Common Causes of AC Short Cycling

April 11th, 2014

“Short-cycling” is a condition in an air conditioner (as well as other comfort systems) where the unit does not complete its normal cooling cycle and instead shuts off early. You can usually detect short-cycling in an AC because the system will continually turn on and off over brief periods, instead of running steadily and then shutting down for an equal stretch before starting again.

Short-cycling is bad news for an air conditioner. Because the system draws the most electrical energy at start-up, short-cycling drains excess power. It also causes premature aging due to excess wear and tear. It can have a negative effect on comfort as well, since the reduced running time means the cold air has less chance to spread out evenly throughout a home.

We’ll look over some reasons short-cycling can occur and what you can do about it. When you need professional assistance for a short-cycling cooling system, call Comfort Zone Heating & Air and speak to our specialists in air conditioning in Atlanta, GA.

Reasons for an air conditioner short-cycling

The worst-case scenario for an AC prematurely shutting down is that the unit was improperly sized when it was installed and it’s too large for your home. An overlarge air conditioner will lower the temperature so fast that it will shut off before completing the cooling cycle. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about an incorrectly sized AC except to remove it and have professionals install a system that will work with the space.

An electrical problem may lie behind short-cycling. If the control board of an AC develops a malfunction, it will start causing the system to shut on and off at the wrong times. The thermostat could also interfere with the AC’s cycles if the thermostat is miscalibrated and sensing the wrong temperatures. Technicians can repair the board or thermostat, although sometimes a replacement is the best option.

Your AC may have a bad compressor. This component serves as the central pump and engine for an air conditioner, sending the vital refrigerant through the unit. If the compressor begins to overheat or wear down, it may start shutting off frequently and end the cooling cycle. Technicians will usually need to swap out the compressor for a new one.

Let professionals investigate short-cycling

Since a number of problems can cause short-cycling to occur, you should not attempt to open up your air conditioner’s cabinet and troubleshoot the issue on your own. This job requires trained technicians with years of experience working air conditioners. They will locate the issue and find a way to repair it—or recommend a replacement if you have an oversized system.

If you need air conditioning repair in Atlanta, GA on the double, call Comfort Zone Heating & Air. We’ll get to the bottom of why your AC is short-cycling.

When a Tank Water Heater Is a Better Option

April 4th, 2014

One of the major innovations in home plumbing during the last few decades is the development of the tankless water heater. These systems do not need to store water inside a large tank the way conventional water heaters do; instead they use heating elements along the pipes to heat water whenever a hot water faucet turns on top signal the need. For this reason, they are sometimes called “on-demand” water heaters.

Although tankless water heaters offer immense advantages, such as energy efficiency and never running out of hot water, they are not always the best choice for installation. There are some situations where you should stay with a tried-and-true storage water heater.

The best way to know which water heater your home should have is to contact professionals. Comfort Zone Heating & Air can assist you with finding out if a tank water heater in Atlanta, GA is the way to go.

Reasons why storage water heaters are sometimes preferable

  • Tankless water heaters are more expensive to install than ones with storage tanks. Although a tankless system is more energy-efficient and will save money on your utility bills, in some cases going for the less costly initial expense of a storage water heater will better match your budget. If you already have low water bills or your hot water usage is small, then perhaps it’s best to stay with a standard system.
  • One of the disadvantages of a tankless system is that they require time to heat up water when a tap comes on demanding heat, while a storage water heater has a supply of hot water ready to go. This usually means less water waste while you wait for the flow from a faucet to warm up. If you rarely face trouble running out of hot water from your tank, then the advantage of having hot water ready all the time can sway your decision toward a storage water heater.
  • Your water usage patterns will affect how well a tankless system works for you. The more taps that turn on at the same time, the less energy-efficient a tankless system becomes. Let professionals track your water usage to see if you will receive the benefit from a tankless system that will make it worthwhile as an investment, or if a storage water heater will give you better performance.

Comfort Zone Heating & Air is a trusted name in home comfort. We can help you make the choice when it’s time to replace your current water heater with a new one. Perhaps a tankless system will provide you with tremendous benefits. But if we think you are better off with a tank water heater in Atlanta, GA, we’ll tell you. And, of course, we’ll install the right system fro you. Call us today for an appointment.

Heat Pump Repair Guide: Common Mode Problems

March 28th, 2014

A heat pump works in two basic modes: cooling and heating. In cooling mode—which is almost identical to the operation of an air conditioner—a compressor pumps high temperature gaseous refrigerant to a reversing valve. The valve directs the flow toward the outside unit and its coil, which acts as the condenser where a fan cools the refrigerant to a liquid and releases heat. The liquid refrigerant then moves to the indoor unit and its coil, which acts as an evaporator, absorbing heat from inside so cooler air is blown out. The refrigerant moves back to the reversing valve, which returns it to the compressor to start the cycle over again.

The heating mode works almost the same, except the reversing valve sends the high pressure gas refrigerant the other direction, toward the indoor coil, where it releases its heat, then travels to the outdoor coil to absorb heat.

Although simple to explain, the mechanisms involved are complex, and can lead to operating problems in either mode because of malfunctions. Comfort Zone Heating & Air can help you whenever you need heat pump repair in Atlanta, GA because your system is having difficulty heating, cooling, or switching between the two.

Some Common Mode Problems

The most frequent trouble people encounter with the modes on their heat pump is the unit failing to switch from one to the other and blowing only cold or warm air. This is usually the fault of a bad reversing valve: when refrigerant leaves the compressor as a hot gas, the valve determines where it goes. Should the valve fail, it will only send the refrigerant one direction; which direction depends on the manufacturer. Reversing valves are either in an electrically excited or relaxed mode, and whether this corresponds to heating or cooling is something the manufacturer sets. When a reversing valve breaks, it will remain in relaxed mode. A repair technician will need to swap out the valve for a new one.

Because heating and cooling mode work through the same process, trouble with one mode will almost always mean trouble for the other. If you have a refrigerant leak, it can cause ice to form on whichever coil is functioning as the evaporator. A compressor failure will also cause both heating and cooling to stop. It’s vital that you don’t ignore problems with one setting because you don’t plan to use it for a stretch. The malfunction will transfer over.

Heat pumps need work from skilled repair technicians who know them inside and out, both cooling and heating. If you encounter trouble in either mode, call for the Atlanta, GA heat pump repair specialists at Comfort Zone Heating & Air right away. They’re ready 24/7 to assist you.


Winter Is Over: Anything I Ought to Do about My Heating System?

March 19th, 2014

Winter officially ends at the close of March, and although we’ve still had some chilly days in Atlanta, we can expect the temperature to warm up during the next month to the point that our heaters will spend longer off than on. It’s time to prepare for the summer season of cooling down and making sure that the air conditioners in our home are ready to go to work.

If you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do to take care of your heater before the warm weather settles in, the answer is “yes.” Let’s look at some of the precautions you can take to make sure you have a heater that’s ready to come back on whenever you need it. For assistance from professionals in heating in Atlanta, GA, call up Comfort Zone Heating & Air. We’re ready to help you any time of the day or night.

Schedule maintenance if you haven’t already

You should usually have the annual maintenance for your heating system done in the fall, before you need to turn it on to combat the winter cold. However, if you missed doing it last year, don’t wait all the way until fall to schedule it. The heater has had a whole season of work to wear down, and the sooner you have it tune-up and its components cleaned, the better it will work when you need it again.

Take care of any repair needs

All too often, people let repair needs slide for their heaters when warm weather approaches. It’s easy to procrastinate when you don’t need to have the heater running during the summer, but this increases the chances of the heater breaking down when you turn it on again for winter. The heating repair will likely become more expensive if delayed, and scheduling repairs during the winter is often harder because HVAC companies are busy.

Consider replacement if it’s time

If you’ve thought about replacing your current heating system because of its age, inefficient performance, or because you want to take advantage of new heating technology, the spring is a fantastic time to arrange it. With the slower schedule for technicians, it’s easy to set up a convenient time for the installation. Since you won’t need your heater during the warmer weather, you won’t experience any discomfort for the time it takes to install the new system.

Call Comfort Zone Heating & Air today to schedule the services you need to keep your heater in good shape: whether repairs, maintenance, or installation, we can handle all your needs for heating in Atlanta, GA.

The Compressor and Heat Pump Repair in Atlanta, GA

March 13th, 2014

Heat pumps use the same technology as air conditioners, only they use it to heat the home as well as cool it. The technology is quite sound, and while heat pumps struggle sometimes in cold climates (necessitating auxiliary heating to pick up the slack), they make attractive and cost effective alternatives to traditional forced-air furnaces. They work quite well here in the South, where cold weather doesn’t bother us as much as it does further north. Heat pumps run into problems just like any other mechanical system. For example, here’s a quick rundown on the compressor and heat pump repair in Atlanta, GA.

The compressor is an essential part of the refrigerant cycle. In the compressor, the refrigerant gas is compressed, increasing the temperature and the pressure. The refrigerant gas then goes to the condenser coils, which dissipate the heat into the surrounding air, causing the refrigerant to condense into a liquid state.  It then moves to the evaporator, which returns the refrigerant to a gaseous state and absorbs heat from the surrounding air in the process. The cycle then repeats again. Heat pumps can reverse this process depending on the season: either absorbing heat from inside your home and transferring it outside, or absorbing heat from the outside and transferring it in.

Problems with that component mean problems for the whole system. A defective compressor motor means that the compressor won’t start and the entire system is sabotaged (i.e., no hot or cool air). Electrical issues in the compressor can create a “hard start,” meaning that the unit cycles on and off frequently. Improper pressure levels in the compressor can reduce the unit’s heating and cooling capacity, and a breach in the compressor itself will leak refrigerant until it can be replaced.

For issues with the compressor and heat pump repair in Atlanta, GA, call upon the experts at Comfort Zone Heating & Air to help. We’re based in Atlanta, heat pump repair is part of our coverage, and we have years of experience to bring to the table.

Join us for the 36th Annual Spring Atlanta Home Show at the Cobb Galleria

March 12th, 2014

Atlanta Home Show logo

For 36 years the Spring Atlanta Home Show has been improving home lifestyles and adding value to your largest single investment, your home. For three days this March the Cobb Galleria transforms into a one-stop-shop for all your home improvement needs. We’re proud to be a part of this family friendly environment and welcome you to stop by our booth at the show.

The Atlanta Home Show

Cobb Galleria Centre

March 21-23, 2014

Comfort Zone will be featuring products from our newest partner, Daikin. We are proud to be an Exclusive Authorized Dealer of Daikin products. For nearly 90 years Daikin has been a market leader in the development of high-tech, energy efficient comfort solutions. Drop by to see how an air handler works or to hear about the advantages of a mini-split. Pick up valuable coupons, or mention this email to receive $100 off any Daikin product.

For more information about the Atlanta Home Show visit

Don’t forget to print and bring the coupon below for $2 off admission!

Atlanta Home Show coupon


Common Ductless Heating System Repairs

March 3rd, 2014

Ductless heating and cooling systems have started to make the leap from the commercial world—where they have long been popular in businesses such as restaurants—over to the residential world. Ductless mini split heat pumps give homeowners the advantages of a heat pump (dual action heating and cooling, efficient performance) without the need for space-consuming and dust-collecting ductwork.

Just because these systems don’t require ducts doesn’t mean they won’t sometimes require repairs. You no longer need to worry about ductwork breaks, but there are still some issues you can encounter with your ductless cooling and heating in Atlanta, GA that will call for the work of professionals to remedy. Call Comfort Zone Heating & Air, any time of the day or night, for the repair work for your ductless system that will get it back to work.

Some ductless mini split heat pump repairs

  • Sealing refrigerant leaks from broken lines: Ductless heat pumps use multiple refrigerant lines that run from the outdoor unit to the individual blowers mounted on the walls throughout your home. These lines can suffer damage and begin leaking refrigerant, and this will lead to icing along the outdoor coil during heating. Repair technicians can fix the broken lines and recharge the refrigerant to its proper level.
  • Re-attaching blower units to the wall: The multiple blower units inside your house must be well-mounted to the wall with power and refrigerant lines running out the back. Blower units can come loose from their wall chassis (especially if they received amateur installation) and cause problems like leaking refrigerant and water condensation getting into a gap between the unit and the wall. Make sure you have professionals properly seal the unit back to the wall.
  • Cleaning the coils: Dirty coils in either the outdoor unit or in the indoor blower units will cause the heat pump to encounter problems with absorbing and releasing heat, leading to issues with icing and a decrease in heating power. Professionals will need to remove the coils in order to properly clean them.

Call ductless specialists

Since ductless systems have their own peculiar needs compared to standard heat pumps, make sure that you contact repair technicians familiar with them. Comfort Zone Heating & Air installs many ductless mini split heat pumps, so we can provide you with the service you need for your heating in Atlanta, GA if you have a ductless system. Put your trust in our years of experience.

Which Heating System Is the Easiest to Install?

February 25th, 2014

If you’re looking into a new heating system, the question is extremely important: what heating system is the easiest to install? In point of fact it depends on your particular circumstances. Here in Atlanta, heating installation services can inspect your home and provide a good sense of what works best for you. Generally speaking, however, it depends on how many components are already in place and how efficiently you want your particular home to be heated.

More radical heating systems such as geothermal systems and radiant heating systems are usually not easy to install. They involve a lot of disruption – including digging trenches on your property or removing and reinstalling the floorboards in your home – though they make up for that with efficient heating once they’re installed.

That leaves two basic styles of heating system: ductless mini split systems and forced air systems. Ductless mini split systems consist of multiple indoor units places around your home, all of which are connected to an outdoor unit. Forced air system systems use a series of ducts spread throughout your home to push heated air from a single, central location to warm your entire household.

Which one is easiest? That depends on whether or not your home already has ducts installed. If it does, then it’s usually easiest to install a furnace or heat pump compatible with them. The installation can be completed in a few hours in most cases and you don’t need to waste time or resources running ducts. If your house doesn’t already have a duct system, however, a ductless mini-split system usually entails the least amount of work to install, since the indoor units only need to be connected by thin conduits to the outdoor unit. Otherwise, you have to set up the ducts, which is a costly and lengthy procedure.

Again, that all depends on the specifics of you home. In Atlanta, heating installation advice and service is the purveyance of Comfort Zone Heating & Air. Our trained experts can inspect your home and make a recommendation as to what heating system is easiest to install, then set it all up with thoroughness and care. Give us a call today to set up an appointment and let us show you how we can help!

How to Cut Down On Your Heating Bills

February 17th, 2014

Here in Atlanta, heating bills tend to be lower than in other parts of the country, since our winters are mild and snowfall is rare. That doesn’t mean we can’t lower our heating bills with a little judicious preparation and foresight. No one should have to pay more for heating than necessary, and while we may not pay as much for our heating as other cities, that doesn’t mean we should accept unnecessary costs. Beyond the obvious lessons about dressing warmly indoors and setting your thermostat a few degrees below what you normally would, here’s a few tips on how to cut down on your heating bills.

  • Have your heater serviced: Over time, dust and build-up can appear on your heater’s interior components, while bolts and fittings may become loose. All of that robs you heater of efficiency. A regular maintenance visit – ideally scheduled at the end of summer but really helpful anytime – can address those issues and ensure that your heater doesn’t use any more energy than it has to.
  • Consider upgrades: New features such as a programmable thermostat and zone control systems can help save you money. The former lets you automatically turn the heat off and on when you go to work, while the latter allows you to heat only those parts of the house that you’re using.
  • Improve your home’s heat retention: This can involve small steps like placing weather stripping around your door, or it can involve larger steps like adding more insulation into your attic and walls. Regardless of which steps you choose, they will help your house hold onto heat more readily, and cut down on energy bills in the process.

For more ways to cut down on your heating bills, or to schedule services which can help make your bills easier to deal with, Comfort Zone Heating & Air is standing by to help. Pick up the phone and give us a call today if you need Atlanta heating service!

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Comfort Zone Heating & Air hope you have a wonderful February 14th!