All posts by thehvacguy

Air Conditioning Heating Furnace HVAC Repair Service

Which AC Brand is Best?


So you are in the process of deciding on a new AC or Heating system. You’ve done your homework and received multiple quotes. Now you are asking yourself, which quote and which brand is better?

Lets begin this discussion by talking about the offers before we get into the Brands. Take a look at the offers. Is the company making the offer reputable? What are their reviews on such sites as Angie’s List or Google? I don’t recommend Yelp. The reason is that you have to take into account that Yelp tends to be a place for disgruntled people to slam any business they want to without the business being able to dispute the issue. The reviewer is hidden behind only a first name and is at times difficult to identify by the business who may want to reach out and try to rectify the problem. Google and Angie’s List make it easier for the company to discuss solutions with the customer and the reviews are more reliable because the review is identified. This make it hard for fake reviews which are very common on Yelp.

So you’ve narrowed your selection down to a few good companies. This is important. And the reason you want a good company is because your new system will be warrantied the first year through the installer, not the brand. You don’t want to risk a problem with the installation on someone who might not return your phone calls the day after he installed your unit. Second reason is what if the installer has some sort of problem and cannot continue to work? Maybe a workman’s compensation claim, and accident, a legal violation or some other health issue prevents them from doing any further work? What if they move out of your local area? Established companies are far less likely to have any of these issues affect their ability to provide warranty work.

Now you might be down to 2 or 3 companies. All with excellent reviews and a well established presence in your community or geographic area. The offers look very similar, the prices are close with a few differences. These differences may be due to different company policies or overhead costs. Some companies go the extra distance and replace components that other companies my leave behind. Others put in a few extra safety features or upgrade thermostats, just to name a few differences. It is now time to look at the Brands.

We look at the brands last because the installation problems are 80% due to the installation and 20% on the equipment. Most of the equipment goes through rigorous quality testing at the factories and there is less variability in equipment quality from one unit to the next. The installer has less consistency and their reliability is less easier to measure. With that said, lets look at brands.

Some brands are designed, manufactured and assembled in the US. Others are completely designed and assembled in another country and shipped to the US. But no brand is 100% designed, manufactured and assembled in the US. There are small components that are common to many brands that may be manufactured and shipped to the assembly plant. Here in lies the true quality of the Brands. Most brands share the same compressor manufacture, such as Bristol or Copeland. And all those manufacturers make is the compressors. There are electrical components that are purchased as well, such as circuit boards, relays, gas valves, contactors, and capacitors. The Brands typically keep in-house the coils, heat exchangers, and cabinet designs. In essence they are all almost equal. There is a variety of quality in the components and that can make a huge difference in the system quality. There are brands that will be cheaper due to using lower quality components. There are what I consider the “off-brand” products. I would stay away from those if you plan to stay in your home for any period of time. They may be a good option for a builder or a person selling their home or a landlord. These owners typically are not worried about the maintenance costs.

Of the big name brands, Carrier, Lennox, Rheem, Trane, York, the quality is comparable to each other. Not much help? Then lets look at the warranties. Many of these companies farm out their labor warranties to a third

party warranty company. I hope you are asking why they would do that? I know I do. Most companies force the first year labor warranty back on to the installer. Yes I brought that back. And for a reason. Remember I said 80% of the first year issues is due to the installation and not the equipment. Now that starts to make since. But why do they farm out the extended labor warranty? I always wondered if this meant that they don’t have faith in their own equipment.

Warning, here’s where I pitch the brand I carry. York is the only brand that is designed, manufactured, quality tested and assembled in the USA that the extended 10 year labor warranty is backed by the manufacturer and not through a third part. I truly believe this is because they have faith in their product and are willing to stand behind it for 10 years. I know of no other brand that does that.

Call us today. We are your award winning Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical contractor servicing Raleigh-Durham area since 2012.




Common Air Conditioner Capacitor Failure Symptoms

Capacitor Failure Symptoms

are sometime harder to identify without the right tools and expertise. the most common symptom of a bad capacitor is that the motors do not run. This is especially true for the compressor. Fan motors can sometimes run even with a bad capacitor but hidden damage is still happening to the fan motor. Fan motors can also run intermittently with a weak or bad capacitor. There are not always visible signs that a capacitor is bad. But there are times when you will see either a balloon shape on the capacitor or a split and leak. But this is not always visible when a capacitor is bad. It’s best to have an expert check the capacitor. There is a high risk of severe electric shock if a capacitor mishandled. This is not a DIY repair.

Types of Capacitors

Capacitors can be found in several different sizes and shapes. There may be one or multiple capacitors included in your ac with regards to the design. While the most popular capacitors are the types found on circuit boards, the ones most associated with air conditioning will be the bigger capacitors that assist start and run your motors. There are several motors present in an conditioner and heater systems:

  1. Compressor Motor Run Capacitor: Here is the most popular capacitor that fails. Most of the time these are duel capacitors, which means that there are 2 capacitors built into one. A duel capacitor will have three terminals on the top where a single capacitor will simply have two terminals on top.
  2. Outside Fan Motor Run Capacitor: That is the smaller capacitor found with or part of the Compressor Motor Capacitor. It helps start and run the outside fan that blows air through the outside coils.
  3. Indoor Blower Motor Run Capacitor: Similar to the outdoor fan motor capacitor, it is a small, single (two terminals) capacitor that will help start and run the indoor blower motor.
  4. Start Capacitor: Some models include an auxiliary start capacitor that helps jump start the motors. Most are found on the compressor. These are less common.

Why do capacitors go bad

When capacitors go south, they either go out entirely or they decline in strength. The decline is measured in the “capacitance” units called micro farads. When the capacitors are produced, they are labeled with their specifications capacitance and a range +/- from the design capacitance. This range is the allowable operating range, usually labeled in a percentage range, for the capacitor. If the capacitor starts to fail, the capacitance measured will be outside of the labeled range. Sometimes these are difficult to find any symptoms unless you have the proper tools. Warning, there is a risk of severe shock, so do not try this at home.

Diagnosing a bad capacitor

If a capacitor goes out completely, or is severely out of its operating range, it may prevent the motor affiliated with it from running completely. If the compressor motor is not working, then the air conditioner will not cool. If the outside fan is not working the compressor may cause problems and will short cycle or cease working. If the indoor fan stops, you’ll find that there is no air blowing through the vents.

For Quick, Honest and Affordable Service, call

Alexander Heating and Air Conditioning

1-919-886-HVAC (4822)

Raleigh Air Conditioner Repair

Holly Springs Air Conditioner Repair

alexander hvac logo

Why You Need an Air Conditioner Tune-up

Why You Need an Air Conditioner Tune-up

It is almost springtime again in Raleigh North Carolina and people will soon be starting to turn on their air conditioners for the first time. Most air conditioners have been sitting idle through the winter and probably have not been checked for several months. Through the winter, the condensing units have been exposed to adverse weather conditions, clumsy landscapers, dust and pollen, dirt from construction sites, road salts from the traffic, dirty air filters, and much more. All these environmental conditions have a significant impact on the operation and life of your equipment.York Heat Pumps

The #1 cause for air conditioner failures is compressor burn out. All the dirt, pollen, dust, leaves, and landscaping mulch can build up on the outside coils and cause the compressor to overheat. When a compressor operates at elevated temperatures, the oils inside begin to breakdown and stop lubricating the compressor parts. Then the friction build up elevates the temperatures even more and soon your compressor will stop functioning.

It is Time for Your Air Conditioner Tune-up Today

Alexander Heating and Air Conditioning offers our Spring Tune-up services that will your coils, check all your components that wear out with age, and notify you if you need any R-22 added. Our Tune-up will give you the peace of mind that your system is in the best shape possible to prepare for the upcoming summer. Don’t wait for your system to breakdown during the busiest part of the season. And during the summer months, most companies are backed up with calls and will cause you to wait several days for a repair. Don’t be stuck without your air conditioning this summer. Call us today.



R22 Phase out

If you have been living with a refrigerant leak and your air conditioner contains R22, it’s about time you got that old junk replaced. In the last 4 years, R22 prices have more than quadrupled and and are expected to go up 50%-100% more by the end of summer. Most distributors are only allowing the purchase of one tank at a time to the HVAC service companies.

Some have offered drop-in replacements but the variety of 4531535_sreplacements out there make the task of servicing the unit 10 times harder if you do not know which replacement the previous technician used. Mixing the replacement refrigerants can further damage your system.

If you have not changed to a new system in the last 15 years, start getting your wallets out. The new systems will come with a bit of a sticker shock to most consumers. Expect to pay from $6000 to $8000 just for the entry level systems.

Check out our web site for more information on refrigerant leaks or new systems.

Why do HVAC Capacitors Need Replacing

Capacitors are very similar to batteries. They get charged up, hold this charge, then release it. The only difference between a capacitor and a battery is the amount of time it takes to charge and discharge. Batteries are slow to charge and slow to  discharge. Capacitors charge and discharge nearly instantaneous.capacitors

Several other properties are similar too. For example, they wear out over time, they have a shelf life, they lose their power capacity when exposed to extreme heat, and they can fail internally and leak. The one thing that makes them different also makes them dangerous. Since they can discharge in an instant, this means the current and voltage they hold can severely injure or even kill someone who does not know how to handle them.

The quality of a capacitor is dependent on the materials used to manufacture the capacitor. Some materials are better than others. There are capacitors that have 5 year warranties and cost more due to the materials. There are others that are made from cheap less suitable materials and the capacitors can fail within months.

HVAC technicians have a wide variety of choices from their distributors and sometime just go for the cheap brand so they can make lots of profit. Not to mention they get more frequent return visits. Most consumers are not educated on the brands or what to ask their technician. Check with your technician if he/she offers any kind of part warranty for your piece of mind.