What Are My Choices for Air Conditioning in San Diego?

September 12th, 2014

At some point during your home ownership, it is very likely that you will need to upgrade or replace your home’s air conditioner. The good news is that there are several choices available to you. Your air conditioning is a necessity, so it’s important to know what types of whole-home ACs are available. For over 30 years, Cal-West Air Conditioning has helped multiple customers in San Diego, CA with the installation, repair, replacement and maintenance of all types of air conditioners, and we are here to help you, too.

Choices for Air Conditioning

Here are the air conditioning products Cal-West Air Conditioning carries:

Central Air

A split-system AC has two units: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit, also known as the evaporator unit, contains the evaporator coils and the indoor blower. The outdoor unit contains the compressor, the condenser and the condenser fan. A split-system AC needs ductwork to deliver the cool air.

Ductless Split-System

A ductless split-system has an outdoor unit very similar to that of a traditional split-system AC, but instead of having a single, large indoor unit, a ductless system uses individual blowers to deliver the cool air. The blowers are connected to the outdoor unit via a conduit through an exterior wall. Inside this conduit are the refrigerant line, power cord and condensate pipe. A single outdoor unit can support up to 4 indoor blowers.

Packaged Unit

A packaged unit holds all the air conditioner’s components – the evaporator, condenser, compressor, etc., – in a single metal cabinet. This type of unit can be placed on the ground or on a rooftop. Packaged units are typically used for large homes and some commercial spaces.

Each of the above air conditioners are energy efficient and will affectively cool your home, but to determine which air conditioner is the best match for you, it’s best to work with trained professionals. If it’s time for new AC system in your home, call and schedule air conditioning service in San Diego with the people you can trust: Cal-West Air Conditioning.

How Does an Air Cleaner Help Air Conditioning?

September 5th, 2014

Air cleaners are made to improve your indoor air quality, but did you know that they can also help your air conditioner? There are a few types of air cleaners, as we’ll outline below, but their benefits don’t just extend to you and your family – they also extend to your air conditioning. Of course, without proper installation, you won’t see any benefit at all, so if you are looking to add an air purifier to your system, make sure to call the experts at Cal-West Air Conditioning.

Types of Air Cleaners

There are 3 main types of air cleaners you can add to your existing AC system:

  • Mechanical air filters
  • Electronic precipitators
  • Ion generators

Mechanical Air Filters

Mechanical air filters are square-framed filters that typically fit into a slot in your indoor unit (although not all do). Particles are filtered by the material, or media, that is inside the frame. The amount and type of particles that are trapped by the media depend on the material of the media, and how tightly the material is woven. Mechanical filters need to be changed approximately every 3 months in order to be effective.

Electronic Precipitators & Ion Generators

Both electronic precipitators and ion generators use electricity to capture and remove particles, but each does it a little differently. Electronic precipitators draw particles in with a fan; once inside, the particles enter an ionization section where they become charged. These newly-charged particles are then collected on oppositely-charged metal plates.

Ion generators also charge particles, but do it by dispersing negative ions into the air. These ions adhere to the particles in your air space and are attracted to the surfaces in your home (your surfaces are oppositely-charged). The ions and particles collect on your household’s surfaces and are removed when cleaned.

How Do Air Cleaners Help Your AC?

There are 2 key ways air cleaners help your air conditioner:

  • Better energy efficiency – dust and dirt build-up can restrict air flow in your system, which causes stress. Any time your system is stressed, it uses more power to achieve cooling. Air cleaners help reduce the amount of dust and dirt build-up, allowing for good air flow.
  • Less wear and tear – a system that operates under stress for long periods of time can prematurely age. Air cleaners reduce stress by capturing particles before they can impede the operation of your system.

If you think you and your air conditioning can benefit from the installation of an air purifier, call Cal-West Air Conditioning today and schedule your air conditioning service in San Diego with one of our experts.

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at Cal–West Air Conditioning wishes your family a happy end of summer.

Your Air Conditioner Can Help with Your Air Quality

August 22nd, 2014

Your air conditioner can serve as the foundation for improving your indoor air quality because it is easy to upgrade with air-cleaning components. Your AC already removes humidity from the air as part of the cooling process, but there are several other things you can do with your air conditioning to help improve the quality of air in your home. We understand how important it is to have clean indoor air, which is why Cal-West Air Conditioning offers comprehensive indoor air quality services.

Types of Air Cleaners

There are a few types of air cleaners from which to choose, but they fall into one of three categories:

  • Mechanical air filters
  • Electronic air cleaners
  • UV germicidal lights

Mechanical Air Filters

Mechanical air filters are the most common types of air filters. Set in a square frame, these filters typically fit into the space where your standard air filter resides (but not always). The job of your AC’s indoor air filter is not to improve indoor air quality; rather, it helps keep dust, dirt and debris from entering your system. Mechanical filters are made to improve the air in your living space, and as such, are manufactured with better materials and tighter weaves, and they have higher MERV ratings. HEPA filters are also mechanical filters, but HEPA filters are made in a specific way so that their effectiveness rate – which is 99.97% – is very high. Some HEPA filters can restrict air flow in your system, so it’s advisable to speak with an expert before installing a HEPA filter to your air conditioner.

Electronic Air Cleaners

There are two types of electronic air cleaners:

  • Ion generators
  • Electronic precipitators

Ion generators disburse ions into your air space that charge the particles in your air. These newly-charged particles are attracted to the surfaces in your home, such as walls, counters and tables. This attraction pulls the particles from the air, and they are removed whenever the surfaces are cleaned.

Electronic precipitators also charge particles, but do so via an ionization section that the precipitator creates. Particles pass through this ionization section, become charged, and are then attracted to oppositely-charged metal plates that are part of the precipitator. These plates capture the particles, and need to be cleaned approximately every 3 months in order to fully remove the particles.

UV Germicidal Lights

UV lights do not capture particles, nor do they filter particles; instead, UV germicidal lights purify the air around them by destroying biological contaminants. UV germicidal lights employ the use of UV-C rays. These types of rays destroy the DNA of cells, as well as the life-sustaining proteins every cell needs to survive and replicate. As such, UV lights not only destroy biological contaminants: they also destroy the ability of the cells to reproduce.

How does your air conditioner help with air quality? Each of the above products is for whole-home use, and can be easily installed as part of your air conditioning system. This allows for better indoor air quality without the hassle of room-by-room appliances that need constant monitoring and manual operation. Want to know more? Call Cal-West Air Conditioning today and schedule air conditioning service in San Diego with one of our air quality specialists.

Should I Consider a Ductless AC?

August 15th, 2014

When you picture an air conditioning system, you may immediately think of a two-part system that distributes cool air through a series of ducts. Central AC is the most common form of air conditioning used among homeowners, but another type of system that is growing in popularity is the ductless mini split.

How Does It Work?

Much like central air conditioning, a ductless AC has both an outdoor and indoor unit. However, unlike conventional AC, the outdoor unit of a ductless mini split does not connect to the ducts. Rather, the outside condenser unit connects to one or several indoor air handlers. The indoor air handler contains all of the components of the inside unit of a standard AC. A fan sucks in warm air, which is cooled over the evaporator coil. The fan then blows the cool air into your home.

Who Needs Ductless Air Conditioning?

People choose ductless air conditioning for many reasons. Some homes are not built with any ductwork, and installation may be time consuming. In other cases, homeowners with ductwork choose to add a room to the home and want to cool the room without extending the ducts.

Many homeowners may choose window or room air conditioners which can cool a small area. Unfortunately, the cooling capacity is often too small for most rooms. Furthermore, these units are noisy and inefficient.

What are the Benefits?

Ductless mini split air conditioners, on the other hand, offer many benefits for homeowners. First, they’re far more energy efficient than window air conditioners, and they have a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) than many central AC systems. Additionally, ductless mini splits can heat a home as well. Another great feature of ductless systems is zone control. Usually, multiple air handlers are mounted throughout the home to provide even cooling. Each air handler has its own thermostat so that you can choose to vary the temperature in different areas.

Ductless air conditioning is an efficient source of cooling and heating, but it may not be right for everyone. The best person to talk to about your options for air conditioning in La Mesa is a professional AC technician. Call Cal-West Air Conditioning for questions, installation, maintenance, or repairs today!


Reasons Not To Do Your Own AC Repairs

August 8th, 2014

Calling for air conditioning service is an occasional necessity for most homeowners. Air conditioning systems should receive professional maintenance a least once a year, and your unit will eventually need replacement. Additionally, many air conditioners need repair from time to time, but some homeowners may try to take on the job themselves, skipping the professional service call just this once to try to save a little bit of cash.

Unfortunately, failed “do-it-yourself” fixes are part of the reason many air conditioners need costly repairs later on or premature replacement. If you attempt to repair your air conditioner on your own, you may end up damaging the system beyond repair. Here at Cal-West Air Conditioning, we want your air conditioner to run smoothly for years to come, so we’ve come up with a couple of reasons you should leave air conditioning repair up to the professionals.

The Problem May Not Be What You Think

Many online sources may try to help you fix air conditioning problems yourself by providing helpful tips to diagnose and repair problems. Unfortunately, many problems have multiple possible causes, and the repair you make may not solve the problem. For example, if ice forms along the evaporator coil, you may find information on how to scrape it off. However, this can seriously damage the coil, and it does not address the root of the problem: low airflow. The problem is likely to reoccur until you address the source.

You May Cause Permanent Damage to Your System

Another reason you should leave AC repair up to the professionals is that many home repairs can cause more damage to the air conditioner if done improperly. If you don’t have the right tools to straighten out condenser fins, seal refrigerant leaks, or tighten components, you may cause irreparable damage.

When you run into problems with your air conditioning system in El Cajon, the professionals at Cal-West Air Conditioning can help. We have many years of expertise, so we can fix your AC and let you know of any unseen damages in other areas of your unit. For repairs, maintenance, and more, give us a call today.

What Is a Packaged Air Conditioner?

August 1st, 2014

Whether you need a practical cooling solution for your home or commercial property, a packaged air conditioner may be the right choice for you. Packaged air conditioning units are installed outside of a building or on the rooftop without the need for an indoor unit. This type of AC can benefit many homes or businesses due to ease of maintenance, convenient installation location options, and the ability to cool large spaces.

How Does It Work?

A conventional split-system air conditioner is divided into two parts: the indoor evaporator unit and the outdoor condenser unit. The expansion valve and evaporator are located indoors, while the compressor and condenser coil are outside in the condenser unit. Refrigerant cycles through all of these parts, removing heat from the home and releasing it outdoors. The indoor unit connects to the ductwork, which supplies the cool air.

In a packaged air conditioner, all of these parts are contained in a single cabinet. The unit is located right outside of the building or, more commonly, on the rooftop, and connects directly to the return and supply ducts. These come and many different sizes and are often modular, meaning they can be resized to adjust to a building’s changing needs.

Is a Packaged Air Conditioner Right for Me?

Packaged air conditioners benefit homeowners with unique home layouts, since installing a packaged unit does not require the use of a furnace and placement options are flexible. The outdoor-only installation is also convenient because a technician can easily access all parts of the system for faster maintenance or repairs.

Many businesses rely on packaged air conditioners since they can cool large spaces efficiently. With split systems, a maintenance or repair call may be a disturbance for a commercial property since the technician must look inside and out to determine the source of the problem. Since packaged units are often located on the roof, the system is out of the way, and a maintenance or repair call will not interfere with customers, clients, employees, or tenants.

An air conditioning expert can help you decide whether a packaged air conditioner is right for your needs. For air conditioning installation in San Diego, call the experienced technicians at Cal-West Air Conditioning today!

How Do Dirty Coils Affect My Air Conditioner?

July 25th, 2014

One of the easiest ways to maintain the performance and efficiency of your air conditioning system is to keep the coils clean. Dirty condenser or evaporator coils can reduce the cooling capacity of your system, decrease efficiency, and cause serious damage to other components of your AC. If it’s been a while since a technician has inspected and cleaned your system, you should call for air conditioning service in San Diego today to prevent the need for future repairs.

The evaporator coil is located in the inside portion of your air conditioner. As the blower fan blows the warm air from inside of your home over the coil, refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas and absorbs the heat from the air. Outside, the condenser coil allows this heat to release into the air. At the condenser coil, refrigerant condenses from a gas to a liquid and gives off heat as the fan blows the outdoor air over the condenser coil.

Dirty coils block the transfer of heat, so your home only receives limited cooling, but many other problems may occur as well. When one component of your AC is not functioning properly, your air conditioner has to run longer in order to meet your temperature needs. This causes wear and tear to your air conditioner and may cause the compressor to overheat and break down.

If you notice dirty condenser or evaporator coils, you should call for air conditioning service right away. You can help prevent dirty coils, however, by keeping debris away from your outside unit and cleaning out air filters about once every month. A dirty air filter can block airflow and may cause particles to build up on the coils, or it may cause the evaporator coil to freeze.

The best way to prevent dirty coils from affecting your system is by scheduling regular maintenance with a professional. With maintenance, a technician inspects your system and cleans dirty components such as the coils. Air conditioners that receive regular maintenance are less prone to sudden breakdowns and may have a longer lifespan than those that are not maintained.

Don’t let something so preventable damage your AC system. Call Cal-West Air Conditioning for air conditioning service in San Diego.

Fan Motor Problems with Your Air Conditioner

July 18th, 2014

One of the parts of your air conditioner that’s probably never crossed your mind is the fan motor. The fan is the largest component of your outdoor unit. After refrigerant absorbs the heat inside your home, it is released at the condenser unit as a fan helps to move that heat outside. This fan is operated by a motor that may occasionally fail and need repair or replacement.

A fan must maintain the proper speed in order to keep your system in working order. If any component of your AC system is not working correctly, it could cause other parts, such as the compressor, to fail eventually. Fan motor issues may also prevent your system from cooling your home properly.

Common indicators that your fan motor is the source of your air conditioning issues include loud grinding noises from the unit, reduced cooling, a slow-moving fan, or a fan that won’t move at all. These problems may be caused by other components of your system as well, so it’s important to let a professional technician determine the problem.

So what causes fan motor problems? A slow or stopped fan could be a sign that your fan motor is worn out and needs replacement. Strange noises coming from your fan, such as a grinding sound, may indicate that a foreign object is lodged in your air conditioner. It may also mean that your fan motor needs to be oiled, as it requires a certain amount of lubrication in order to turn properly.

One way to prevent fan motor problems is with regular maintenance by an AC technician. Maintenance technicians can check for debris that may interfere with your motor, and will also add lubrication when necessary. If excessive damage to your fan motor or other parts of your system are noticeable, your technician will let you know whether you should schedule repairs so you don’t run into problems later on.

A fan motor problem may be electrical and should always be handled by a professional. When you need professional air conditioning repairs in San Diego, call Cal-West Air Conditioning today!

Tips to Reduce Your Air Conditioning Bills

July 8th, 2014

Although living near the ocean means we have cooler summers in San Diego than the inland cities of Southern California, we still have many scorching hot days. Air conditioners are near-constant companions during the summer months, and that means you can expect to see elevated utility bills from needing to supply electricity to keep your home’s AC running.

You don’t need to pay astronomical air conditioning bills, however. Using a few basic steps and a bit of extra care will go a long way toward getting those cooling costs under control. Here are some tips from our team at Cal-West Air Conditioning in San Diego, CA for making the summer months relaxing and comfortable—without leading to utility bills that make you agitated and uncomfortable! Contact us any time of the day or night when you need help with your home’s cooling that will save you money.

3 Handy Tips for Lowering Air Conditioning Costs

  1. Change the air filter once a month: Clogged air filters are the primary reasons that many homeowners pay more than they should for cooling during the summer. The air filter is designed to protect the interior cabinet of the AC from dust and debris contamination, particularly the evaporator coil. But after a month of summer work, the filter will have enough contaminants trapped in its fibers to begin to lower airflow into the air conditioner, and the system will expend more power to reach its normal level of cooling. You should change the filter once a month during the summer (and during any other time of the year when the AC runs regularly) to keep the “lungs” of the system clear.
  2. Maintain moderate thermostat settings: Pushing your air conditioner’s thermostat setting down to 50°F—often the lowest possible setting—is not “moderate.” In fact, it’s quite wasteful and will not benefit your comfort at all. What you need to know here is that the thermostat is a switch, not a throttle, so when you put it at its lowest setting, it will not cool down your home faster, but instead keep the compressor running longer until it reaches the lower setting. And 50°F is not a comfortable setting! If you keep the thermostat at a steady 72°F, which if comfortable for most people, you can save around 30% on your cooling as opposed to pushing it down as low as you can. You will also reduce wear and tear and lessen future repair needs.
  3. Schedule regular maintenance: An air conditioning system must have annual maintenance from a technician who will inspect and tune-up the AC so it works its best. This will avoid breakdowns and malfunctions, but it will also keep the air conditioner working at its highest possible efficiency and without wasting money due to dirt and wear. An air conditioner that has annual maintenance will keep 95% of its efficiency throughout its lifetime, while an air conditioner that doesn’t will drop to 75% of its efficiency after only four years… which means a great deal of wasted money.

Cal-West Air Conditioning has an excellent regular maintenance program. Sign up to receive our Precision Tune-Up service each year for your air conditioner (and your heater as well). Put our more than 30 years of experience to work saving you money. Call us if you are in need of air conditioning service in San Diego.