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Basic Air Conditioning Troubleshooting, A Mesa Home AC Tip Sheet

air conditioning troubleshootingSteps Your Tech May Take When Your Mesa Home AC Fails to Cool Properly

Troubleshooting a Mesa home air conditioning unit often exceeds the technical know-how of the average homeowner. Yet knowing a bit about the process can help you to better understand the reasons behind the A/C troubleshoot steps as performed by your local HVAC service tech. This doesn’t mean that you should annoy the tech with an over-the-shoulder gawking. However, many mechanical professionals tend to take a bit of pride in helping the homeowner better understand the basics of air conditioning troubleshooting.

Different Stages of HVAC Troubleshooting

When a tech arrives on site, they sometimes find a system that is either dead or acting dead. This means the tech will be checking breakers, disconnects, fuses, and other power-related heating and cooling system problems. Yet more often than not, “dead cooling” does not include a dead power source.

In this lesson on basic A/C troubleshooting, we want to focus on a unit that runs but fails to efficiently cool your home. So here are some of the points that your local Mesa air conditioning tech will likely investigate.

Steps That Should Precede the Connection of A/C Gauges

1) Evaporator and Condenser Fans – To cool effectively and consistently, the motors installed in your home A/C system must be rightly designed for the unit. This means the tech needs to check the fans to ensure that they are of the correct horsepower. Also, although it may seem a no-brainer, the testing must also ensure that the fans are set to the specified rpm and that they are turning in the correct direction. Cleanliness and size is also important. So expect the tech to confirm that your blower blades are right-sized, right-pitched, and clean.

Arizona Repair or Replace Air Conditioning Troubleshooting2) Air Flow – To provide persistent and reliable Mesa home cooling, the condenser on your A/C unit must be supplied with normal outside air. This means the tech needs to ensure that no other devices are pumping hot air against the condenser. Checking the condition of the system filters is also part of the preliminary air conditioning troubleshooting process. You may also see the A/C tech investigating the condition of your evaporator supply and return ducting. You don’t want to lose cool air due to leaks in the ducting. Neither do you want the system drawing in warm outside air into the ducts.

3) Cleanliness – We already talked about making sure the blower fans are clean, but the tech will go further. He or she will also investigate and ensure that both the condenser and the evaporator coils are clean and that nothing is blocking the expected rate of airflow.

Connecting the HVAC Testing Gauges

Please note that the gauges and pressure checking tools should not be the first tools called into use. Failing to eliminate fundamental problems ensures that the A/C troubleshooting gauges will return incorrect pressures and temperatures. However, once the tech is ready to connect the gauges, the process should be somewhat as follows:

1) Refrigerant – The HVAC testing gauges are in place. The pressures are equalized, and the unit is switch off. Now the tech verifies that your Mesa home A/C contains the specified level of refrigerant. To perform this test, he or she will take a temperature reading of the evaporator coil. What is he or she looking to see: A reading that matches the chart or the pressure/temperature reading on the low side of the testing gauge.

2) Checking the System Operating Pressures – During this stage of the testing, professional air conditioning technicians run the unit until temperatures drop to near 5 degrees above the spec temperatures of the unit in question. What he or she expects from the gauges:

  • Suction pressure ranging between 35 to 40 degrees below return air
  • Superheat at the compressor within 20-30 degrees
  • 20-35 degree discharge pressure above ambient
  • A 20-30 degree rise in air temperature through the condenser
  • A 15-20 degree drop in air temperature through the evaporator
  • At the outlet of the condenser or the receiver, a 10-15 degree subcooling readout

All Test Well Yet The Mesa home A/C Still Fails To Cool Correctly

By now, the tech has either asked you to “give some space” or he or she has shown you what to look for when reading the HVAC gauges. But now… All checks well yet the system still fails to cool your home.

Check the Capacity – This means the tech will now to investigate the web bulb returns on the air as it enters and leaves the evaporator. There will be some calculations involved. And unless the tech has the memory of an elephant, he or she will pull out an enthalpy conversion table or a pshchrometric chart. What exactly is being tested: How much btu of heat is being absorbed by the evaporator. The tech is making a comparison between the running capacities of your system against the design capacity of your system. This helps the A/C tech determine whether your Mesa home cooling system is sufficient to handle your home. Any system that is operating within reasonable range of the design capacity but still fails to persistently and efficiently cool a given space is just plain too small for the task.

So now that you are up-to-snuff on basic air conditioning troubleshooting, call in your local Mesa home AC service team. Contact American Cooling and Heating today.




  1. Any HVAC service should only be performed by a licensed, fully trained, and competent person and/or company.

  2. The contents in this article reflect accumulated data from various sources. ACH cannot and does not accept any legal responsibility to any person in respect of anything or the consequences of any reader responses, actions or lack of actions associated with reliance upon the whole or any part of this article and its content. All trademarks, logos, and associated content displayed are the property of their respective owners.


Air Conditioning Efficiency – Are Attic HVAC Systems Efficient?

Trane 2014 HVAC DealsThe Value Of Air Conditioning Your Attic

In a recent report concerning home air conditioning efficiency, the U.S. Department of Energy challenged the wisdom of locating HVAC systems in an unconditioned attic (1). So what brings about this challenge to conventional A/C handling methods? Why would anyone want to air condition a space that is not used for personal comfort? If typical U.S. housing construction involves placing the A/C air-handling unit in unconditioned attic space, what benefits can be achieved by flipping the coin?

Well, live and learn.

According to Energy.Gov, placing components of your home HVAC system within the non-vented control of an unconditioned attic can actually increase heating and cooling-related energy consumption by as much as 10%. Several reasons promote this concept. However air loss due to A/C duct leakage may be the major factor. Current research evidences that duct air leakage often exceeds twenty percent of the regulated airflow. And that, my friend, results in a significant and controllable loss of energy.

The evidence is in: Placing your indoor home HVAC components within a non-vented insulated and conditioned attic or crawlspace can provide a substantial reduction in energy expenditure. Although the attic may not be used as home living space, capturing and retaining the loss air flow results in improved home heating and cooling energy performance. However, fully sealing the attic tends to defy traditional house building codes. And we all know that things that defy tradition trigger an automated human resistance to change. So after years of being directed to construct your home with installed attic ventilation, why should we accept this notion of change?

New Understanding of Air Conditioning Efficiency

Perhaps you are unaware of current construction changes as they relate to the air conditioning industry. However thanks to Building America, since 2006 the practice of constructing vent-free fully insulated attics has been an accepted home construction building code. For over twenty years, the U.S. DOE has sponsored the Building America program as a focus for helping study and promote innovation in residential building construction. The introduction of non-vented attics is just one more successful endeavor. The primary purposes of Building America include promotion of:

  • More affordable energy
  • Greater product reliability
  • Enhance product performance
  • AND Better home comfort.

Along with other various energy-focused products and home design, Building American partners with world-class HVAC industry and HVAC research leaders to raise the standards in home air conditioning and A/C product performance.

Air Conditioning Efficiency Enhanced By Non-Vented Well-Insulated Attics

Ventilation enables moisture as well as warm air to escape from an attic. When attic-installed A/C equipment is not involved in the equation, vented attics with a well-sealed and insulated ceiling decks prove to be very efficient for helping reduce the cost of home air conditioning. However, if HVAC equipment, including air conditioning ductwork, is installed in the vented attic of an Arizona home, the energy consumption of that home may actually increase.

Yet conditions to exist. If your Arizona air conditioning is installed in a home not purposefully constructed for a non-vented attic, updating to new standards can be costly and difficult. For example: standard home roof structures often include slopes that are inadequate for installing attic-wide top plate installation. Furthermore, the typical home attic includes installed flues, hatches, water piping, electrical wiring, and various difficult-to-work-with knee walls and ceilings. Unless your attic can be completely sealed, some measure of air leakage is unavoidable. The result: an increase demand on your heating and cooling system.

Funds spend to increase Arizona air conditioning efficiency may actually increase your problems. It humid air from your living quarters escapes into a non-vented and conditioned attic space, condensation and moisture against the cold roof sheathing may become a potential calamity of accumulated mold and mildew. On the other side of the scale, if inside warm air seeps into a sealed and conditioned home attic it can heat the roof deck and result in an increased winter risk of ice dams.

In conventional vented attics, installed HVAC components are routinely exposed to the current external temperature extremes – extremes that may well increase due to additional complications related to home attics. Insulating and effectively sealing along the roof line of your home can provide better:

  • Energy efficiency and savings
  • Increased moisture resistance
  • Reduced risk of wood rot and mold
  • A more secure storage space
  • And better wind resistance as well as increased fire and rain protection for your entire roof.

American Cooling and Heating – Arizona Air Conditioning Efficiency Experts

Maybe you are not certain about the conditions of your attic installed Arizona A/C equipment. Perhaps comfort in the living quarter is not a problem, yet the cost of staying cool seems out of hand. We can help. Call now for your appointment with a bonded, licensed and insured Arizona HVAC professional. The team at American Cooling and Heating is ready to provide 24/7 A/C repair, A/C replacement, and A/C evaluation.


 1) Building American, Top Innovations Hall of Frame Profile


HVAC Maintenance Agreements – For the Best in Heat Pump Performance

24 Hour AC Service In ArizonaHeat Pump HVAC Maintenance Agreements For Homes That Don’t Need A Furnace

In this region of unique heating and cooling requirements, Arizona homeowners have come to expect reliable air conditioning services accompanied by flexible HVAC maintenance agreements. The age of one-size-fits-all has pasted us by. Local climate makes heat pump heating ideal for winter use thus the need for additional furnace equipment gets a bit obsolete. It’s just not all that cold during the Phoenix winter.

Cost is also a driving factor behind system choices. For example: By installing a HP-only system, Phoenix regional homeowners gain three important price saving features: They,

  1. Avoid the installation cost of additional Natural Gas and/or HVAC plumbing
  2. Gain more flexible control over temperature management within the home
  3. Get better pricing on HVAC maintenance service contracts.

In this modern society, homeowners want protection with options. They also seek to establish relations with a trustworthy service center. Company performance during and after HVAC maintenance services help homeowners meet these goals. But there is yet much more to be gained. A well-maintained heat pump can provide effective energy-efficient heating and cooling with long-term cost savings that reach far into the homeowner’s future. Furthermore, a clean and functional heat pump helps the environment while also adding value to the home.

A/C Maintenance Checklist

According to the Energy Star home improvement A/C maintenance checklist, homeowners should expect the American Cooling And Heating Is Your Home Comfort Solution In Arizonafollowing services:

  • Examination of thermostat settings to confirm efficient usage of energy resources
  • General electrical check and tightening of all connections, including taking voltage measurements on said connections as well as on motors
  • Lubrication of moving HVAC system components
  • Examination of the system operation, cycling and safety controls
  • Cleaning of condenser a/c coils and evaporator coils
  • Check and adjust of central heat pump / ac refrigerant levels
  • Clean, examine and adjust blower components to ensure adequate and accurate system airflow
  • Examine gas/oil connections and associated functions such as burner combustion, gas pressure and the condition of the heat exchanger.

Note… Homeowners are typically responsible for cleaning and or changing filters.

Precision HVAC Tune-Ups or Professional HVAC Cleaning: What’s In It For The Homeowner?

Although there are several reasons why a Phoenix A/C service center may offer homeowners an HVAC M/A, “repeat business” stands as the primary factor behind this business choice. According to Decision Analyst, the company that holds a homeowner’s maintenance agreement usually gains the order when system replacement comes due. In short, providing an air conditioning maintenance agreement typically eliminates the competition.

But what’s in it for the homeowner?

Due to excess accumulation of dust and dry weather, the typical Arizona HVAC maintenance agreement should also include two inspections per year and a guarantee of priority service. Some contracts also include a special discount on repairs and parts. Another level of M/A services may include a waiver on diagnostic fees. So much depends on the local company, but homeowners should always make certain that their provider offers:

  • 24/7 A/C response time
  • Certified technicians
  • Evidence of HVAC licensing
  • Bonded securities
  • And reasonable A/C maintenance pricing.

Full-Service HVAC Maintenance Agreements

Ok. It’s really not reasonable to expect a full-service warranty agreement on an aged and obsolete heating and cooling system. However, when a homeowner is seeking a maintenance agreement for a system that is still under warranty, the service provider incurs no liability beyond labor. This means that replacement of parts can be priced into the maintenance agreement. It may result in a bit higher pricing, but it can be money well spent.

AND… of course, if the company holding the agreement is also responsible for the Arizona Heat Pump installation of the warranted unit, the options for better coverage become even more acceptable.    



Outdoor Air Conditioning Equipment – How To Hide The Outdoor AC Condensing Unit

Outdoor air conditioning equipment Outdoor Air Conditioning Equipment – An Eyesore and a Life Necessity

In Arizona, outdoor air conditioning equipment seems so common as to be a natural environmental phenomenon. But let’s face it, even with the slick and sleek design of modern exterior HVAC components, the look of a raw and exposed A/C condensing unit remains a bit of an eyesore in your garden and/or entertainment area.

When putting on a backyard cookout for friends and relatives, we sometimes wish the neighbors would accept temporary storage of the outdoor air conditioning components. But even with all complications included, those sometimes bulky hunks of metal that help cool your Arizona home also remain one of America’s favorite major appliances. To stay cool on the inside of your home, you have to have the A/C hardware that makes it happen.

However, it is possible to enjoy the comfort of home air conditioning technology without enduring an intrusion upon your outdoor living style. The following tips will help you conceal, hide or mask the external components of your Arizona air conditioning system.

Conceal Without Hindering: Know The Specs For Your Outdoor AC Condensing Unit

Before leaping into methods for concealing external A/C condensing units, ensure that you do not hinder the efficiency of your functional outdoor A/C equipment. Take time to gather to mind the basics of how an air conditioner system works. Know what keeps the technology efficient and happy. Plan a concealment application that allows the system room to breathe.

The harder your outdoor air conditioning equipment needs the work, the more function space it will require. All equipment that is designed with moving parts generates a measure of heat. However, equipment that moves hot air generates even more heat. The metal casing around your installed Arizona A/C components are perforated so that the system can breath quickly and easily. Adding any type of cover or shield can obstruct the airflow to and from your outdoor air conditioning condensing system.

Here is a basic rule: Before hiding the unit check the restrictions designated by the manufacturer of the HVAC system in question. Make a mistake while concealing your outside air conditioning components, and you may discover that the modifications include hidden repair expenses or an increase in your power bill.

Three Tips For Concealing Outdoor Air Conditioning Components

[houzz=]There it is, the brand new home, and along with it an unconcealed external A/C condensing system. But it doesn’t have to remain that way. Here are some simple ways to make that wonderful comfort necessity invisible, beautiful, or just slightly out of sight.

1) Ready Made Air Conditioning Concealment

Hide Outdoor Air Conditioning ComponentsIt’s easy to locate and install a ready made decorative outdoor screen. Component prices come in as low as $70 and can be purchased in panels that are easily arranged into “L”, “U” or straight line patterns. These ready made outdoor screens are crafted from durable resin materials, typically powder-coated, and designed water-resistant. Common sizes are available for most any application. Installation is simple enough so that any able-bodied homeowner can take care of the eyesore with less than an hour of physical labor.

2) Craft a Custom A/C Concealment Structure

Installing a fence or screen is among the most common methods for hiding outdoor air conditioning equipment from easy view. But maybe the ready-made market just doesn’t suit your fancy. That doesn’t mean you can’t design your own structure. Start by examining the environment and your personal needs. Take cues from some of the free self-styled “hide A/C ideas” tossed out on Pinterest, Houzz and other such sites.

But remember: Before crafting a dedicated structure, keep in mind that you must have space for system ventilation. Then, if the scheme fits, think outside the box. Perhaps merely concealing your Arizona A/C condensing system is a bit short of the greater possibilities. Before designing the air conditioning concealment structure, consider working in space for storing a lawnmower, garden supplies, and more. You might even end up with a structure that that not only disguises the outdoor air conditioning equipment but that also appears as a fully natural extension to your home.

3) Control The Eyes of the Viewer 

E.V.A. Lanxmeer path 2009The best landscape designers know how to guide the eyes. Even if one huge hunkering outdoor air conditioning condensing system occupies some limited area within your garden, a right laid path and uniquely planted greenery can redirect the eyes of your visitor to the beauty of the land rather than the exterior AC box in the corner. It’s a framed view, designed to keep the cooling system in the picture yet out of the viewer’s mind. Although this takes some considerable skill to pull it off, many a homeowner has already accomplished the task. You can too.


Parting Shots – Some Not-So-Well-Hidden Outdoors Air Conditioning Equipment

The following photos offer some rather unique concepts for hiding your exterior air conditioning compFEMA - 284 - Hazard Mitigation - raised air conditioning unitonents. Enjoy…  And if you neŘehenice, Křiváček, air-conditioninged a little help getting your current Arizona HVAC unit up and running, give us a call. American Cooling and Heating is always ready to respond, 24/7. We handle Arizona AC repairs, Arizona AC installations, and much, much more.

   Rackham Building air conditioning

Arizona Home Maintenance – Installing a Trane Air Conditioning System

Being an Arizona Home Maintenance Expert Doesn’t Make Me an Air Conditioning Technician

Arizona home maintenance is time consuming and sometimes difficult but it can also be rewarding and even therapeutic. However, taking on a home handyman job that is outside my comfort zone leaves me feeling frustrated and overworked. Success in such home ventures is about knowing when to act on your own versus when to hire a professional. Sometimes the line gets blurred and I end up tackling a home repair or home upgrade project that exceeds my desire for personal involvement. Installing HVAC equipment falls into the category of no can do and no want to do.

Perhaps you too are the do-it-yourself type. Or maybe you just know a great local handyman. You’re thinking pickup a great deal on a scratch-n-dent heat pump system from the local salvage yard and get it installed for near to nothing. The local Arizona home maintenance man even has experience installing an air handler – did it once for his brother-in-law. But more than likely he is also operating without insurance, adequate bonded funds, or even an Arizona HVAC service license.

Here’s the big scoop on handyman services and A/C installation: If your next home improvement project involves the installation of a Trane Air Conditioning system or any other type of heating and cooling equipment, think long and hard before you eliminate the value of hiring an Arizona HVAC professional installation team. Don’t risk a voided Trane AC warranty, sloppy work, or a future house fire.

Home Maintenance Is One Thing; Installing AC Is Another

Avoiding the trained air conditioning service dealers in Arizona is a bad decision. I’m no stranger to handyman work, plumbing installation, electrical projects or any other construction task. When working in areas in which I lack experience, I know how to do the homework that enables safe, reliable and efficient project management and project completion. I can install and wire a new in-wall oven, a security system, and even an outdoor whirlpool. I can add insulation to the walls, lay brick, and even remove, resize and replace windows and doors.

However, when it comes to heat pumps, furnace systems and air handlers, I am lost. If the work only involved the mechanics and the electronics of the task, installing a new Trane Air Conditioning system would be a project I can handle. But:

  • What about the problem of right sizing the unit to fit my home floor plan and square footage?
  • Where should I locate the registers and is the existing ductwork sufficient for use with new and improved air-conditioning components?
  • What if mold is already present? How do I work with it?
  • Can I mix and match old and new HVAC equipment or should I do a full upgrade?

And what about the model and brand choices? Even if I decide to go Trane on all equipment, which unit or combination of units will most efficiently and effectively fit the exact needs of my home? The options seem endless. For example: Do I go with a:

  1. Trane XR95 with a 95% energy efficient furnace rating at 60,000 btu and with a Trane cased aluminum indoor coil. And a Trane XR13 2.5 ton air conditioner
  2. Trane XV95 with a 97% efficiency 2-stage furnace and a variable speed blower that pumps out 60,000 / 40,000 btu. With a Trane XR15 2.5 ton 15-SEER air conditioner for cooling.
  3. Or does either of the above options even apply to my 2500 square foot, 2-story home?

Even if I had the equipment to perform the right load test and make certain I get the right A/C system for my Arizona home, I still have to consider what options need to be included. Looking at things such as added safety controls, advanced thermostat efficiency, and extended Trane Air Conditioning warranty options seems to make the demand for research endless. I want energy efficient heating and cooling equipment that is sufficient but not wasteful. As such, I buy Trane because of the Trane history for quality and service. But I also pay attention to support and warranty coverage.

If while handling my own home maintenance, I short-circuit the air handler, will the Trane warranty cover the A/C installation errors of a home handyman? No? I think installing a Trane Air Conditioning system is better if left in the hands of an insured, bonded and licensed Arizona HVAC professional.



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