Keeping Your AC from the Junkyard (“What Do You Do With an Old AC?”)

Monday, October 8th, 2018

dumped-ac-units-scrapyardFall, the time when the air is filled with the sounds of people tossing old air conditioners into the scrapheaps, creating a pleasing metal clang

Okay, I’m making that up. However, fall is a time of the year when many homeowners decide to make changes to their HVAC systems, and that often means having the AC replaced. Of course, we would rather you didn’t have to do that, and we’re making it easier than ever with our “Dirty Secret” campaign: we’re offering our 21-Point Energy and Repair Saver System Tune-Up for only $97 for a limited time. That’s a huge savings off the regular price—and you’ll receive the benefit of keeping your AC from ending up sent to the scrapyard too early.

But that brings up an interesting question, one I often hear: “Hey Olive, do you just throw that old air conditioner into the junkyard?” I’m not a “junkyard dog,” but I am an HVAC expert dog, so I can tell you … the short answer is, “no.” The long answer is interesting, if you’d care to hang with me…

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Fall Is the Right Time to Upgrade Your Air Conditioning System

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

onyx-unitI just stuck my sensitive canine nose out the door to test the weather. Yep, it’s still pretty warm out there. But my nose can also sense the approaching change in the weather. It might not be obvious to your human noses yet, but you’ll soon see that change in color in the leaves. (I don’t have the best color vision, but my spectacular sense of smell and hearing really make up for it!)

So what’s this mean for your air conditioning, you want to know? I mean, if it’s soon going to cool down out here, why worry about it? First, it’s important to remember that AC repair in Knoxville, TN is still important as long as you’re running the AC. Second, we’ve got an offer at Russell & Abbott that makes this fall a fantastic time to upgrade your old AC system to something great.

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Onyx Heating/Cooling Equipment Gets the Green Light, Plus Some Other Cool Features

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Green Glow Assures Protection from Power Surges.

Homeowners may be relieved to know that the slightly eerie green glow on outdoor Onyx units is a good thing because it affirms that your surge protector is working properly.

“The electronic boards in today’s heating and cooling systems can ‘fry’ during power surges,  and a damaged board is one of the most common reasons for unit failure,” explained Chris Hurley, president of Russell & Abbott Heating and Cooling. “However, this component can almost always be saved with a surge protector which are standard in every piece of Onyx equipment.”

Hurley said that on a dark night, Onyx owners can to see if the surge protector is functioning.  “Green means you are good to go; a red glow indicates the surge protector is off and you may need to call us for service.” Hurley said.

All Parts are Created Equal, Except When They’re Not.

Another feature that makes Onyx equipment less susceptible to common electrical component failure is its use of American-made capacitors.  Capacitors, which are about the size and shape of a small can of tomato paste, store electrical electrons. Capacitors are attached to the three motors in HVAC units: the compressor, the blower motor and the outside fan. When there is a demand for energy, such as starting a motor, capacitors release energy, allowing the heating/cooling unit to run.

“We’ve found that the majority of HVAC equipment on the market uses cheap–and in my opinion, sub-standard–capacitors that are made in China.  They just don’t hold up and it’s not fair to consumers,” Hurley said. “That’s why we sourced American made capacitors for our line of Onyx equipment.”

Hurley said that American made capacitors have a life expectancy of 10 years, and are warranted for five years.  At Russell & Abbott, capacitors are included as part of the Unbeatable 10-10-10 Warranty.

“Our computerized maintenance management system prompts us to change capacitors at 4.5 and 9 years so that customers don’t have a problem,” Hurley said.

Hot Topic: Microchannel Coils vs. Traditional Spiny or Tube and Fin Coils.

Technicians in the HVAC industry seem to be polarized by a coil type issue.   Individuals either look very favorably on microchannel coils or are strongly opposed to their use.  Russell & Abbott is pro microchannel coils, based on actual failure rates and willingness (or unwillingness) of manufacturers to warrant those failures.

“We have experienced less than one percent failure from microchannel coils in our exclusive Onyx equipment,” Hurley said.  “Tube and fin style in other brands have consistently produced double digit failure rates.”

Consumers might ask why, then, would contractors offer consumers a style of system that has a proven large failure rate? Hurley speculates that most contractors are “stuck with what the major manufacturers are providing to them” on certain brands of equipment.

Industry naysayers to microchannel coil technology cite that microchannel coils are harder to work with because they are more complex.  Hurley insists that working with microchannel coils is no more difficult, just different. “Proper training makes the difference for technicians,” he said.

Plus, Hurley said, consumers benefit from these advantages of a microchannel coil system over a tube and fin or spiny fin system:

  • Smaller coils
  • Increased efficiency
  • Less refrigerant
  • More durable
  • Easier to clean

“At the end of the day, customers want a reliable heating and cooling system for their home.  One way Russell & Abbott provides that is by selecting components that give Onyx an edge over other equipment, and following up with an unbeatable 10-year warranty on labor, all parts, and maintenance.”

For more information about Onyx, visit RussellAndAbbott.com or call (865) 982-5133 and ask to speak to an equipment replacement specialist.

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Olive’s Tips for Making the Most of the End of Summer With Your AC

Monday, September 10th, 2018

dont-forget-post-itSeptember always sounds like it’s the fall. The summer months are June, July, and August, after all. But summer doesn’t officially end until the third week of September—and it’s not like the weather pays much attention to actual calendar dates anyway. My point is: we’re still enjoying warm and sometimes hot weather here in East Tennessee, and our air conditioning systems are going to keep doing steady post-Labor Day labor.

As a professional HVAC blogger dog, I’ve gotten to know air conditioners well over the last few summers. I have tips on how you can make the most of your AC during its “2018 September Farewell Tour” before it goes off on fall and winter vacation. Follow this advice to help the air conditioner system stay in good shape and keep your utility bills under control.

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Questions to Ask Your HVAC Contractor

Monday, August 13th, 2018

technician-shaking-handsI was recently reading articles about questions you should always ask your veterinarian. Like: “Is my pet a healthy weight?” “What flea and tick medication do you recommend?” “Am I feeding my pet the best food?” One question I didn’t notice on these lists was, “Hey, are you a real vet? Do you have a veterinarian’s degree?” And the reason that I didn’t see that question is that you don’t really need to ask it. To get a veterinarian practice started, you must have a degree in the field otherwise you’ll be in serious trouble.

But it’s different in the HVAC field: plenty of people who aren’t licensed or insured masquerade as experts. These are the “Chucks in a Truck” I’ve talked about before—and you don’t want Chuck working on your AC or heating or it could mean serious trouble for your comfort, or worse you may end up liable for damages.

This is why, when I started to think of questions you should ask your HVAC contractor, the first one that came to mind was…

Are you licensed and insured?

A true professional HVAC contractor will be licensed with the state, and that means they are also insured. Licensing means more than just “has the skill to do the job.” It also means a required level of insurance that protects you, the client, in case the contractor causes damage to your property during the work or one of the contractor’s employees sustains an injury. No licensed contractor will mind showing you evidence of licensing and insurance! We’re certainly glad to show that you can trust us!

Now, onto a few other important questions …

How much experience do you have in the industry?

It’s possible for a new contractor to provide quality work—but odds are much stronger on the side of a contractor with many years of history. It’s both a sign of skill and of customer satisfaction. A company with years of history probably has the trust of the community in general.

Do you have guarantees and warranties? How do they work?

If an HVAC contractor is confident in the work its technicians and other employees provide, they’ll back it up with guarantees and warranties. For example, we offer a great 10-10-10 warranty for our own Onyx equipment: that’s 10 years parts, 10 years labor, 10 years maintenance. We provide this because we know our Onyx equipment is that good!

Do you have references from other clients?

It’s a good idea to here straight from other satisfied customers so you know you’re talking to a contractor that people depend on! Any contractor worth hiring will gladly provide you with references.

Feel free to ask our great team any questions you have about our services! We’re licensed and insured, have a long history behind us, have the guarantees and warranties to put your mind at ease, and have some of the happiest customers around. We want you to trust us with your air conditioning service in Knoxville, TN and elsewhere in our service area.

Stay cool,

Olive

Ask us anything about your AC and heating needs! Russell & Abbott serves Blount, Knox, and Loudon Counties and the surrounding areas.

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Keeping Your AC’s Drain Line Clean

Monday, July 16th, 2018
old-ac-unit

Don’t let your AC corrode like this!

It’s humid here in East Tennessee! Of course, I don’t need to tell you that—you live it every day, and in the summer it can get intense. As a dog, humidity doesn’t quite affect me the same way it does you. You see, the reason you feel hotter on a humid day is that all the moisture in the air makes it harder for you to release heat through sweating. Dogs don’t actually sweat (okay, a little bit through the paws), we release heat by panting.

However, as an HVAC expert dog, I know quite a lot about why humidity is such a big deal. I’ve talked about how to deal with humidity to stay cool in other blogs. but today, I’m going to look at all that moisture in the air and how it affects your air conditioner.

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It’s Not Normal to “Top Off” Refrigerant in Your AC System

Monday, June 18th, 2018

air-conditioning-manometer-pressure-refrigerantSomething that keeps me busy all the time in my job as an HVAC Blogger Dog is tracking down myths and misconceptions about home heating and air conditioning systems. There are plenty out there, and I’ve dealt with quite a few before on my blog. Some of these myths are basic misunderstandings that spread around until too many people think they’re the truth. Others, unfortunately, are outright deceptions used by dishonest—and unlicensed—so- called “technicians” who want to trick people out of money by fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.

The myth of needing to “top off refrigerant” in an air conditioning system is usually a misunderstanding. We often receive calls during the summer from customers who think they have to have a bit more refrigerant to get through the summer. In most cases, they don’t. I’ll explain.

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What Does It Take to Be HVAC Licensed in Tennessee?

Monday, May 21st, 2018

service-checkmarkPeople sometimes ask me: “What does it mean that Russell & Abbott is licensed?” It’s a good question, because we make a point of informing customers that we’re a fully licensed, bonded, and insured HVAC contractor. We want people to know they can trust us because licensing boards affirm that we know our stuff!

There are too many unlicensed workers out there (“Chuck in a Truck” as I like to call them) who offer cut-rate prices and end up delivering cut-rate work. Unlicensed work not only risks a sloppy job, it may even leave you liable for damages done to your home, or injuries to the unlicensed worker during the time he or she is on your property.

I talked about all this in my last post when I was going over the importance calling on true professionals for your air conditioning maintenance. Today, I’m going to offer you the specifics about getting an HVAC license in Tennessee. Every state has different requirements, and I know all the facts about what you need to be considered an HVAC professional in Maryville, TN!

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You Get What You Pay For; Or, Beware “Chuck in a Truck”

Monday, May 7th, 2018

tools-on-ac-unitHave you ever met Chuck in a Truck? No, it’s not some new band that’s touring the area. It’s not a name for some a fancy brand of dog food. “Chuck in a Truck” is what we HVAC blogger dogs (as well as other professional HVAC service folk) call those non-licensed so-called repair guys who come crawling out in spring when they hear air conditioners come on. They offer to fix faulty ACs at super cheap prices. Plenty of homeowners look at the lowball offer, think about how stuffy and unpleasant their home is, and then agree to let Chuck in a Truck do the work.

The results? Yeah, they’re not good.

I can speak with some authority on this, because the staff here at Russell & Abbott is often doing clean-up after Chuck in the Truck “fixes” something. Chuck in the Truck’s motto should be: “When We Fix Something, It Stays Broken!” Or: “AC Not Working? Let Us Help It Not Work in a Different Way!” A non-licensed worker usually has only the rudiments of handling basic air conditioning problems, and often has a bad work ethic to go along with it. Chuck in the Truck doesn’t want your AC fixed, he just wants the money.

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Olive’s 1 Simple Trick to Avoid Air Conditioning Repairs This Year

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

man-in-front-of-fanNobody wants to have to arrange for air conditioning repair work in the middle of a hot summer day. And we don’t want you to have to go through this pain, even though it’s our job to handle the work. We would much rather you hire us to help you prevent air conditioning repairs!

And … oops, I already gave away the One Simple Trick from the title. Darn, I was hoping to build up some suspense about this, slowly pull back the curtain for a “Ta-Da!” moment. But it’s out in the open: the one simple trick for avoiding those pesky AC repair jobs this year is to have our professionals give your system a tune-up before the hot weather arrives. This is often called preventive maintenance, but I like to think of it as good sense. It’s the same as when I go to the vet regularly for check-ups and medicine to make sure I don’t get sick. Think of this as taking your air conditioning to the vet for a check-up, except the vet comes to you and your air conditioner won’t want a treat afterwards.

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