Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog : Archive for the ‘HVAC’ Category

5 Reasons Why Mini Splits Are Mini Wonders

Monday, March 25th, 2024

Mini split is another term for what is also called a ductless system, and it is a spectacular alternative to the ducted HVAC systems you’re probably more familiar with. What is it that makes a mini split so spectacular? We’re so glad you asked! Here are five reasons to be amazed by ductless mini splits.

Continue Reading

How Long Do Heating Systems Last?

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023

When you find yourself in the market for a new heating system, one question that undoubtedly crosses your mind is “How long do heating systems last?” It’s a valid concern; after all, you want to ensure you get the most out of your investment. 

At Douglas Cooling & Heating, Alabama’s most trusted heating, cooling, and plumbing company, we get this question a lot. That’s why we decided to create this helpful guide for HVAC systems. Give it a read to find the answer you’re looking for and get to know your heating options a little better.

Which Heating System Is Right For Me?

Each heating system has its own unique benefits. Whether you prioritize energy efficiency, rapid heating, zoned comfort, or versatility, there’s a heating solution out there that suits your specific needs. 


In Birmingham, Alabama, where chilly winters can sometimes catch us off guard, furnaces play a crucial role in keeping our homes cozy and comfortable. These systems are renowned for their efficiency and rapid heating capabilities. Furnaces distribute warm air through ducts, which is a popular choice among homeowners looking for a quick and effective way to combat the cold. 


Boilers provide a reliable and consistent source of heat, making them well-suited for Alabama’s climate. By using heated water or steam, they ensure your home stays warm even during the coldest days. This reliability is particularly valuable when the temperature drops unexpectedly, as boilers can efficiently maintain a comfortable indoor environment. 

Ductless Systems

Ductless mini-splits offer a versatile and energy-efficient option for homeowners in our community. With our region’s varying temperatures, these systems shine by providing zoned heating, allowing you to customize comfort room by room. Whether you want to keep your living room warm in the evening while keeping the bedrooms cooler for a comfortable night’s sleep or vice versa, ductless mini-splits offer the flexibility you need. Plus, their energy efficiency helps you manage your heating and cooling system costs more effectively.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have a unique advantage in Birmingham, where our weather can swing between hot summers and chilly winters. A heat pump can heat and cool your home, making them a well-rounded choice for year-round comfort. In addition to their heating and cooling capabilities, heat pumps are known for their energy efficiency, helping you stay comfortable while keeping energy bills in check. 

How Long Do Heating Systems Last?

Now, let’s answer the question of the hour: How long do heating systems last? 

  • Furnaces: Gas furnaces and oil furnaces typically have a lifespan ranging from 15 to 20 years. Electric furnaces have an average life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. Regular maintenance and efficient operation can help you keep your system running smoothly.
  • Boilers: Boilers are known for their durability and longevity, lasting on average 15 to 20 years, depending on the type. These systems can often operate efficiently for an impressive 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance. Investing in a high-quality boiler can be a smart choice for long-term comfort.
  • Ductless Mini Splits: Ductless mini splits, known for their versatility, typically have a service life of around 20 years. 
  • Heat Pumps: Because heat pumps are used year-round for heating and cooling, they tend to only last between 10 to 15 years.

Factors That Can Impact Your Equipment’s Service Life

Keep in mind that the numbers above are general guidelines. The actual lifespan of your heating system can be influenced by several factors, including the following:

  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including inspections, cleaning, and timely repairs, can keep your existing unit operating efficiently for years beyond the average lifespan.
  • Quality of Installation: Choosing a reputable HVAC technician can make a substantial difference in the overall life of your HVAC system.
  • Usage Patterns: Systems that are in constant use may experience more significant wear and tear on their components and may require more maintenance to maintain their efficiency.
  • Environmental Conditions: Extreme temperatures, high humidity, or exposure to environmental factors can accelerate wear and potentially shorten the system’s lifespan.
  • Manufacturer Quality: Investing in higher-quality HVAC units from a reputable manufacturer often results in an extended service life and better overall performance.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Heating System

No matter what type of heating or air conditioning system you have, there comes a point in its life where replacement becomes the better choice. Here are some clear signs that it’s time for an HVAC replacement:

Old Age

Heating systems, like air conditioners and any other mechanical equipment, have a finite lifespan. If your system has exceeded its average service life, it’s time to consider a replacement. Continuing to rely on an aging HVAC system may lead to reduced performance, increased repair costs, and higher energy bills.

Frequent Repairs

If you find yourself constantly calling for heating system repairs, it might be more cost-effective, not to mention less aggravating, to invest in a new system. Frequent breakdowns and costly repairs can quickly add up, making the prospect of a new, reliable HVAC system more appealing.

Reduced Efficiency

Over time, heating systems can become less efficient, causing your energy bills to rise. If you notice a steady increase in your heating costs without a corresponding increase in comfort, it’s a strong indication that your system’s efficiency is declining, and a replacement may offer long-term savings.

Inconsistent Heating

Uneven heating throughout your home can be a frustrating issue. If certain rooms are consistently colder than others or if you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat to maintain comfort, it could be a sign that your heating system is deteriorating and struggling to evenly distribute heat.

Trust Douglas Cooling & Heating for All Your Heating System Needs

At Douglas Cooling & Heating, we have the expertise to install a wide range of heating systems tailored to your specific requirements. Our NATE-certified technicians take immense pride in delivering top-quality heating installations, catering to both residential and commercial customers throughout Birmingham, AL, and the surrounding areas.

Whether you’re considering boilers, furnaces, heat pumps, or ductless systems, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to check out our flexible financing options for a heater or air conditioner, too!

Moreover, our commitment doesn’t end with installations; we also specialize in repairing all makes and models of HVAC equipment. To significantly reduce the risk of unexpected system breakdowns, don’t forget to schedule annual maintenance tune-ups with our dedicated HVAC technicians. Or, go ahead and enroll in our 24/7 Club right now to be treated to priority service and other exclusive perks! Contact us today to get started.

Continue Reading

Can I Finance My New HVAC System?

Monday, November 20th, 2023

At Douglas Cooling & Heating, we understand that a new HVAC system is a big investment. For many families and business owners, it’s an extremely difficult expense to face. In some cases, people are unable to cover the entire cost up front. However, heating and cooling are not luxuries. They’re essential. And if your old HVAC system isn’t getting the job done, you need a new one.

We don’t want anyone to suffer through uncomfortable or even dangerous temperatures. And we’re prepared to help. What can people do if they’re unprepared to purchase a new HVAC system outright, but they need one right away? Consider these options.

Continue Reading

Why You Need to Schedule Heating System Maintenance Each Fall

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

As the summer season gradually fades away, the cool embrace of fall ushers in the anticipation of warm sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and cozy evenings at home. While you may be reveling in the joys of autumn, it’s also the perfect time to prepare for the inevitable onset of winter. 

Part of this preparation involves scheduling heating system maintenance to ensure your home stays warm and comfortable throughout the chilly months. But have you ever questioned why heating experts want you to do this every year? And what consequences might you face if you neglect it? Stay with us to find out!

The Benefits of Annual Heating System Tune-Ups

Regular heating system maintenance offers numerous advantages, including:

Enhanced Efficiency for Cost Savings

One of the primary benefits of annual heating system tune-ups is the significant cost savings. Regular maintenance ensures your home heating system operates with optimum efficiency, directly translating to lower energy bills. By promptly detecting and addressing issues during routine maintenance, you can prevent them from evolving into costly repairs or even the need for a complete system replacement. 

Reliable Comfort Throughout Winter

With regular tune-ups, homeowners can bask in the assurance that their home heating system will consistently provide comfort throughout the winter months. This peace of mind and reliability ensure that your home remains a cozy and inviting haven even during the chilliest weather. 

Reduced Safety Risks

Another advantage of routine heating system maintenance is the enhanced safety it delivers. Regular inspections and maintenance procedures act as a protective shield against potentially dangerous safety issues. This includes detecting and preventing problems like gas leaks, carbon monoxide leaks, and electrical hazards. 

Prolonged Lifespan for Your Heating System

Regular maintenance undoubtedly extends the lifespan of your heating system. Rather than prematurely facing the financial burden of a costly replacement, you can enjoy many more years of reliable service. 

Warranty Compliance 

Many heating system manufacturers require annual maintenance as part of their warranty conditions. By sticking to a regular tune-up schedule, you meet these requirements, ensuring that you remain covered if any unforeseen problems arise.

Healthier Indoor Air Quality

Annual heating system maintenance significantly contributes to better indoor air quality. Regular service includes cleaning or replacing air filters and thoroughly inspecting system components. This commitment to cleanliness ensures that your heating system doesn’t circulate dust, allergens, or pollutants, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with allergies or respiratory conditions. 

What Can Happen if You Skip Professional Maintenance?

While some homeowners may be tempted to forego professional maintenance to save a few bucks, the long-term consequences can be far more costly and inconvenient. Here’s what you might encounter when you skip regular tune-ups:

  • Reduced Efficiency: As dirt and dust accumulate, your heating system will have to work harder to achieve the same level of warmth. This extra strain results in increased energy consumption and higher utility bills.
  • Frequent Repairs: Without annual maintenance, minor issues can snowball into major problems that require expensive repairs. What could have been a simple part replacement becomes a complex repair job.
  • Sudden Breakdowns: The last thing you want on a frosty winter day is your heating system breaking down. Neglecting maintenance increases the likelihood of unexpected and inconvenient breakdowns.
  • Reduced Lifespan: A heating system that doesn’t receive regular maintenance may wear out much quicker, forcing you to invest in a new system sooner than expected.
  • Safety Risks: Neglected heating systems can pose safety risks, such as carbon monoxide leaks, gas leaks, or even fires, putting your family and home in danger.

What Does a Tune-Up Appointment Entail?

Now that you understand the significance of heating system maintenance, let’s explore what typically occurs during a professional tune-up:

  1. Inspection: A qualified technician will inspect your heat pump, furnace, or boiler thoroughly, checking for any signs of wear and tear, leaks, or blockages.
  2. Cleaning: The technician will clean or replace air filters and other essential components to ensure optimal airflow and efficiency of your home’s heating system.
  3. Lubrication: Moving parts, such as motors and bearings, will be lubricated to minimize friction and reduce wear and tear.
  4. Calibration: The technician will calibrate the thermostat and controls of your furnace or heat pump system, making sure it operates at the desired temperature and efficiency.
  5. Safety Checks: Gas heating systems will undergo safety checks to detect any potential gas leaks or combustion issues. Proper ventilation and the absence of carbon monoxide leaks are also confirmed.

When Should I Have My Home Heating System Serviced?

You should schedule maintenance for your home’s heating and cooling systems at least once a year. The ideal time to schedule your fall heating system maintenance is before the cold sets in. Early autumn, typically in September or October, is the perfect window. By acting proactively, you can make sure your heating system is in top shape when the temperatures drop. 

Waiting until the last minute or neglecting maintenance can lead to unexpected breakdowns on frigid nights, leaving your family shivering in discomfort. Being proactive pays off, as a well-maintained heating system will keep you cozy all winter and save you from the hassle, inconvenience, and extra costs associated with emergency repairs. 

Schedule Your Fall Heating System Maintenance with Douglas Cooling & Heating

Homeowners across Alabama rely on various heating systems to stay cozy during the winter. While not every heating and air conditioning company can handle all these systems, Douglas Cooling & Heating stands out. Our HVAC professionals provide comprehensive repair, installation, and maintenance services for furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, ductless mini splits, and more. You can count on us for all of your heating and cooling needs.

We’ve also made scheduling HVAC maintenance more convenient than ever! We understand that remembering to schedule HVAC system tune-up appointments is an easily forgettable task. When you sign up for our 24/7 Club Membership, we’ll send you scheduling reminders and provide plenty of other perks that make caring for your home’s heating and cooling system year round simple and easy. This is one maintenance program that’s worth it!

For dependable home heating system maintenance in Birmingham, Alabama, and the surrounding area, reach out to the seasoned professionals at Douglas Cooling & Heating today. 

Continue Reading

Can Mini Splits Grow Mold?

Monday, September 25th, 2023

Ductless mini splits are becoming more popular in homes and buildings across the country. They offer a cost-effective and efficient heating and cooling system option without the need for ductwork. However, there is a growing concern among homeowners and business owners about mold growth in their ductless mini split systems. As a leading provider of HVAC services in the area, we feel it’s important to address this concern head-on and clear up any misconceptions about mini splits growing mold.

Can Mini Splits Grow Mold?

The short answer is yes, mini splits can grow mold just like any other HVAC system. Mold growth usually occurs in areas where there is moisture and humidity, such as in air conditioning ductwork, air handlers, and evaporators. Even though mini split systems do not have ductwork, they are not immune to mold growth.

Why Do Mini Splits Develop Mold?

Ductless mini split equipment can be prone to mold growth, which can have negative effects on your health, indoor air quality, and the functionality of your system. Mold in your mini splits can be caused by a few reasons, including:

Improper Installation

One of the most common reasons why ductless air conditioners and ductless heat pump systems can develop mold is due to improper installation. When a mini split is installed incorrectly, it can lead to moisture buildup in the system. When moisture stays in the ductless mini split, water vapor can then become a breeding ground that allows a mold infestation to grow and spread throughout the inside of the air handler unit.

Inadequate Maintenance

Another reason why ductless mini splits can develop mold is due to inadequate maintenance. When filters are not changed regularly or coils are left dirty, it can create a breeding ground for mold to grow. Mold spores thrive in these conditions, and they can quickly spread throughout the system.

Humid Environments

Mini splits located in humid environments with excess moisture in the air may also be at risk for mold growth. If there are high humidity levels in your house, it can create a moist environment that is ideal for mold spores to grow and spread. This is especially true if the mini split is used for extended periods of time without proper ventilation.

Clogged Condensate Drain Line

Another common reason why ductless mini splits can develop mold is due to a clogged condensate drain line. When the drain line becomes clogged, standing water can back up into the system, creating a moist environment that is ideal for mold growth.

Symptoms of Mold in Your Mini Split

Below are some of the common signs that your ductless mini split is growing mold. Being aware of these signs can help you take appropriate action and prevent mold from spreading in your house.

  • Foul smell: If your air handlers smell cheesy or like an old gym bag, this is one of the symptoms of dirty sock syndrome, which is caused by a buildup of dust, dirt, and moisture within the air handler. Dirty sock syndrome is often a sign of the bigger problem of mold in your mini split.
  • Visible mold growth: Shine a flashlight inside the air handler and inspect the blower wheel for visible mold growth. Mold can also present as odd-colored splotches on the fins, filter, and evaporator coil of an air handler.
  • Poor indoor air quality: If your mini split is circulating air that is stale, dusty, or creates allergy-like symptoms, it’s a sign of mold growth.
  • Water leakage: If you notice any water leakage, condensation, or standing water around the indoor unit, mold growth could be the reason behind it.
  • Respiratory problems: People who are sensitive to mold can develop respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath when exposed to mold spores.

The good news is, most of the warning signs of mold growth are easy to detect and can be reported to a professional HVAC contractor to help solve the mold problem. Don’t wait until mold becomes a serious issue; take action at the first sign of trouble.

Regular Maintenance to Prevent Mold Growth

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to avoid mold growth in your mini split system. Regular maintenance is vital to ensuring that your mini split system operates efficiently and remains mold-free. Here are some essential maintenance tasks that will help keep your mini split system in good condition:

Schedule a Preventative Maintenance Tune Up

Regular preventative maintenance tune ups from a licensed HVAC professional can significantly prevent mold growth in ductless mini splits. The preventive maintenance procedures performed by HVAC professionals include mini split cleaning, checking for leaks, deep cleaning of the evaporator coil, and ensuring that the air handlers and heat pumps are running correctly. During an HVAC professional’s maintenance, they also check for any potential causes of moisture buildup, such as clogged drains.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

Dirty mini split air filters can cause mold and other contaminants to accumulate in ductless systems. Make sure to change your ductless system air filters every one to three months, depending on use and the environment.

Inspect the Drain Line

The drain line in your mini split system can become clogged with dirt and debris, leading to standing and mold growth. Inspect the drain line regularly, and clean it out with a brush or air compressor if necessary.

Control Mold in Your Mini Split

Ductless mini split units can grow mold just like other systems, such as an air conditioner or heat pump. However, timely maintenance and preventative measures can help ensure that your mini split system remains mold-free. If you suspect mold growth in your mini split system, call Douglas Cooling & Heating to inspect the system and perform professional cleaning for your ductless air conditioner units. Contact us today to schedule a service appointment or to learn more about our services.

Continue Reading

Should I Have My Ducts Cleaned Due to Wildfire Smoke?

Monday, September 25th, 2023

What a summer we had! Wildfires in more places than ever, burning out of control for long stretches of time, caused smoke to spread all across the country. Weather forecasts included air quality warnings, and people were told to stay inside to avoid breathing the smoke.

But things have gotten better now, right? Well, yes, but all that smoke still had an impact that could be sticking around. Particles that settle out of wildfire smoke can build up inside your air ducts and continue to circulate in your home. What can you do? Get your ducts cleaned!

Continue Reading

How Often Should Commercial HVAC Systems be Serviced

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

Similar to your business where your employees, managers, and administration each have to function individually in order to have a successful team, your commercial HVAC system must be made up of clean, operational equipment. Unfortunately, without regularly scheduled and proper care, your commercial HVAC equipment requires more frequent repairs. Ultimately, poor maintenance causes total breakdowns, which leads to a costly replacement. And no one wants that.

Douglas Cooling & Heating offers premium commercial HVAC maintenance to business owners across Birmingham, AL, and surrounding areas so your commercial HVAC units operate at the same high-quality level as your business. Our routine commercial HVAC service helps you maintain a productive workplace with healthy and happy employees all year round.

Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating for your commercial HVAC needs in Birmingham, AL today.

When Should You Schedule Commercial HVAC Maintenance?

As with your business’ vehicles, IT equipment, and other components, your HVAC system needs regular attention to operate at peak efficiency.

Although each HVAC system—consisting of air conditioners, air filter, and heat pumps—has its own unique requirements, you should generally schedule professional maintenance from our experts twice a year. The best time for maintenance appointments is the spring and fall before the extremes of each season come to Birmingham, AL in full swing.

A newer system that only runs for a single season, such as a furnace, may only require an annual maintenance appointment. But an older piece of equipment or a system that runs year-round, like a heat pump, needs twice-a-year tune-ups to ensure everything is in working order.

Our skilled technicians at Douglas Cooling & Heating can perform regular maintenance at any interval to ensure your commercial equipment always provides reliable heating, cooling, and indoor air quality to your business. 

Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Why is Commercial HVAC Maintenance Important?

As a busy business owner, you may have an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to commercial HVAC service. But investing in preventative maintenance can actually save you time and money in the long run. When your HVAC systems are cleaned, inspected, and repaired on a routine basis, they’re more energy efficient and less likely to experience major issues and breakdowns in the peak of cooling or heating season.

When you choose Douglas Cooling & Heating for your commercial HVAC maintenance, you’ll experience an array of benefits, including:

  • Extended equipment life
  • Fewer repairs and decreased repair costs
  • Lowered utility bills
  • Increased energy efficiency

Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating to experience the benefits of our periodic inspections and maintenance tune ups today.

What Does Our Commercial HVAC Appointment Include?

At Douglas Cooling & Heating, our commercial maintenance appointments are more than a quick visual inspection of your HVAC system or a change of your air filters. We dive deeper into your system, from mechanical equipment to electrical connections, to ensure every single component is operating safely and efficiently.

Our HVAC maintenance appointments often include:

  • Outdoor coil cleaning
  • Indoor coil inspection
  • Electrical inspection
  • Capacitance check
  • Efficiency check
  • Clean burners
  • Tighten connections
  • Check gas pressure
  • Check flue pipe
  • Clean/treat drain line
  • Vacuum air handler
  • Check pressure levels
  • And so much more

Our 24/7 Club Membership

To make accessing quality commercial HVAC maintenance easier than ever for Birmingham business owners, Douglas Cooling & Heating offers our 24/7 Club Membership. While this gives you uninhibited repair and replacement support, our membership also acts as a custom maintenance contract or agreement so you can have peace of mind your equipment will be serviced right every time.

Our club membership includes three different levels of service to choose from, so your unique business needs are always met. Typically, each tier includes one spring maintenance visit, one fall tune-up, and one plumbing visit per year. You’ll also experience the following benefits:

  • Priority service
  • Warranty compliance
  • 10% savings on systems
  • 10% savings on repairs

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating to learn more about our superior maintenance club membership and 24/7 emergency services today.

Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating for Expert Maintenance Today

At Douglas Cooling & Heating, we believe every business owner in our service area of Birmingham, AL, deserves HVAC systems that work as hard as they do. This commitment to your safety and comfort is why we’re the top HVAC company in the area for commercial maintenance. From air conditioning to your heating system, we can help you save money and extend the life of every piece of HVAC equipment your company relies on. Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating to schedule your next commercial HVAC maintenance appointment today.

Continue Reading

How Does a Ceiling Fan Help My AC System?

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

During summer months, Alabama homeowners turn to their HVAC systems for cool relief. However, many homeowners also use ceiling fans to help keep them cool in the summer, but do ceiling fans help AC systems work better? When used correctly, your ceiling fans keep air moving and help your HVAC system keep your home feel cooler and use less energy. The team at Douglas Cooling & Heating explains the many benefits of using your ceiling fan in tandem with your HVAC system throughout the year.

The Function of Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans do not create cool air but can help with the movement of air. Think about it this way: a hot summer day always feels worse when there is no breeze. The same is true for your home. Stagnant air can make you feel hotter than you actually are. Ceiling fans help with the circulation of air in your home and depending on which way the fans are spinning, can be used to help with the comfort of the air in your home in different seasons.

Do Ceiling Fans Help AC System Performance?

In the summer months, ceiling fans help your air conditioning system by reducing the cooling load in your home. As the blades of the fan rotate counterclockwise, they move air downward toward the spaces where we sit, sleep, and live.

This creates a wind chill effect and moves air across your skin. The breeze evaporates moisture from your skin which makes you feel warmer. When a ceiling fan is used, you can raise the thermostat setting by up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit without any reduction in comfort. Therefore, your AC unit gets a break and lessens the odds of requiring air conditioning repair service. This is a great way to help save on energy bills in your Birmingham area home.

Adding to this, ceiling fans also improve the overall circulation of air within a room. By doing so, they ensure a more uniform distribution of cool air, reducing hot spots and cold zones. This means your central air conditioning system doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the space.

It’s also worth noting that ceiling fans are incredibly energy-efficient in their own right. They use significantly less electricity compared to an air conditioner, making them a cost-effective way to stay cool in the summer.

Lastly, by reducing the workload on your air conditioning system, a ceiling fan can extend the lifespan of the unit. Less strain on the AC means fewer breakdowns and repairs, saving you money and hassle in the long run.

So, not only do ceiling fans help the AC system, but they also contribute to energy conservation, cost savings, and the longevity of your HVAC equipment.

Do Ceiling Fans Help Heating, Too?

In the winter, you can use a ceiling fan in combination with your heating system to keep your home more comfortable. Ceiling fans work to evenly distribute the air in the room. In the fall, grab a ladder and look for a switch on the base of the motor on your ceiling fan. Flip the switch to make the blades of your ceiling fan rotate in the opposite direction. When your fan spins clockwise, the fan’s blades draw warm air up toward your ceiling, and the rotating motion pushes this air out toward the edges of the room before circulating back to the ground. With air warmer pooling naturally at the top of a room, this air distribution helps the whole space feel warmer by pushing it back down to reach your body.

You benefit from more of the warmth produced by your heating system. This can reduce the amount of heat needed by helping you benefit from the warm air already produced by your heating system and can reduce the stress on your system. A less stressed system means a lower chance of needing heating system repairs.

Clockwise or Counterclockwise – Which Way Should My Ceiling Fan Turn?

Adjust the ceiling fan blade direction for each season to create the desired warming or cooling effect. Fans have a switch, typically located on the base, to adjust the direction of blade rotation. It is important you select the correct direction for each season to achieve the desired effect. Changing the rotation of your ceiling fan blades is simple, as most models are equipped with a switch on the unit to switch the direction.

In the summer, your ceiling fan blades are set to rotate counterclockwise; in the winter, the blades should be set to rotate clockwise. Ceiling fans shouldn’t be used in the same direction in the winter as they work in the summer. Otherwise, you’ll get the undesirable windchill effect indoors when you’re trying to stay warm.

Don’t Use Ceiling Fans with Your HVAC If…

Whenever a room is unoccupied, you should turn the ceiling fan off. The warming benefits the ceiling fan produces are realized by those in the room. When there’s no one in the room, there’s no need to waste electricity operating the fan. Ceiling fans don’t save energy if they operate in unoccupied rooms.

One exception to this rule exists a ceiling fan located at the top of a two-story stairwell or foyer. As heat rises to the second floor, the ceiling fan moves the stairwell’s heat down to the first floor to add warmth. If you have a two-story foyer or great room which feels cool while upstairs feels warm or stuffy, try a fan. An existing lighting fixture can easily be swapped out with a fan or a fan with lighting.

Using ceiling fans wisely throughout the summer can be a great complement to your HVAC system. Ceiling fans can help you feel cooler indoors and allow your HVAC system to operate less for great energy savings. Be sure your ceiling fan blades are rotating counterclockwise in the summer and you turn off your ceiling fans when a room is unoccupied!

How to Choose a Ceiling Fan

  • Ceiling fans work best in rooms with ceilings at least eight feet high. Optimal ceiling fan installation places blades seven to nine feet higher than the floor and 10 to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Blades should not be closer than eight inches from the ceiling and 18 inches away from the surrounding walls.
  • Choose a ceiling fan appropriately sized for your room. Larger fans are capable of moving more air than smaller models. For rooms of 225 square feet, ceiling fans with a diameter between 36 and 44 inches are sufficient.
  • Larger rooms need a fan with a diameter of 52 inches or more. In rooms longer than 18 feet, multiple fans should be used for the best results.

When It Comes to HVAC Systems – We’re Huge Fans!

These ceiling fan best practices give your HVAC system a needed break this winter and help it operate more efficiently. For more energy-saving tips, schedule service from Douglas Cooling & Heating today.

Continue Reading

Why Does My AC Freeze Up?

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

We may have hot weather, but even in Birmingham, you should know what to do when your AC unit freezes up. It’s so hot outside, how is it possible that my AC has ice on it? Before you call us crazy, it happens frequently.

In this blog, the team at Douglas Cooling & Heating will review why an AC freezes even on the hottest days of the year, and what you should do when you notice this happening. We’ll also include tips to prevent frozen HVAC coils. With our tips, you may avoid an AC repair visit but if you need us, a friendly Douglas Cooling & Heating HVAC tech is ready to help!

What to Do When Your AC Unit Freezes Up in the Summer

Luckily, it only takes 2 steps to restore your air conditioning system back to normal after it freezes. Follow along to help your system.

Step One: Thaw It Out

Turn off your AC unit at the electrical breaker and let the ice thaw. Be advised, it could take a whole day for a frozen air conditioner to completely thaw. Pick a day when you plan to spend time elsewhere, just be mindful of any pets in the house and the forecast. If a day’s rest is impractical, turn the AC off but leave the blower running which will continue to move warm air over the coils and help them thaw.

Make every effort to avoid using the AC while the evaporator coils are frozen. Running the AC with frozen coils strains the AC compressor. The air conditioning system compressor is the most expensive component in your air conditioning unit. The strain may damage this valuable part and set you up for an unplanned expense.

Finally, don’t listen to advice that you should break up the ice with a heavy object or sharp tool. This easily damages components and creates new problems. Instead, you can try to use a hair dryer to help with the melting process.

Step Two: Dry the Coils

Once the ice is gone, dry the evaporator coils. If off, restore the power to your system and turn the blower on. Set the thermostat to only run the blower or fan. This circulates air around and through the coils to dry them quickly.

Once the coils are dry, your system should operate normally. It’s important, however, to prevent it from happening again, even if you now know what to do when your AC unit freezes up.

Why Does My AC Freeze Up?

Air conditioners freeze all the time, but it can be a major inconvenience, not to mention expensive to fix. Many homeowners may not know what causes this issue to arise and how to prevent it. Here are some of the common causes of air conditioner freezes.

Dirty Air Filter

The first common cause of frozen air conditioners is due to restricted airflow. This happens when the air filter is clogged or dirty, and the air conditioner cannot efficiently remove heat from your home. When restricted airflow occurs, the evaporator coils become too cold, leading to the formation of ice on the coils. This problem could be resolved by simply replacing the air filter. Air filters should be changed on a regular basis, usually between every 30-90 days.

Dirty Evaporator Coil

Your AC’s evaporator coil is really just a cluster of refrigerant coils. As the refrigerant passes through, the chemical reaches temperatures as low as 10 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit. During normal operation, warm, unconditioned air passes over the coils. The existing warmth in your household’s air prevents ice or frost formation. If, however, there’s a lack of warm air moving across the evaporator coils, they ice over. The ice even travels along the refrigerant lines. As humid air, which we have a lot of here in Birmingham, meets the coils and condenses, it freezes even faster.

Mechanical Issues

Another reason for air conditioner freezing could be related to mechanical issues, such as a malfunctioning blower fan, which causes the air conditioner to work incorrectly, leading to ice buildup. When these components do not work properly, airflow is restricted and the coils become too cold.

Refrigerant Leak

Air conditioner refrigerant leaks are another common cause of freezing. Refrigerant is the substance that cools the air in your AC. When there is not enough refrigerant in the air conditioning system, it will cycle too often, causing a rapid decrease in temperature and increasing the chances of the evaporator coils freezing. When your refrigerant levels are low, your system has to work harder to cool your home, which can cause the coils to become too cold and freeze up. If your system continues to run with low refrigerant levels, it can cause permanent damage to the compressor, resulting in a costly repair. This problem can only be fixed by a professional AC repair technician.

Using Your AC When It’s Too Cold Outside

Lastly, if the temperature outside is below 60 degrees, and your AC’s temperature is set below 68 degrees, this can cause the evaporator coils to freeze as there is not enough warm air in the house for the AC to sufficiently cool. In this case, it is best to just turn off the air conditioner and wait for the temperature to improve before turning it back on.

Get Help for Frozen AC Issues

If you are asking why my AC freeze up, you might be tempted to try and fix the issue yourself. Beyond changing your air filter and making sure your system is only used when it’s warm enough outside, you should leave the repairs to the professionals. Freezing coils are often a symptom of a larger problem that requires the expertise of a licensed HVAC technician. Calling a professional is not only the safest option; it’s also more cost-effective in the long run.

It’s important to note that while frozen coils are a visible symptom of an issue, the underlying cause may not always be as apparent. A licensed technician has the training and expertise to inspect all of your system components including your blower fan, condensate pan, refrigerant coils, and more to identify the root cause. They will be able to provide an effective solution that will prevent the problem from happening in the future. Working with a professional HVAC company will ultimately save you time and money in the long run. Don’t let your AC continue to freeze up; call Douglas Cooling & Heating for air conditioning system repairs today.

How to Prevent a Frozen AC Unit

Now you know what to do when your AC unit freezes up and the common causes. How can you stop it from happening in the first place? We have some preventative tips to stop ac freezing from happening again.

1. Change Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter is a top cause of a frozen HVAC system. The air filter cleans the air circulated into your home. Over time, it clogs with dirt, pollen, dust, and other allergens. This restricts the airflow and the HVAC coils freeze.

Typically, we recommend you check your filter monthly. Change it as needed. For most folks, this is one to every three months. Filter changes vary based on factors, such as:

  • The type of filter you have
  • Presence of children or pets in the home
  • The season and if you live in a high-pollen count area
  • Whether a household member smokes
  • A household member lives with asthma, allergies, COPD, or congestive heart conditions
  • If you frequently run your system

During regular HVAC maintenance, Douglas Cooling & Heating professionals inspect your filter and will change it for you if a new one is available.

2. Schedule Regular Maintenance to Check Coolant Levels

As part of a seasonal tune-up, a professional HVAC contractor performs a comprehensive inspection. This includes checking coolant levels and charging if necessary.

Think you might have a coolant leak? There are a couple of signs. For example, does your AC blow hot air? Do you hear a hissing? Douglas HVAC techs use measuring instruments to check levels as well. Avoid handling coolant chemicals, because they can be toxic. Leave it to the professionals if possible.

3. Get an Airflow Inspection

Obstructed airflow is a major reason heating and cooling systems malfunction or function inefficiently. Similar to a clogged filter, blocked vent returns and registers prevent adequate airflow.

This causes your system to work harder without a way to release the cooled or heated air. Are vents and registers clear from any obstructions? Your problem may be poorly designed or installed ductwork. In some cases, the ductwork is installed well but the wrong size for your house or the capacity.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating for HVAC maintenance. Our trained professionals inspect your ductwork and offer redesign solutions, if necessary. If there is a clog, like nesting material or other signs of pests, we clear obstructions blocking proper airflow.

4. Clean Evaporator Coils

The condensate lines drain excess moisture from your HVAC system. If there’s a clog in the line, the water becomes stuck and the excess water freezes. With frozen water in your lines, you could be left with frozen HVAC coils as well.

Over time, evaporator coils attract dust, hair, and grime can form a clog. If there is moisture trapped inside the clog, the moisture freezes and the coils freeze as well. Frozen coils restrict airflow. This causes your system to struggle or not work at all.

The best prevention for frozen HVAC coils is to schedule preventive maintenance. Douglas Cooling & Heating checks the evaporator coils and the rest of your unit’s lines during an AC tune-up.

Save money, avoid AC repairs, breakdowns, and a frozen HVAC system in the future with routine air conditioning service.

Call Douglas For Air Conditioner Repairs in Birmingham, AL

A proactive and preventive mindset saves you money throughout the year on your energy bill and keeps your air conditioning running well. If you ever notice your AC unit freezing up, follow our tips to thaw your system yourself, and then call Douglas Cooling & Heating for an AC inspection or repairs.

Continue Reading

Energy Efficiency Upgrades: The Benefits of Upgrading Your HVAC System

Monday, July 17th, 2023

Is your HVAC system functioning poorly, in need of frequent repairs or one big expensive repair, or starting to use more energy as time goes by? Is it getting to an age that you know indicates the end of its life is near? Or perhaps you’re just curious about how much better things could be with a brand-new, top-of-the-line system?

There are many reasons to upgrade your HVAC system, and when you’re considering a big household decision, the first thing you should do is research. We’d like to give you some information about exactly what’s available these days.

Continue Reading