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Question: Why does my AC capacitor fail so often? Every two years!

comparison good  bad oval capacitors

Question: Why does my air conditioner capacitor go out and fail so often? We are having to replace our capacitor about every two years? Why does my AC capacitor fail so often?

Answer: Air conditioner and heat pump capacitors going bad has been the number one problem for service calls in our business for many years! In this post, AC Service Tech and I tell you why capacitors go out so often. There are 4 reasons why capacitors go out so often. We hope this post will help you understand what makes capacitors fail and hope this helps make your capacitor last longer. It is always a good idea to have an extra capacitor on hand in case one fails on a hot summer day or night. We sell capacitors on the following page: Please click here to see the capacitors that we sellAC Service Tech made an excellent YouTube video below that explains why capacitors fail. Thanks so much, AC Service Tech for making this excellent video! Here are 4 reasons why capacitors fail so often:

  1. High Heat causes the oil (dielectric fluid) inside the capacitor to get hot and expand which causes the capacitor to fail. If the shroud of your air conditioner is out in the hot sunny side of your home that receives lots of heat then this can cause the capacitor to fail.  A sure sign that shows that a capacitor has failed is an expanded mushroomed topped capacitor where the top or bottom of the capacitor is mushroomed and is expanded out. Some capacitors leak the dielectric fluid out after they have failed.
  2. Capacitors do have a life span. The life span of the capacitor is limited and depends on the operating temperature to which the capacitor is being exposed. A capacitor that is exposed to High heat will have a shorter life span. When you test a capacitor and see that the MFD/uf rating is lower than the specs on the capacitor then this is what has happened the heat over time has caused the capacitor to lose its value.
  3. If you exceed the voltage rating that is listed on the capacitor then this will hurt the capacitor.  If you have a voltage spike or a lightning strike then this will destroy a capacitor.
  4. Bad rusty loose connections can destroy a capacitor because loose connections cause high heat and arcing. I have seen where the terminals are burnt off on capacitor connections.

If you have any questions please comment below or email us at arnoldservice@gmail.com  We Would Love to try and help You out! 

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Problem: Furnace Air Conditioner Heat Pump Works Intermittently.

furnacecartoon2

Problem: We have had this question asked many times. My furnace, air conditioner, heat pump works intermittently? Why does my furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump work sometimes, and then sometimes it will not work at all? If I flip the switch on the furnace several times or turn the breaker off and on the furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump will work a few times then it is back to the same problem of not wanting to start and come on? What could cause this problem to happen? Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not work? 

Answer: Thanks for asking this question. We have many people who have this problem with the intermittent furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, and air handler operation and I can say that most of the time I have found the problem to be either loose, burnt wire connections, or internal relays in control boards (need a new control board) that are pitted and worn out. Sometimes the relays, contactor, sequencer will make contact (complete the circuit), and sometimes it arcs and will not complete the circuit.  Below we have a picture of a relay that came off a control board with the black box cover removed. This picture is courtesy of AC Service Tech.  If your furnace starts sometimes and then will not start sometimes then it could be caused by a bad relay on the control board. You will probably need a new control board to fix the problem. If your furnace’s draft inducer, blower motor, or ignitor will not start then this could be a bad or worn-out draft inducer relay, blower motor fan relay, or ignitor relay on the control board. Always check with a volt-meter to make sure that the control board is getting power between L1 and neutral. Make sure all wire connections are tight.  Also, make sure that all your safety controls are closed with the draft inducer running. Safety controls would be the limit, all rollout switches, and the pressure switch. Always make sure that if your thermostat uses batteries that the batteries are in good condition.  Below we have an excellent video that explains Intermittent Faults on HVAC Units that include furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, and air handlers. Thanks so very much to AC Service Tech for making this excellent video.  I hope this helps you out. If you have any questions please comment below or email us anytime at arnoldservice@gmail.com

If you would like for us to look up parts then please send your furnace or air conditioner’s model number to arnoldservice@gmail.com and we will be glad to help you find and look up parts. We Would Love to Try and Help You Out and Help You Solve Your HVAC Problem! 

control board relay defective
control board relay defective

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Question: Why does my heat pump smell musty when it defrosts? What is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

dirty sock syndrome 1

Question: Why does my heat pump smell musty when it defrosts? What is Dirty Sock Syndrome? 

Answer: We have had several people ask us this question including myself! I do not want anyone to continue to have this awful smell in their home so that is why I am writing this post. I installed a new packaged heat pump unit at my house in the Spring of 2021. Everything was going swell and dandy until this fall when the new heat pump started having to defrost to melt the ice off the unit. My wife said, “What in the world is that terrible smell??? It smells like soured laundry clothes!” You know when you forget to place the laundry in the dryer for several days and the clothes go sour!  Yes! It was a terrible smell that lasted while our heat pump was defrosting and for about 20 minutes after the defrost stopped! I asked myself how could this be happening with a brand new heat pump packaged unit??? How can this happen with new equipment??? Is it something that I did wrong in the installation?? I started thinking about how heat pumps defrosts and it makes sense how this smell can occur. I first Googled the subject, “Dirty Sock Syndrome” and found the following definition: “Dirty sock syndrome occurs when your heat pump goes into defrost mode, which stirs up microorganisms and leads to a foul smell. … Then when the heat pump goes into defrost mode, the indoor coil cools down and becomes moist, which reactivates the microorganisms.” I told myself that this problem makes sense on how it can continue to occur when the heat pump defrosts! The heat pump system switches the hot outdoor condenser coil (summertime) with the indoor evaporator coil in the wintertime. During the summertime, we do not have the dirty sock syndrome smell because the heat pump unit’s indoor coil is always cold, but in the wintertime when the heat pump has to defrost the hot indoor coil goes into air conditioning mode which makes the indoor coil cool, cold and the coil collects moisture. During the defrost cycle which usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes the indoor cool cold coil is accumulating water and moisture from your home’s indoor air. When the heat pump cycles back to the heating mode the cool, cold coil is immediately heated up which burns off and evaporates the water, moisture along with funky smelling dirt and bacteria off the indoor evaporator which produces the dirty sock odor! Yes, that makes sense, but how do I eliminate this problem? I have researched this and unfortunately, there really does not seem to be a long-term solution. Many people have temporarily stopped the problem by having the coil cleaned with a special cleaner every year like the dirty sock coil cleaner that we sell on the following page: Please click here if you are interested in the Dirty Sox coil cleaner that we sell. Some have installed Ultraviolet UV lamps to kill mode and bacteria on the coils. Please click here if you are interested in the UV lights we sell. 

I have just had Cataract surgery and have not been able to clean the coil on our heat pump yet. I will let you all know if the Dirty Sox spray coil cleaner that we sell works or not when I get the doctor’s OK to lift heavy objects again! What I have been doing with our heat pump on cold nights (when the outdoor temp is below 32 degrees) is that  I place the heat pump thermostat on “Emergency Heat” which cuts the outdoor heat pump off and heats our home off all electric heat. Lucky it has not been that cold yet here in Kentucky, but it is a lot better than having that awful dirty sock smell in our home! I am sure I will see how my emergency heat move has affected our next electric bill! LOL! I probably will not be laughing we I see our electric bill!

I found a really good article about how to fix Dirty Sock Syndrome from https://www.yourmodernfamily.com/dirty-sock-syndrome-cleaner/ 

On YourModernFamily.com they discuss how to get rid of the Dirty Sock Syndrome. They have found great results using special coil cleaners that I have pictured below.

dirty Sock Syndrome Cleaner solutions
dirty Sock Syndrome Cleaner solutions

If you want to learn how the defrost on a heat pump works then we have an excellent YouTube video below where AC Service Tech LLC explains how a heat pump defrost works. Thanks to AC Service Tech LLC for making this excellent video! I hope this information helps you understand what causes Dirty Sock Syndrome and how to get rid of Dirty Sock Syndrome! If you have any questions please comment below or email us anytime at arnoldservice@gmail.com We would love to try and help you out! 

Comstar Dirty Sock Spray
Comstar Dirty Sock Spray


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Problem: My Heat Pump Defrost Control Board is Bad. Can I Bypass the Defrost Control Board to Get Cooling?

happy ac

Problem: My heat pump defrost control board is bad. I can not use my heat pump because the defrost control board is bad. We are burning up in our home without air conditioning. Techs are days behind before they can come and fix our problem. It will be days before we receive a new defrost board replacement because of shipping time. Is there any way that I can bypass the defrost control board so we can get the air conditioning to cool our home?  Please help if you can!

Answer:  Yes! I can help! We have this question asked quite often so I decided to write a post on how to temporarily bypass a heat pump defrost control board so people can get their air conditioning working again. If you are good with your hands and know a little about electrical wiring then you should be able to bypass the heat pump defrost board. We have two really good YouTube videos that explain how to bypass a heat pump defrost board to allow for cooling or to allow for the air conditioning to work.  The first video was made by SuperCool Slide Rule. The second YouTube video was made by AC Service Tech LLC. Thanks to SuperCool Slide Rule and AC Service Tech LLC for making these great educational and informative videos!  I have the steps written down step by step below. If you need a new heat pump defrost control board then we sell many different name brand defrost control boards on the following page: Please click here if you are interested in the defrost control boards that we sell.  If you have any questions or would like for us to look up any parts then please email us anytime or comment below. Our email address is arnoldservice@gmail.com We Would Love to try and Help You Out and Earn Your Business! 

*Disclaimer: Arnold’s Service Company, Inc. assumes no liability for any incidental, consequential, or other liability from the use of this information. All risks and damages, incidental or otherwise, arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein are entirely the responsibility of the user. Although careful precaution has been taken in the preparation of this website’s information, we assume no responsibility for omissions or errors.

Steps to bypass a heat pump defrost control board are:

  1. Turn off both high voltage and low voltage power by pulling the unit’s disconnect and turning the indoor air handler off. Test with a voltmeter set to “Volts AC” to make sure the power is off.
  2. I recommend taking a picture of how the defrost control board is wired before you make any changes to the board.
  3. For the heat pump to cool you will need to energize or have working three parts of the heat pump. (1) 220-volt condenser fan (2) the 24-volt contactor and the 24-volt reversing valve. Most heat pumps have the reversing valve energized in the cooling mode except Rheem and Ruud units. If you have a Rheem or Ruud unit then you would not need to do the part about energizing the reversing valve. 
  4. Identify the outdoor condensing fan relay and join the two fan relay wires together so that the outdoor condensing unit’s fan will run. Tape, insulate, and secure the two high voltage (210-245 volt) wires so that the wires do not touch or ground out to the body of your heat pump unit.
  5.  There are two low voltage wires that go to the 24-volt coil on the contactor. Disconnect, insulated, and secure the two existing wires from the contactor. I think it would be best to run two new wires to the 24-volt contactor coil.  One new wire on the power side of the contactor coil and one common “C” or ground wire on the opposite side of the power wire on the contactor.
  6. Join and wire nut together with the hot yellow (Y) wire that comes from the thermostat to one of the wires that go to the contactor (to energize the contactor) and the yellow (Y) wire should also be attached to the reversing valve orange wire. I would trace the low voltage wires down to make sure that you have the right wires that are going to both the contactor and reversing valve.  The contactor should have two wires (power and C) and the reversing valve should have two wires (power and C).
  7. FYI- To energize both the contactor and reversing valve the contactor has two low voltage wires that go to the contactor coil and the reversing valve should have two low voltage wires that go to the reversing valve coil. One of the two wires that go to both the contactor and reversing valve is the power wire which we will attach to the “Y” thermostat wire. The indoor thermostat when the thermostat calls for heat pump cooling takes the R (red wire from the 24-volt indoor transformer) and makes the connection to the “Y” wire to energize the contactor and make the contactor close. The other two wires from both the contactor coil and reversing valve coil is the C or called the common wire. For each device to be energized there must be a power wire “Y” and a C common wire attached.
  8. So we want to energize the fan, the contactor, and reversing valve in order to bypass the defrost control board. Next, you would want to connect the common wires together to the common side of the contactor and reversing valve. Join, and wire nut together with the other two contactor and reversing valve common wires.  Most of the time the blue thermostat wire is the common (C) wire. I would recommend that you take the cover off your thermostat and make sure and see which wire color is connected to the “C” “Com” connection on your thermostat. You would never want to directly connect the R and C terminals together because this would produce a direct short to ground and burn up many of the heat pump system’s low voltage controls if they are not protected by a low voltage fuse. 
  9. As a review: You should have two wires connected to the Y “Yellow” wire. One of the wires attached to the Y wire would go to one side of the contactor to provide power for the contactor and the other wire would go to the reversing valve to provide power for the reversing valve when your thermostat calls for cooling. The other common wire from your thermostat (you would need to make sure you have the right color for the wire that is attached to the C  “COM” of your thermostat). Two wires would be attached to this C common wire from your thermostat.  You would attach one of the wires to the C common side of the contactor and the other wire to the C common side of the reversing valve.  You should be ready to apply power and test. Best of luck. This should work if wired correctly.


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Question: Do I Really Need a New AC Unit?

happy ac

Question: My HVAC contractor said that I need a new air conditioning system. I was not home for him to show me why I need a new system. Is there any way that I can test and make sure that I really need a new air conditioning system? Do I really need a new air conditioning system?

Answer: Yes! We have a YouTube video made by AC Service Tech LLC that explains how to test and make sure that you need a new unit or not.  I have listed the step-by-step troubleshooting steps and tests below if you do not want to watch the video.  A multimeter is required for testing and troubleshooting the unit. We sell a really good multimeter on the following page. Please click here if you are interested in the multimeter that we sell.

Here are the steps in troubleshooting if you do not want to watch the 6-minute video. Many of the steps below involve working with high voltage electricity in testing with a multimeter. If you are uncomfortable in working with live electricity then I would recommend leaving this to a professional. Bodily Injury or death can occur if mistakes are made!

  1. Arrive at the unit and pull the disconnect to disconnect power to the unit.
  2. Test the disconnect with a multimeter set to “Volts AC” to make sure power is getting to the disconnect. You should have between 210 to 250 volts at the disconnect. Always make sure you are careful to not get grounded out or shocked.
  3. Take the control panel cover off the AC unit.
  4. Plug the disconnect back in and test between L1 and L2 at the contactor to make sure that the wires that come from the disconnect are supplying 220 volts to the contactor.
  5. Push in on the contactor with an insulated screwdriver to see if the compressor or fan turns on.
  6. In the video, the fan turns on when the contactor is pushed in, but the compressor is not coming on.
  7. Use the Amprobe multimeter to see what the amp draw is on the compressor when the contactor plunger is pressed in.
  8. In the video, the compressor is running high amperage when it tries to start over 60 amps and the compressor will not start.  This shows that the compressor is locked up and that the compressor has a major problem.  The problem could be a bad or weak capacitor, broken or burnt wires, grounded out, or open compressor windings. We will need to test to see where the problem is located with the compressor.
  9. Turn the power off to the unit at the disconnect and make sure the high voltage power is off. Disconnect the wires off the capacitor and test the capacitor with a capacitor tester to make sure that the capacitor is in good condition. If the capacitor is bad replace it.
  10. Disconnect the Start, Run, and common compressor wires off the contactor and capacitor. Test to see the ohm readings between the wires and test to see if the compressor windings are grounding out. If the ohm readings are not right or if the compressor is grounding out then yes, you will need a new unit or compressor.
  11. In the video, two connections on the compressor are burned completely off and all the refrigerant has escaped. Yes, you would need a new unit or compressor in this case. If you have any questions please email us anytime at arnoldservice@gmail.com
  12. We would love to try and help you and earn your business!


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Problem: My AC Unit Will Not Turn On or Run. What could be the problem?

happy ac

Problem: My AC unit or heat pump will not turn on or run. What could be the problem? Could you tell me how to get my air conditioner working again?

Answer: Many people have this problem where their air conditioner or heat pump will not turn on. The AC will not turn on. Nothing happens at the outdoor unit. We have a really good YouTube Video made by AC Service Tech LLC that explains the top 10 problems that are mostly found when an air conditioner or heat pump will not turn on.  I also have the 10 problems written down if you do not have time to watch the video. Thanks so very much to Craig Marciano for making this excellent video! Here is the list of the top 10 reasons why air conditioners or heat pumps will not turn on. If you have any questions please comment below or email us at arnoldservice@gmail.com We would love to try and help you out and earn your business!

*Always make sure that the electric power is turned off before working on an Air Conditioner or Heat Pump System. 

  1. No power at the contactor due to a blown fuse or circuit breaker being tripped. You should check the voltage at the outdoor unit’s contactor to see if you are getting voltage between L1 and L2 of the contactor. We sell a really good test meter on the following page. Please click here if you are interested in a really good testing Multimeter. We also have another really good meter on this page. 
  2. Bad power supply problem. You could have a bad or blown low voltage transformer or the power going to the transformer might be out. Please click here if you are interested in the transformers that we sell. 
  3. Having a bad capacitor. We sell over 80 different capacitors on the following page. Please click here if you are interested in the capacitor we sell. 
  4. The contacts on the contactor are burnt or bad. You might need a new contactor or clean the contactor. Please click here if you are interested in the contactors that we sell
  5. The unit might have a bad contactor coil. The video shows how to test the contactor coil.
  6. Might have a low-pressure switch that has electrically opened due to a low refrigerant charge, refrigerant leak. You would need to install gauges to see if your unit is low on refrigerant charge and find and fix the leak if the system is low on charge.
  7. You might have a bad thermostat connection from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit.  A weed eater or animal may have chewed through the wires or you might have loose wire connections at the unit, thermostat, or control board. You might have to run a new thermostat wire.
  8. The next 3 problems are when the indoor blower motor is not turning out so you have to focus your attention on the indoor unit.  The thermostat may look like it is on, but the indoor unit is off. Many thermostats are powered by batteries and this can give you a false visual feeling that the power is on, but really the power is not on. Make sure the power switch for the furnace is in the ON position and make sure the furnace blower door is latched tight.  Make sure the power on the breaker box to the furnace is turned on.
  9. Is that an emergency safety switch on the condensate pump or on the condensate over-flow float switch that has cut the low voltage power off to the furnace and thermostat.
  10. A bad thermostat wire, a bad thermostat, or a bad low voltage fuse on the control board.


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Question: What can I do to make my air conditioner last longer? Any maintenance tips?

dirty AC coil

Questions: What can I do to make my air conditioner or heat pump last longer? What can I do to make sure my air conditioner is ready to go for the summer? Do you have any maintenance tips or advice?

Answer: Yes! The homeowner DIY person can do many maintenance checks and jobs to make sure the air conditioner or heat pump is ready to go for the summer.  We have a video below made by Word of Advice TV that shows 15 maintenance tips that will help you make sure that your AC or heat pump is ready to go for the summer. Doing these maintenance tips will help to make sure that your unit is ready to go for the summer and prolong the life of your air conditioner or heat pump. We have the 15 tips written below if you do not want to watch the video. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at arnoldservice@gmail.com or comment below in the comments section. Thanks so very much for visiting our site!  Steve & Barbara Arnold

The 15 air conditioner or heat pump maintenance tips are:

  1. Uncover the condensing unit (if you cover it up in the wintertime).  Make sure that you have at least 12″ of clearance around the unit. If you have any tall grass, weeds or bushes then trim those back.
  2. Thoroughly clean the condensing coil with a water hose with a nozzle on the end. *Make sure that you turn the unit off at the electrical disconnect or breaker box before using water on the condenser. As you know water and electricity do not mix. Make sure that the water force from the hose nozzle is not too strong or it could damage the coils. It is best to clean the coil from the inside out if possible. If you feel uncomfortable removing the top to clean for the inside out then cleaning from the outside in will be fine.
  3. Check for animal nests and inspect the wiring for damaged burnt chewed wires or connections. Repair any burnt or loose wire connections. Clean any animal nests out.
  4. Check the capacitor for swelling or damage. Have an extra capacitor on hand in case your capacitor goes out during the hot summer cooling season. We sell capacitors on the following page: Please click here if you would like to see the capacitors we sell. 
  5. Check the contactor to make sure that the contactor contacts are not burnt or pitted. If you need a contactor we sell contactors on the following page: Please click here if you would like to see the contactors that we sell. 
  6. Check the suction line insulation to make sure it is not torn or missing.
  7. Try to keep the condensing unit as level as possible.
  8. Test run your air conditioner early in the cooling season to make sure it is running right. The outside temperature should be above 70 degrees before testing.
  9. Kick start the condenser fan for the season. You might try turning the condenser fan (unit turned off, electricity off) with a long screwdriver to make sure the motor bearings are not tight from sitting all winter.  Many times I have seen condenser motors get destroyed if the motor bearings are locked up from sitting all winter.  Make sure the fan blade and bearings are free to spin before turning your unit on. We sell condenser fan motors on the following page if you need one. Please click here if you would like to see the air conditioner condenser fan motors that we sell.
  10. Take a temperature drop to see if the Air conditioner is cooling properly. Check the bare part of the suction line (large line) by feeling with your fingers to make sure cool gas is going back to keep the compressor running cool. If your suction line is not cold after running for at least 15 minutes then your system might be low on refrigerant charge and you would need to check the charge with gauges or call someone in to make sure your system is charged up properly.  From my experience (over 30 years) systems that are not charged up properly is the biggest cause for compressor burnout and failure. I would recommend that you check by feel monthly to make sure that cool gas (the suction line is cool/cold) to make sure that your unit is staying charged up properly.
  11. Clean evaporator coil drain line and make sure fittings are not loose or leaking.
  12. Make sure that your air filter is clean and change it regularly.
  13. Turn off the power to your furnace or air handler and make sure the blower wheel is clean.  Check the blower motor capacitor and make sure that it is in good condition.
  14. Turn the humidifier off and close your humidifier damper (if equipped)
  15. Make sure all your vents and returns are open and clear. Make sure that furniture or objects are not blocking the return of vents.
  16. It is a good idea to replace your thermostat batteries (if your thermostat has batteries).

I hope that you enjoy the video below that was made by Word of Advice TV! 
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Problem: How can I find my run capacitor size and voltage if the ratings are worn off?

rusty capacitor

Problem: My air conditioner’s fan and compressor have stopped working! My capacitor looks bad. Really bad and rusty all over! I can not read the specifications on the capacitor to know which capacitor to purchase. How can I find out what size capacitor that I need for my condenser fan and compressor?

Answer: We have this question asked many times. I have had this problem several times when I was doing air conditioning service. The Air conditioning unit’s capacitor needs to be replaced, but the capacitor is so rusty or the label is missing! I have had to ask myself, how in the world do I determine what is the right capacitor replacement size when I can not read the specifications of the old capacitor?  We have a really good YouTube video below that was made by AC Service Tech LLC that explains how to determine the right capacitor size when the capacitor specifications are worn off. Thanks to the AC Service Tech Channel for making this great video! AC Service tech explains in the video that you can get the capacitor size for the motor off the motor label and the compressor capacitor size by using Google or another search engine to find the compressor model number and capacitor size. The two most popular compressor manufacturers are Copeland and Bristol. Please click here if you would like to see a PDF Copeland Compressor Product Guide that shows the capacitor sizes for many of the Copeland compressors. Please click here if you would like to see a PDF Bristol Compressor Product Guide that shows the capacitor sizes for many of the Bristol Compressors. If you need a capacitor we would love to help you out! We sell over 80 different name-brand capacitors on the following page: Please click here to see the capacitors we sell. If you have any questions or if you would like for us to look up a capacitor or part for your AC or furnace please send us your unit’s model number and we will be glad to try and help you out. Our email is arnoldservice@gmail.com


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Question: What are the best furnace and air conditioning systems that you would recommend?

hvac brand name logos

Question: What are the best furnace and air conditioning systems that you would recommend? What brand name furnaces and air conditioners do you see the least amount of problems.

Answer: I have this question asked hundreds of times since we started our HVAC business in 1988! This is a great question! In my experience over the many years doing service work, I like the Trane, American Standard, Bryant, Carrier, Heil, and ICP units the best. I will not say that the other brand names are bad, but the Trane, American Standard, Bryant, Carrier, Heil, and ICP are the brand names that I installed and serviced the most.  These brand names are the brands where I had the least number of service calls and problems.  I could clearly see and feel that these brands were constructed with heavy-duty long-lasting materials and components. They just felt and looked well made. The metal was thicker. I would recommend Trane, American Standard, Bryant, Carrier, Heil, and ICP brand name furnaces and air conditioners. Trane and American Standard would be my top choices. I must add this important note: I would highly recommend that you get a licensed HVAC contractor to install your new equipment. Make sure that your contractor does a heat gain, heat loss calculation (manual J) calculation so you know that you are getting the right size furnace and air conditioner installed. Make sure that your contractor gets a permit from your local Housing Department so that you are getting a legal safe inspected HVAC installation and you will not have problems if you ever have an insurance claim or try and sell your home. I found a really good HVAC Load Calculator on the following page if you want to do some load calculations yourself. I also found a really good YouTube video, below that was made by Jay from Word of Advice TV. This video thoroughly explains what Jay found in Consumer Reports Magazine for the best HVAC, name brand equipment. Consumer Reports surveyed over 20,000 homeowners about their experiences with their HVAC equipment.  Thanks so much to Word of Advice TV for making this excellent video! Below the video, I have notes that I took from the video about the Consumer Reports survey. I have the brand names broken down with the companies they represent below. I hope that this helps you out when you need to purchase a new heating and air conditioning system. I sure did learn a lot from this video! Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below or by emailing us at arnoldservice@gmail.com. We Would Love to Help You Out and Earn Your Business! 

Consumer Reports 5 Brands They Would Not Recommend:

  • Coleman
  • Frigidaire
  • Luxaire
  • Maytag
  • York

Consumer Reports 5 Brands They Would Recommend:

  • Lennox
  • American Standard
  • Trane
  • Carrier
  • Bryant

Brand Names Produced and Owned by United Technologies:

  • Carrier
  • Bryant
  • Payne
  • Day & Night
  • ICP
  • Arcoaire
  • Keeprite
  • Heil
  • Tempstar
  • Comfortmaker

Brand Names Produced and Owned by Lennox International:

  • Lennox
  • Ducane
  • Armstrong
  • Concord
  • Allied
  • Air-Ease
  • Air-Flo

Brand Names Produced and Owned by Rheem Manufacturing:

  • Rheem
  • Ruud

Brand Names Produced and Owned by Daikin Global: 

  • Daikin
  • Goodman
  • Amana
  • Janitrol

Brand Names Produced and Owned by Johnson Controls: 

  • York
  • Luxaire
  • Coleman

Brand Names Produced and Owned by Ingersoll Rand:

  • American Standard
  • Trane

Brand Names Produced and Owned by Nortek Global HVAC:

  • Frigidaire
  • Maytag

Brand Names Produced and Owned by WolfSteel:

  • Napoleon
  • Continental

We hope this helps you out in making a decision on purchasing the right equipment for your home.

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Problem: My heat pump outdoor unit is frozen up in the wintertime. What causes this?

frozen heatpump

Problem: My heat pump outdoor unit is frozen up in the wintertime. What causes the outdoor unit to freeze up like this? Does this hurt the unit? Does this hurt my electric bill?

Answer: It is normal to have a thin coating of frost on the outside of a heat pump periodically, but never for long periods of time. If you are getting ice on the outside of your heat pump that is heavy and never goes away even during the defrost cycle then you have a problem that needs to be attended to. The answer to your question is Yes long periods of time with an iced-up heat pump can harm the compressor and fan motor in a heat pump unit. Yes, having a frozen-up heat pump will cause your electric bill to go way up and cause you to feel cold in your home. Having a frozen-up heat pump is not good and the problem needs to be fixed. It is very hard on the heat pump to heat your home with ice on the outdoor unit. The heat pump extracts heat from the outdoor air even in the wintertime and if it is covered in ice the heat pump can not extract any heat out of the air and you will get cool air blowing when the heat pump is on and warm air when your auxiliary heat, electric or gas kicks on. The heat pump that is frozen up with ice never goes off because the indoor thermostat is never satisfied.  When a heat pump is frozen the thermostat is set in a vicious energy-eating cycle because it is very hard to satisfy the thermostat (get your home warm enough) unless you are lucky enough to get a warm day. Most heat pump thermostats are two-stage thermostats. The first stage is the heat pump only stage that depends on the outdoor heat pump to produce heat to heat the home. If it is cold outside the heat pump can not remove enough heat from the outdoor air to satisfy the need for heating the home so the thermostat kicks into the 2nd stage which is usually some kind of auxiliary heat like electric heat, gas, oil, etc. The auxiliary heat will usually satisfy the 2nd stage heat on the thermostat, but then the thermostat kicks back down into 1st stage heat (the heat pump heat) where the heat pump can not satisfy the need for heat because it is frozen up. You get a constant run time where the heat pump hardly ever turns off thus causing strain on your heat pump and also causes your electric bill to be very high. Below we have several really good YouTube videos that show and discuss how a heat pump works. Another video shows how the defrost on a heat pump works. This YouTube video was made by HVAC School. Thanks so much to HVAC School for making this video!  We also have a really good YouTube video made by AC Service Tech LLC that shows and explains how a heat pump and an air handler work. Thanks so very much to AC Service Tech for making this excellent video! The last YouTube video explains how a reversing valve works. This just amazes me how someone could think up how to make heating, air conditioning, and heat pump equipment! When I first heard how air conditioners and heat pumps worked I was overwhelmed with a fascination with how this could work! I told myself this is the career path that I want to follow! Amazing! How could anyone be smart enough to come up with this? Here is another really good Heat Pump Not Defrosting Guide. Please email us anytime if you have any questions or want us to look up parts. Our email address is arnoldservice@gmail.com We Would Love to Help You Out and Earn Your Business! 

Here is a simple 4-minute video that does an excellent job in explaining how a heat pump works in both cooling and heating modes: 

Some things that are not good when a heat pump freezes up are:

  • This makes the homeowner feel cold and makes for a very high electric bill. The homeowner feels warm when the auxiliary heat is on, but cold when in heat pump mode.
  • This constant run time is very hard on the heat pump because it never gets a break from running. This shortens the life of the heat pump!
  • A heat pump compressor’s valves can be damaged if the liquid refrigerant is allowed to enter the compressor.  Many heat pump units have accumulators to prevent this from happening, but a frozen heat pump can overwhelm an accumulator and cause damage to the compressor.  New unit or compressor time and you do not want that!
  • I have seen some units that have been frozen so bad that the outdoor fan blade is stopped by the ice and this can burn up the outdoor fan motor!  New outdoor fan motor time! This can be expensive.
  • If you see that your heat pump is frozen I would recommend switching your thermostat to Emergency heat if your thermostat has this option. Emergency heat should cut the outdoor heat pump off and use only your Auxiliary backup heat for heating your home. This will save your heat pump from being damaged until you can get it fixed.

Things that can cause a heat pump to freeze up are:

  1. Low refrigerant level or refrigerant leaks. To determine this you would need to attach refrigerant manifold gauges and use the superheat or subcooling method to check the charge.
  2. A bad heat pump defrost control board. The defrost control board might be bad and not activating the defrost.  Please click here if you are interested in the defrost control boards that we sell.
  3. A bad heat pump thermostat or thermistor. Please click here if you would like to see the heat pump defrost thermostats that we sell. 
  4. A bad or sticking reversing valve. We have a really good YouTube video below that shows how a reversing valve works.
  5. A slow or dragging outdoor or indoor fan motor. Make sure the motor capacitors are in good condition. Please click here if you would like to see the capacitors that we sell.
  6. Any kind of restricted airflow on the outdoor unit like maybe a garbage bag has blown up against the outside of the unit. Maybe leaves or a dirty outdoor coil that has become partially stopped up with lint from the dryer vent.
  7. Broken gutters that allow water to drop down on the heat pump. Also, a heat pump where the pad sinks below grade that allows the heat pump to sit in water. Not good! The heat pump produces lots of water when it defrosts if the water does not have any place to go it accumulates inside the heat pump and causes ice to form inside the heat pump which is not good. Make sure that your heat pump is setting above ground level.


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