. This could be a sign that your unit is leaking or clogged. We recommend getting your air conditioner cleaned and inspected periodically to prevent this from happening.

Odor and Foul Smells

Are you starting to notice a foul odor in your home? You can also ask friends and family if they smell anything unusual just for confirmation. Pollutants such as mold and pests can make your home smell if they get stuck in your air conditioning ductwork. A professional HVAC company can inspect your air conditioning unit and find animal nests, bugs, molds and other pollutants that are making your home smell bad.

Allergies

Have you noticed that you or other family members are sneezing more? Bad air quality can cause headaches, coughing, sneezing and other allergy symptoms. If you believe your allergies only get worse when you spend time at home, it may be a sign that you should have your HVAC system checked and get an air purifier.

4 Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner is Malfunctioning

Air conditioning malfunctions can turn a joyful summer day into a sweltering nightmare. Luckily, knowing a few common warning signs can help you spot a problem before it becomes a serious issue. Listed below are four symptoms that signal your air conditioner requires the expertise of a HVAC professional.

Poor Air Flow

If the air blowing through your vents feels weak, a failing compressor is a likely culprit. On the other hand, there may be an issue with your ducts, especially if certain rooms are cool while others remain unchanged. To ensure your air conditioning continues to operate efficiently, it’s best to contact a HVAC professional as soon as you notice a discrepancy in room temperature.

Unusual Noises

Squealing or grinding sounds coming from your unit are never a good sign. Unfortunately, any sort of unusual noise can indicate a number of malfunctions and should not be ignored. For instance, a belt may have slipped or other mechanical piece could be loose. If you hear an unfamiliar sound coming from your air conditioner an immediate call to an A/C specialist is warranted and could save you from a more serious breakdown.

Unpleasant Odors

Strange smells coming from your air conditioner can indicate the wire insulation in your unit has burned out. However, if a musty odor is coming from your vents, there is a good chance mold is growing somewhere in your unit or in your duct work. Both problems call for the expertise of an air conditioner repair specialist.

High Energy Bill

If your A/C use has not changed, but your energy bill has suddenly gone up, your unit either needs a tune-up or is need of repair. Unfortunately, neglecting to have your system serviced on a yearly basis can lead to a lack of efficiency and more frequent malfunctions. To keep your energy bill down and your air conditioner in good health, schedule a tune-up today.

Contact Cunningham Associates today. We’ll be able to answer your air conditioning service questions or concerns.

How to Avoid Air Conditioning Repair Rip Offs

Every year as the temperatures start to rise, scam artists and fly-by-night service companies seem to come out of the woodwork to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners who need air conditioner service or repairs. The following are a few tips to make sure that you do not get taken advantage of the next time you need an AC tune-up or repair.

Do Your Homework:

You certainly do not have to become and HVAC expert, but if a technician tells you that a part is broken, take a moment to ask a few questions. Ask the technician the name of the part and its function. The explanation should sound logical even to a layman. If possible, do a quick online search to find out more about the part and the type of repair.

Get Referrals:

A company’s online reviews can provide insight into a company’s level of customer service and expertise; however, some disreputable companies will post fake reviews. The best referral is always word of mouth. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers about who they would use and recommend.

Look for the Catch:

Disreputable companies often offer unrealistically low prices for services calls only to hit you with a laundry list of expensive and unnecessary repairs once they get in the door. You should avoid the offer that seems too good to be true. Get several estimates and look for a company whose prices are in line with the local market.

Avoid the Phone Solicitation:

Some companies hire phone solicitors in an effort to drum up business using high-pressure sales tactics. Any company with a good reputation within the community will have more than enough business without resorting to this type of tactic.

Ask for a Physical Address:

Any company that does not publish a physical address on its website, business cards, or other literature is probably hiding something and should be avoided.

Contact Cunningham Associates today for more information about our services or to schedule a service call.