Have you ever noticed there’s one space in your house that is warmer than the rest? Maybe it is one specific room that feels several degrees warmer than the rest of the house. You can drive yourself crazy trying to fix hot spots, from blackout curtains to ceiling fans. In this blog, we’re sharing why hotspots happen and what you can do to fix them. 

What’s A Hot Spot?

Ideally, your air conditioning system is providing an even temperature to the entire home. But sometimes, there is one space that gives you trouble. A hot spot is a concentrated area inside your home where it feels warmer than it should. And most likely, that hot spot in the summer becomes a cold spot in the winter. 

What Causes a Hot Spot?

There are many reasons why a space in your home may feel warmer than the rest. Some of the most common causes are: 

  • Thermostat Problems – your air conditioner operates based on the temperature sensor inside your thermostat. So if your thermostat is on the fritz, or if the problem area is located far away from the thermostat, that could be why it’s causing trouble.
  • Ductwork and Balancing Problems – another problem could be with airflow. Maybe other spaces are getting too much airflow, or the hot spot isn’t getting enough. You might also have an air leak in the duct that needs sealing. Adequate airflow is critical to delivering cool comfort to the space. 
  • More Heat in the Space – a common culprit of a hot spot is simply that one space has more heat than other spaces. Large windows, lots of electronics, or south-facing walls can all be reasons that space has more heat. If there is more heat in your problem space than in other spaces of your home, that can cause an imbalance. 
  • Spreading the AC Too Thin – if a lot has changed in your home since your air conditioner was first installed, that too could be the cause for a hot spot. This is especially the case if you have finished out a space that previously didn’t have air conditioning, like an attic or a basement. 

There are many other possibilities for why a hot spot exists, but no matter the reason there is good news. You don’t have to live with a hot spot! We can make adjustments to your home comfort system to ensure that EVERY space feels comfortable, even on the hottest days. 

How To Fix a Hot Spot in My Home

Luckily, there are better and more permanent solutions than cranking a ceiling fan to high and darkening the room with blackout blinds.

The first course of action is to check all the air vents in your home. If there are some rooms that feel frigid while others are sweltering, try changing the vane position on your vents to allow for more airflow in the spaces that are warm. Our team can also check any balancing dampers that are located inside your ductwork to make sure the spaces are getting adequate airflow.

One option could be to add a temperature sensor to the problem area. Depending on the type of thermostat you have, additional temperature sensors can be used to give the air conditioning system a more accurate representation of the temperature throughout your home rather than one specific area.

Another solution is a ductless mini-split. A ductless mini-split provides a dedicated air conditioning to a single space. This is a fantastic solution for a hot spot, especially if you have recently done renovations where there is added square footage. Mini-splits are also an excellent choice for a room that are used intermittently, like an office or a guest bedroom. The person using the space is able to choose the temperature that makes them the most comfortable, and can turn off the A/C when they leave the room. 

Finally, considering weatherizing your home. Weatherization can help not just with your indoor comfort, but also with saving on your energy bills.

Need Help With a Hot Spot? Call Brody Pennell!

Call Brody Pennell to diagnose and fix your hot spot issues for good! Our team can help you navigate all the solutions, from zoning to ductless, and recommend the best solution for your home. You can trust the team that has been serving Los Angeles since 1945. Whatever it is you need, we’re here for you! Call us at (310) 896-4911.

It can be a constant battle to keep the temperature of your home at a cool and comfortable level while not breaking the bank to pay your electric bill. Many families are feeling the heat, literally and figuratively, during the warmer months. However, there are some cooling tips for your home that can help create a comfortable balance and be better on the environment. For the benefit of your budget, your comfort, and the environment, follow these summer cooling tips:

Cooling Tip 1 – Keep Blinds Closed

One of the simplest house cooling tips is to keep the blinds closed. Keeping shades and blinds closed during the day can keep several degrees of heat out of your home. In the morning, make sure the windows are covered on the east side of the house, and in the afternoon the west side of the house. In addition, you can take this a step further and buy shades that reflect and further block the sun’s heat out of your home.

Cooling Tip 2  – Give Your AC a Break

If the temperature drops enough in the evening and at night, open your windows to let the cooler air in. This can give your air conditioning unit a break during the night, yet still keep your house at a tolerable temperature. In the morning when it starts to warm up again, close your windows and consider turning on the air conditioning before it gets too hot and the unit has to overwork to catch up.

Cooling Tip 3 – Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance

It is essential to keep your air conditioning unit well maintained. Each summer before the weather gets warmer, schedule AC maintenance with a certified technician from Brody Pennell.  This will help ensure it is running at its best and less likely to break down when you need it most. If your unit needs work, you can possibly do the work now to avoid a larger bill in the future when you really need your air conditioner functioning properly.

Cooling Tip 4 – Use Those Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to keep cool. In fact, you can keep your air conditioner setpoint up to 10 degrees higher than you’d normally set it and still feel comfortable if you have a ceiling fan operating overhead. Bonus: ceiling fans use much less energy to operate than your AC, making it the affordable and eco-friendly choice for comfort. 

Cooling Tip 5 – Check Your Thermostat’s Settings

The months before summer are a great time to check your thermostat settings. Look for any schedules and see if you need to adjust timing or temperatures for the warmer months. Smart thermostats may have a wide range of advanced settings that can impact your comfort and energy use. If you need help checking your thermostat settings, don’t hesitate to call us. 

Cooling Tip 6 – Check What’s Around Your Thermostat

While you are looking at your thermostat, take a peek around. Are there any heat-generating sources located within a few feet of the controller? Ovens, stoves, coffee makers, hair dryers, and even lamps can cause your air conditioner to run longer than it needs to. Move heat sources far away from your thermostat, or if you need to relocate your thermostat give us a call!

Cooling Tip 7 – Weatherize Your Home

Now is the time to check your home for anywhere cool air could leak out or the outside heat can get in. Caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows can be really helpful in retaining coolness inside. Adding insulation to attics and crawl spaces can also be a huge help. Replacing old, leaky windows can have a dramatic effect on your AC bill, too!

Cooling Tip 8 – Let Air Move Freely

Your air conditioner works by recirculating the air in your home. For the best performance, make sure air can easily move throughout your home. That means keeping doors and corridors open when possible. Homeowners should avoid placing any furniture or other items directly in front of a return air vent. 

Cooling Tip 9 – Replace Your Air Filter

Right before summer is a good time to replace your air filter. In fact, we recommend replacing every 3 months at a minimum. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your filter, it’s time! 

Cooling Tip 10 – Get a Quote for Replacement

If your air conditioner has been running for more than 8 years, it’s a good idea to get an estimate for an AC replacement. The possibility of summer breakdowns increases as your unit ages. And while we do everything we can to keep repairs affordable, sometimes the parts to fix a unit are downright expensive. Getting an estimate on a new system is free – which means no strings attached. You wouldn’t wait to shop for a new car until your current vehicle has reached its end, right? The same is true for an air conditioner – at least knowing what type of unit you’ll replace with can be helpful even if you decide not to replace your AC before summer. And don’t worry about having all the money saved up- we offer financing to make replacements affordable.

Call Brody Pennell for Cooling Help this Summer!

Use these tips to keep your home at a comfortable temperature during the warmer months, as well as keeping your electric bill within your budget. Whenever you need us, we’re here: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Call us anytime!

One question we hear from Los Angeles homeowners is about refrigerant charge-up, top off, or refill services.

There is really only one scenario where this question comes up, and it’s with a broken AC in need of repair. Many of our customers have had a faulty AC quickly solved by a technician “topping off” the refrigerant in the system. However, this quick fix is just a band-aid solution. Worse, we can guarantee that you’ll need another refrigerant top off service again in the future.

Why Does Refrigerant in AC Need A Top Off?

Your air conditioner contains refrigerant that recirculates through components to provide you with cool air. All air conditioning systems have an ideal quantity of refrigerant required to function as expected. You’ll encounter problems if you have too much or too little refrigerant in the system. 

It’s important to remember that AC refrigerant is not a fuel nor is it akin to a battery charge. You will not need to fill up your refrigerant every year in order for it to operate.  

AC refrigerant is more like the air inside of a tire. Tires don’t work well when they are low on air pressure, and over inflating tires can cause damage as well. You need just the right amount of air pressure. If there is a tiny leak, filling a tire up with plenty of air can give you just enough of a safety net to get to a repair shop. And once you’re there, the mechanic can either patch your tire or recommend a replacement.

Air conditioners, too, can get leaks. Leaks are a common side effect of system wear and tear. If the refrigerant in your system is low, it’s a sure sign of a leak. 

HVAC professionals have many methods to locate the leak, but occasionally the leak could be in a location that’s difficult to reach or in a component that cannot be repaired and must be replaced. Topping off your refrigerant is a stopgap to get the system cooling again but beware – because without repairing the leak, your system is actively losing refrigerant. 

Ultimately, it’s critical to deal with the root cause of the problem by sealing the leak or replacing the component. Otherwise, you will need a refrigerant top off again and again. 

What’s So Bad About A Refrigerant Top Off? 

You might be in conversations with an air conditioning professional that wants to repair your system, when you just want to pay for the refrigerant top off. Rest assured: repairing the leak is the way to go.

If you’re only topping off the refrigerant and not repairing the leak, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to call the technician back out again to charge up the system with more refrigerant. If the leak is microscopic, the refrigerant will leak slowly. Larger leaks, the chemical will dissipate quickly. Repairing the leak is the best way to protect your comfort – and your wallet. 

Also, refrigerant fluctuates in pricing. This is particularly true if your AC was installed over 10 years ago and uses a specific refrigerant blend called R-22 (or better known as the brand name, Freon®). The federal government has discontinued the import and production of R-22, making it more scarce to find and thus, more expensive. That can make your regular refrigerant top off a pretty spendy repair. Read our Homeowner’s Guide to the Freon Phaseout for more information. 

Call Brody Pennell to Solve Your Refrigerant Leak

Our team is adept at finding and sealing refrigerant leaks. We are up-to-date on the latest technologies available, which translates to fast and affordable AC leak repairs for Los Angeles homeowners. We also offer AC maintenance services which includes a check on your refrigerant charge. That means we can catch and repair any leaks before they cause real problems for your comfort. And in the case your system is beyond repair, we can provide a quote on an AC replacement. We’re here to help – contact us anytime.

Here at Brody Pennell, we do air conditioner installations and AC replacements pretty much every day. But we know that this process is new to you. In fact, most homeowners will replace an air conditioner just a few times in their lives! With that in mind, we’ve created this blog to help set expectations for your new AC install. You’ll learn how to prepare, what to expect day-of, and how to keep your AC running in top-notch condition after we leave. 

How To Prepare Your Home For AC Installation

We encourage all homeowners to prepare ahead of time for their new air conditioner installation. With your help, we can ensure our visit goes fast and smoothly.

  • Clear Access to Outdoor Unit – We’ll need a clear and direct path to the location of your existing condenser unit and/or where the new unit will be installed. You can help us by unlocking gates, clearing away overgrown bushes, and moving any yard furniture or other items that would be in the pathway of our install team.
  • Check the Indoor Pathway – Do a quick visual scan of the pathway from where we’ll park our truck all the way to where we’ll install your new indoor unit. It will be an immense help if you can move any small furniture pieces or indoor plants ahead of time. If there are any items hanging on the wall that are especially fragile or require special care, relocate them for the time being. 
  • Clear Clutter – Over the years we have noticed many of our customers love to store things near their air conditioners! You can save our team a lot of time by relocating your holiday decorations, vacuum cleaner, or any other clutter you have stored next to or nearby the equipment. We’ll need at least 6 feet of clearance on all sides of the equipment. This is the perfect excuse for some spring cleaning! 
  • Arrange to Be Available on Install Day – We need an adult over 18 years of age onsite at your home to supervise the install. 
  • Make a Plan for Your Pets – We’ll be making some loud noises, entering and exiting doors, and loading in some heavy equipment. For the safety of your animals, please secure them to a closed-off space in your home. Remember – we’ll be working outside, too, so your yard may not be the best option. You might treat your pets to a day at a local pet daycare!
  • Arrange for Childcare – For your family’s safety, children should remain far away from our working areas. If possible, plan for children to be out of the home for the duration of the install. 

What To Expect the Day of Your New AC Installation

The day is here! Cool comfort is heading your way. Most air conditioner installations will take about 8 hours to complete. The length of the job varies depending on type of job (install in a new construction home or replacement of existing AC). 

You will receive a text message and email reminder the evening before your appointment. The message will provide you with your arrival window. On the day of your air conditioner install, you’ll receive an email and a text when our technician is on the way. The message includes a GPS tracking link so that you know the exact location and estimated time of arrival. Now’s the time to secure your pets and make sure any other family members are safely away from the working area. 

Our team will arrive on-time with your brand new air conditioner and everything required for installation. The lead installer will introduce themselves and inspect the paths leading to the equipment installation area. The team will lay drop cloths and floor coverings to protect your home. Every Brody Pennell technician will be wearing shoe covers inside your home to prevent tracking in any dirt or dust from outside. Then we’ll get straight to work! 

Relax! A new, energy-efficient air conditioning system is just a few hours away.

As we wrap up for the day, our team will be sure to show you how to operate your thermostat with your new system. We’ll pick up all of our drop cloths and floor covers, and clean up any dust or debris produced from our installation work.

How To Take Care of Your New AC System

Congratulations! You have a brand new home appliance. Just like any other machine, the wear and tear begins from Day 1. The best way to take care of your new air conditioner is to schedule annual AC maintenance. Regular tune ups are required by air conditioner manufacturers to keep your warranty intact.  We strongly recommend all homeowners join our Brody Comfort Club – which includes automatic scheduling of your 26-point air conditioning precision tuneup. Ask your installer for details on how to sign up! 

From all of us here at Brody Pennell, welcome to the family! We look forward to serving you for many years to come. We’re Here For You: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Call it intuition – or just being observant – but most Los Angeles homeowners know when there is a problem with their central heat. It’s like the furnace is trying to tell them that there is a problem. But besides that pit-of-your-stomach feeling, there are some sure signs that your furnace is just not working right. 

Your System Isn’t Heating 

Let’s tell it like it is, shall we? If your heater isn’t heating, that’s a sign that something is wrong. So if you wake up feeling chilly and you’re sure your thermostat has power, all signs point to a repair. 

Similarly, if your furnace is cycling on and off frequently, it could be cause for concern. Many times this is a simple fix, but it definitely shouldn’t be ignored. Short cycling could be an indicator that your system is near the end of its life. If that’s the case, now is a good time to research a new heating system. It’s better to do that research while you still have some heat, than when you’re stuck in the cold and trying to make a quick decision. 

Unusual Noises or Odors

It’s important to use all your senses when troubleshooting heaters. Besides how you feel (too hot, too cold, or juuuust right) you should also consider the sounds and smells. A furnace that is rattling or making other noises is a definite indicator that there is a problem. Another sure sign? If your carbon monoxide monitor is beeping away. Take any CO alert seriously: carbon monoxide is both colorless and odorless, so it’s not always apparent there’s a problem.

Colors of the Flame

Another warning signal is the color and shape of the flame. If your heater is in good condition, the flame visible through the opening in your furnace should always be a pretty hue of blue. That’s indicative of a system that’s stable and burning clean. 

An abnormal flame inside your furnace is one that appears to be yellow or orange. When a burner gets dirt built up in or around it, yellow to orange flickering flames will be present. But a dirty burner is not always the reason for an unstable or yellow flame; these can also be signs of a gas leak or other problem. 

Don’t Wait to Call For Repair

Any of these problems – or a combination – could mean a major dollar sign in the future. And remember, broken furnaces don’t heal themselves. In fact, holding off on repair can make things worse and more costly in the long run. Call Brody Pennell for heater repair and we’ll resolve your problem quickly. 

Many issues can be avoided by scheduling an annual furnace maintenance and keeping up with it year over year. The best way to stay on top of these things is with an HVAC maintenance agreement like our BPM club! It’s a simple and easy way to make sure your furnace stays in tip-top condition for the long run. Whether you need repair today or if you’d like to schedule a tuneup, we’re here for you. Contact us today!

On. Off. On. Off. The heater clicking on and off is not only annoying – it may be cause for concern! So, what exactly could be the cause for a heating system to shut off repeatedly? To answer this question, it is important to understand the typical operation of a heating system. 

Heating System Cycle for Los Angeles Homes

The average on/off cycle for a heating system is three to six times an hour.

Most homes in Los Angeles have a central heating system, like a furnace. The furnace turns on and off based on signals from your thermostat. When your thermostat senses that it is too cold, your heater turns on. And once it’s warm enough, your heater turns off. It’s normal for this cycle to happen several times an hour. 

If a unit is going through its cycles more often, we call that short-cycling. Short-cycling is just what it sounds like: the cycling on and off is happening faster than we expect. A furnace that is short-cycling definitely needs repair. Besides it being irritating to hear, short-cycling causes extra wear and tear on your system, leading to a shorter system life. It’s also the cause for higher than normal energy bills. 

Why Your Heating System Is Shutting Off All The Time

Instead of immediately calling for a furnace repair, there’s a chance you can determine and resolve the root cause of the short cycling. Here are a few things to check: 

Thermostat Causing Mixed Signals

Since your thermostat is signaling the furnace, it’s a good place to start troubleshooting. First, check the thermostat and make sure you have set it to operate in heat and at the right temperature. Next, see if the thermostat might be sensing extra heat. For example, is your thermostat in direct sunlight? Or, is it possible there’s another heat source nearby that might cause funky readings? Space heaters and even hair dryers used near the controls or the thermostat might make it sense that the home has reached the set temperature and cause short-cycling.

Clogged Air Filters

You should replace air filters every three months at a minimum, but if you have many people or pets in your home, check them monthly. A clogged filter is one of the most common causes for short cycling. Without proper air flow through the system, warm air cannot circulate through the home as it should and a cold house is the result. The unit works harder than it should without providing the desired comfort, and that can lead to mechanical problems.

Other Reasons for Your Heating System Shutting Off Repeatedly

Why else could your heating system shut off? Heaters are complex mechanical systems, and there are hundreds of components that could be the cause. Some other causes for short-cycling in a heating system are:

  • Undersized ductwork or equipment
  • Corroded flame sensor
  • Objects lodged in air vents or chimney
  • Dislodged air ducts
  • Low refrigerant in a heat pump 

Call in The Experts at Brody Pennell

Our expert team at Brody Pennell will quickly diagnose the cause for your unit short-cycling. Sometimes, the only cure for short-cycling is a new heating system. This could definitely be the case if your heater is not sized correctly for your home and lifestyle. Our comfort consultants at Brody Pennell can say for sure. We offer many affordable options and special financing to ensure you can get the comfort you need. Call us today to learn more about efficient heating options and rebates for Los Angeles homeowners. Book an appointment online with one of our professionals to get your heat pump or furnace fixed right away!

There is only one thing worse than having a faulty furnace: not understanding what the problem is. Furnace and heating systems are extremely complex machines, which is why it is critical to hire a licensed & insured HVAC company for heating repair. Still, there are some common heating problems we see repeatedly.

So what’s the culprit that’s causing your heater to go on the fritz? If we had to bet on it, it’d be one of these five common heating problems:

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat could be the troublemaker. Those wall stats are the brain of your heating system, telling the system when to turn on, when to turn off, and how long to run. Then you have smart thermostats, which can do even more thinking and learning. So when your furnace acts funny, the thermostat is one of the first places to look. 

There are a few indicators that point to an issue with the thermostat: 

  • Digital thermostat has no power
  • System is short-cycling, or constantly turning on and off
  • Heater turns on, but turns off before it warms the entire home
  • Thermostat is changing the setpoint or mode, like it has a mind of its own!

The good news is that thermostat problems are an easy and affordable fix compared to other problems. During a repair, our expert team at Brody Pennell will check your thermostat first – and get it fixed up, or rule it out as the source of the problems.

2. Air Flow Problems

In a central heating system, warmth transfers from the furnace to the living spaces by way of air. So if air isn’t making it to your space, it’s no wonder you’re feeling chilly. 

There are many causes for airflow problems:

  • Problem with the fan stemming from fan motors, belts, and bearings
  • Trouble with the ductwork, like a blockage or leaks in the ducts
  • Issue with the grilles, vanes, or internal dampers causing unbalanced airflow

No matter the cause, if you have an airflow problem it can cause furnace overheating or poor heating control. One way you can test whether you have an airflow problem is by holding your hand or a piece of tissue up to the supply grilles. The amount of airflow should be about even from any outlet in your home. 

3. Clogged or Dirty Filters

Yes, a clean air filter really does impact the performance of your heater. One of the most common heating problems we see is a dirty, clogged filter. Not only is that bad for your IAQ, but it can seriously impact the energy usage and heat production of your heater. 

Filters are beneficial for keeping the air in your home clean. But left too long without replacing, and they can become an airflow obstruction. Replace your filters every 3 months at minimum. You should replace air filters more frequently if you have a household pet that sheds, or anyone in your household suffers from indoor allergens. 

4. Furnace or Heating System Pilot or Ignition Control Problems

For furnaces that generate heat using natural gas, there is a small flame that is kept lit all the time. We call this the pilot light. When the furnace turns on, it releases gas to the main burner, and the pilot light ignites the gas to provide heat. 

An issue with your pilot light or ignition can cut out heat altogether, or they can cause intermittent heating throughout the home. A reliable contractor with plenty of experience, positive reviews, and industry credentials will be able to spot and repair this problem right away. 

5. Lack of Maintenance

Just like any other important piece of equipment or electronics that you own, your HVAC system and furnace requires maintenance. Skipping on routine maintenance can lead to costly and unexpected breakdowns, and increased energy consumption and bills.

Unfortunately, maintenance is the type of thing you really wish you would have done… once it’s too late. At Brody Pennell, we know Los Angeles homeowners have much more on their mind than scheduling HVAC maintenance. That’s why we have the BPM Club, a membership program which ensures you get your annual AC and heating maintenance along with many other benefits. We’ll be the ones to remember to take care of your equipment, year-round.  

We Can Handle All the Common Heating Problems – And More

Brody Pennell is an established Los Angeles based business, serving our beloved city since 1945. You can bet we have the knowledge and experience to tackle any heating problem – whether it’s one of these common heating problems or a completely different issue. Call us and ask for an opinion – we’re friendly! If you’re ready for honest, old-school service, with the latest training and certifications, call Brody Pennell. Whenever you need us, we’re here.

Are you an optimizer? A maximizer? A person who wants to squeeze every ounce of value out of an investment? This blog is for you! Today we’re talking about how to make the most out of your home’s HVAC system.

These tips and tricks are great for anyone that wants to ensure top performance of their heating and cooling system. The fact is that it’s not always about the HVAC unit you have, but action (…or inaction) you take to interact with it. By understanding more about how your choices impact your home’s heating and cooling performance, you can save energy and money! 

Be Aware of Changing Energy Needs

We have all experienced the frustrating feeling of being in a dark room where there’s only one option for lighting: ON, with so much brightness it makes you squint! Sometimes we want that full illumination – like if you’re looking for a missing item. But often in the evening hours, it’s nice to have the option of a dimmer switch, or smaller lamps with a softer glow. And during the daytime, you may only need a bit of light to supplement the sunshine. The moral of the story is that your needs for lighting change throughout the day. 

The same is true for your air conditioning and heating. During certain parts of the day, week, and year, your HVAC will use more or less energy. Comfort cooling and heating systems run more frequently and for longer periods in the winter and summer months. Also, your home may need less cooling or heating during the week when the family is out of the home for work or school. 

If you’re serious about making the most of your heating and cooling system, you need to install a programmable thermostat. That will allow you to change the temperature setpoint automatically depending on your changing energy needs. To take it a step further, new smart thermostats can allow remote access to your thermostat via your smartphone. 

One more tip: don’t forget to set back your thermostat when you are leaving your home for several days at a time. 

Preventative Maintenance

The very best thing you can do to improve the long-term performance of your heating and cooling system is to ensure you get maintenance every single year. Your HVAC unit is a mechanical device with plenty of moving parts. It needs a professional service annually to ensure top performance and the highest efficiency. 

We strongly recommend partnering with a reputable HVAC company with a preventative maintenance program. One of the most valuable benefits of a maintenance program is that the company will track your service schedule for you. Here at Brody Pennell, we also take pictures of your equipment and track performance over time, which can help us provide faster and more accurate service. Plus, our members receive other benefits, like 24/7 emergency service and extended appointment times. 

There’s a reason that manufacturers require annual service as a part of warranty agreements. Maintenance helps maintain the performance and reliability of your equipment. It’s that simple!

Investing In Higher-Quality Equipment

When it comes time to replace your equipment, consider investing in the highest quality systems.  The best HVAC systems today have new technological advances that make them more efficient, work better, and break down less than the HVAC systems of years ago. 

For example, the Carrier Infinity Systems with Greenspeed Intelligence offer performance features unmatched by any other system on the market. When you invest in a premium system, you’ll get enhanced durability, improved serviceability, and outstanding energy efficiency. 

Because of the extreme energy efficiency, these high-caliber systems often qualify for discounts and rebates. Plus, financing can ease the burden of a new HVAC purchase. You can get the comfort and efficiency of a new system now, and pay later.

Beyond Tips and Tricks: Call Brody Pennell

Brody Pennell is an award-winning heating and air conditioning company that has served Los Angeles since 1945. We are the longest-standing Carrier dealer in the LA area, so you can trust that we are a reputable company. How can we help you? Contact us today!

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill. It’s something we take very seriously as a provider of repair, service, and installation of heating systems, because furnaces are a source of carbon monoxide gas. Here at Brody Pennell, we see this as a very important health and safety issue. Homeowners should have a full understanding of the dangers of carbon monoxide and know what the warning signs are of CO poisoning. And most important of all, what you can do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your household. 

How is Carbon Monoxide Produced?

Carbon monoxide is found in the fumes of any fuel-burning device. The gas is created when there is an incomplete combustion of fossil fuels or hydrocarbons. It’s normal for fuel-burning equipment to produce carbon monoxide; the problem is more in how the CO is dispersed. 

Since the gas is poisonous to living beings, it’s important to ensure that systems are in place to remove any carbon monoxide gas to the outside air. Some examples of this include the exhaust pipe on a car, or the chimney on a fireplace. When these exhaust systems become blocked, enclosed, or leak, it becomes a safety risk. 

The most common sources of carbon monoxide include: cars with gasoline or diesel engines, stoves, furnaces that use heating oil, grills, lanterns, furnaces, and any other item that works by burning fuel. 

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Since carbon monoxide has no color or smell, you may not even be aware when the air in your home has high concentrations of the gas. So, it’s critical to be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning. 

The onset of symptoms is usually gradual, and sometimes the individual may not be fully aware that it’s even happening. The most common symptoms include: 

  • Dizziness, headache, and fatigue
  • Nausea, upset stomach, and vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of alertness or consciousness
  • Weakness

As you can see, these symptoms are very similar to other conditions. A person might think they have the flu or a bad migraine. That’s what makes carbon monoxide poisoning so dangerous. Many people who suffer from CO poisoning do so while intoxicated, sleeping, or even just sitting in a chair. 

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Home

While CO poisoning may have serious consequences, prevention is actually very easy. 

Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector. It is your first – and best – line of defense in detecting high levels of carbon monoxide. According to the EPA, locate your carbon monoxide detector at least 5 feet above the floor and nearby sleeping areas so it can wake you up in the night. Although it might make sense to put it right next to the garage doorway or near your furnace, that may trigger false alarms. Finally, remember that every floor in your home needs at least one carbon monoxide detector. 

Here are some other ways to prevent CO poisoning at home: 

  • Make sure heating appliances, such as stoves and furnaces, are well-vented. This will prevent accumulation of carbon monoxide in the room.
  • Schedule heating maintenance annually and make sure the service is done by a qualified HVAC contractor.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors or underneath an overhang.
  • Do not use a fuel-burning generator indoors, in a garage, or underneath an overhang
  • Ensure the doorway to your garage is well-sealed and never run a vehicle with the garage door closed.
  • Improve the ventilation of your home by opening screened windows on a nice day or adding a mechanical ventilator to your HVAC system. 

Keep Reading About Carbon Monoxide:

Tips For Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your HomeShould I Be Concerned About Carbon Monoxide In My Home?

When hiring an HVAC service technician, there are many credentials you should look for to ensure quality work. A contractor that is committed to excellence will employ NATE-certified technicians. So, what is NATE certification anyway? 

What is NATE Certification?

The non-profit organization North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is an independent association serving the HVAC industry. NATE is primarily a certifying organization, so their primary purpose is to certify installation and service technicians. 

NATE is the only nationally accepted certification program for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. It is endorsed by the entire HVACR industry, the technicians themselves, manufacturers, contractors, and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, ACCA. It is the culmination of years of effort by the ACCA and other industry stakeholders to come up with a single, nationwide certification.

Although NATE is a voluntary certification, tens of thousands of technicians are certified to date, and the number continues to grow. However, not all candidates who attempt the test pass it the first time; in fact, close to 35% of all those who take it fail. This is a strong indication that those who pass are the very best in the trade in terms of skills, experience, and knowledge of heating and cooling installation and service.

What Are The Levels of NATE Certification?

There are many types of certificates awarded by NATE:

  1. Ready-to-Work Certificate – this is the first step of the certification and is for entry-level technicians just beginning their career in the industry.
  2. HVAC Support Technician Certificate – once a technician has worked in the field for 6-12 months, they will have gained enough knowledge and experience to earn the HVAC Support Technician certification.
  3. Specialty Certificates – technicians can earn certificates in specialty topics. These certificates can then be used to qualify for NATE certification or HVAC Efficiency Analyst certification.
  4. NATE Certification – this is the gold standard of the certifications that NATE offers. Technicians must pass a rigorous series of exams and demonstrate a deep level of knowledge on speciality topics.
  5. HVAC Efficiency Analyst – this is a senior certification and is intended for the most experienced of technicians. To qualify for this level, a technician must already hold two NATE specialty topic certificates.

Homeowners should ensure professionals they hire have earned NATE certification. Individual certificates are not the same as NATE certification. You can verify a technician’s certifications on NATE’s website.

Earning NATE Certification

Technicians earn NATE certificates by passing  several knowledge–based tests. To reach NATE certification, technicians must pass a core exam. The core exam is 50 questions and covers topics like construction safety, HVAC science, tools, and measurement taking.  In addition, candidates must take a specialty test with 100 multiple–choice questions focused on one or more of the following specialties:

Installation Specialties: 

  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Distribution
  • Air to Air Heat Pump
  • Gas Heating (Air)

Service Specialities:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Distribution
  • Commercial Refrigeration
  • Heat Pump (Air to Air)
  • Gas Heating (Air)
  • Hydronics Gas
  • Hydronics Oil
  • Light Commercial Refrigeration
  • Oil Heating (Air)
  • Efficiency Analyst

What Does NATE Certified Mean to Homeowners?

Homeowners who hire NATE certified technicians can enjoy greater peace of mind and home comfort. Other benefits to the homeowner include:

  • A job done right the first time
  • Lower power bills due to proper installation and service
  • Fast, reliable and efficient service
  • Fewer warranty returns and callbacks
  • The HVAC system will run at peak efficiency
  • Expert advice from an experienced and knowledgeable technician

NATE certification tests take the form of real working scenarios of HVACR systems, and they positively impact contractors, manufacturers, distributors, trainers, utilities, consumers, and the technicians themselves. An NATE certificate is an impressive addition to a technician’s resume, since up to 90% of homeowners prefer working with certified technicians.

If you want to get the most out of your cooling and heating system, call an NATE certified technician and schedule a maintenance inspection. Brody Pennell proudly employs NATE-certified technicians and supports their continuing education requirements. For HVAC service you can trust, call your friends at Brody Pennell!