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Air Conditioning (24)

As summer winds down and our central air conditioners are turned off for the season, there are a few maintenance tasks that you can perform to keep your air conditioner in good condition during the winter months, while also having it ready to go the first hot day of spring.
  1. Shut-Off Power to the AC Unit - First, and most importantly, always turn off power to the AC unit before performing any cleaning or maintenance tasks on your air conditioner. There are electrical and moving parts that can easily injure you, so always use caution. On the outside of the home near the condenser/compressor, there should be an exterior shut-off box. Also turn off power to the unit at the breaker box.
  2. Clean the AC Unit - Remove the fan cage on top of the condensor/compressor. You will need either a screwdriver or wrench to remove the fasteners. Next, lift the fan grill off the top of the unit and set it aside. Using a wet/dry vacuum or gloved hands, clean away leaves and debris from the interior of the unit.
  3. Clean The Fins - Using a garden hose – NOT a pressure washer – gently spray through the fins from the inside out to blast away any built up dirt or debris from between them. If the water from the hose is not able to remove dirt that has built up, there are commercial sprays available at most home stores that can safely loosen the dirt so it can be sprayed off. Never use unapproved detergents or solvents to clean the air conditioner.
  4. Straighten The Fins - bent fins can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. One way to straighten fins is with a butter knife. Fin straightening tools are also available. Be careful not to damage the tubing that is embedded within the fins.
  5. Clear the Area Around the Air Conditioner – Cut away tree branches and shrubs in all directions within two feet the unit. Rake away debris and leaves. If the unit will be unused for a period of time, cover the top of the unit to protect it from falling debris. Enclosing the entire condensor unit in a plastic cover can reduce ventilation and cause corrosion, and is not recommended.
Have questions about maintaining your central air conditioner? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we are here to help.
Ecobee Smart ThermostatA traditional thermostat works by detecting the temperature in the room and sending a signal through wires to the heating or cooling system to turn on when the temperature drops above or below the preset temperature.

A smart thermostat consists of a control panel that connects wirelessly to a home's HVAC system. To control the thermostat you can use the interface on the wall mounted unit, or an app for your smartphone or tablet. One advantage of a smart thermostat is you can monitor and control the thermostat from any location. Alerts can even be set up to notify you if the temperature drops to an unsafe level during the winter... providing additional peace of mind while you're away from home on vacation.

Another key benefit of smart thermostats is their ability to learn a household's routine and adjust the temperature to optimize comfort and reduce energy waste. When the thermostat senses that no one is home, the temperature is adjusted to maximized energy savings over comfort.

Have questions about connecting your home's heating and cooling system to the latest smart thermostat technology? Give us a call, we can help.
During the summer months, does the upper level of your home feel hot and stuffy while the lower levels are freezing cold? In multi-level homes it's not uncommon for there to be an 8-10 degree difference between the lowest level and the highest level in the home during the summer months. Here are some steps you can take to even out the temperatures.

First, it's important to leave all of the air ducts open throughout the house. Central heating and cooling systems are designed to work with the air volume of every room. Closing air ducts can reduce the performance of the system and waste energy.

Leaky Ductwork
Even minor leaks from poorly aligned or uninsulated ducts can dramatically reduce airflow, making it difficult for conditioned air to reach the outer reaches of the home. An HVAC professional can help find and seal leaks with with special pressurizing equipment.

Check Insulation Levels
Improving attic insulation can mitigate air leaks and can reduce the effect of environmental factors on the temperature inside of the home. The US Department of Energy has some great tips for installing insulation here.

Consider a Zoning System
A zoning system allows you to control the temperature on multiple levels of the home independently using thermostats installed on each floor. The thermostats are rigged to control panels that adjust dampers installed inside your ductwork.

In addition to balancing the temperature on different floors, a zoned system will allow you to heat or cool individual rooms on demand, or close off unused rooms entirely.

Have questions about maintaining even temperatures throughout your home? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we can help.


If you are considering replacing your old central air conditioner, there are a few important things to consider when it comes to selecting a new AC unit for your home.

1. Reliability - An air conditioner is a major investment that you will depend on for years to come. Do your research and go with a proven brand and you'll reduce the chances of having problems down the road.

2. Efficiency - By choosing an EnergyStar® rated system you can save you up to 30% on your annual cooling bill.

3. Variable Speed Operation - One of the features that has improved heating and cooling efficiency and comfort in the past decade is variable speed operation. By more precisely controlling the speed of the fans, the system runs quieter and provides more advanced control.

4. Professional Installation - The most important day in the life of your air conditioner is the day it's installed. Proper sizing and correct installation is critical. Choose a heating and cooling company with experience and one that stands behind their work, now and down the road.

5. Indoor Air Quality - To reduce indoor pollution consider attaching a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler. You can have peace of mind knowing your new system is capturing small contaminants that can cause health problems.

Have questions about choosing a new air conditioner? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We're here to help.
Your central air conditioner works hard to keep your home cool during the hot and humid summer days. However, much of the heat and humidity could actually be coming from inside your home. Here are the main heat sources in the home that can make your AC work harder.

1. Lighting - If you're using incandescent light bulbs as much as 90% of the energy sent to the bulb is converted to heat. Consider upgrading to more energy efficient CFL or LED, which run much cooler while using far less electricity.

2. Cooking - Kitchens are a major source of heat and humidity inside the home. When the weather is hot, cook outside on a grill or use a microwave instead of an oven or range.

3. Laundry - Clothes dryers generate a lot of heat and humidity. Consider hanging clothes outside on a laundry line. Or, have an exhaust fan installed in the laundry room to vent the hot air outside.

4. Dishwashers - During hot weather washing dishes in the sink will reduce heat and humidity. If you run the dishwasher turn off the heat dry and let the dishes air dry instead.
If you're ready to replace or upgrade your window air conditioners, you may want to consider a ductless, or mini-split system instead. While initial installation costs are usually higher, in most cases a ductless system will offer better aesthetics, efficiency, convenience and versatility that will pay for itself.

Here are a few of the advantages ductless systems offer versus window AC units.
  1. No window needed. A window air conditioner blocks the view outside and can present security issues. Window AC units can also be unsightly both inside and outside the home. Ductless systems are typically small, narrow units that can be mounted up high near the ceiling or in the floor where they won't get in the way.
  2. Heating. In addition to cooling, some ductless systems can provide heating.
  3. Expandability. Mini-split systems can be connected together to cool and heat up to 8 rooms.
  4. Less Noise. Because the condenser is located outside the house, ductless mini-split systems are typically much quieter than window air conditioners.
  5. Advanced Features. With some models you can monitor and adjust your ductless system with a remote control and create programs and schedules from your smartphone or tablet.
If you're considering replacing your window air conditioners with a ductless cooling system, call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help answer all your questions.
If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, you may be surprised by how far home cooling technology has improved. These are just a few of the advancements that you can expect with a new central air conditioner.

Less noise - Advanced designs with quieter fans and newer refrigerants have enabled air conditioners to run much quieter than previous generations.

Green - Unlike the Freon® coolant used over a decade ago that caused damage to the earth's ozone layer, newer R410A are environmentally friendly and also perform better.

Reduced Energy Consumption - Decades ago it was not uncommon for a central air conditioner to consume 6,000 watts of electricity every hour to cool a typical house. Today, that level has been reduced to around 1,700 watts an hour, thanks to technology like variable speed fans and scroll compressors.

Have questions about central air conditioners? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help answer all your home cooling questions.
Monday, 27 March 2017 17:46

Spring Energy Savings Plan

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With the winter heating season winding down and the hot weather not far behind, spring is a good time to identify areas to save energy around the home by increasing efficiency and eliminating energy waste.

Fix Drafts and Air Leaks

While we usually think of drafts and leaks when the weather is turning cold, you can waste just as much energy in the summer by running your air conditioner in a drafty, poorly insulated home. Replace worn weather striping around doors and windows and ensure that you have sufficient insulation in your walls and attic.

Stop Vampire Energy Loss

With the increase in electric gadgets and appliances in the home, so does amount of electricity used. Energy that is consumed while electronics are not in use or are in standby mode is called vampire energy loss. Unplug devices that are not in use or use power strips that can turn off the power supply.

Don't Rinse Dishes Before Loading Them In the Dishwasher

Most newer dishwasher and detergents are designed to clean dishes without pre-rinsing.

Replace Your Old, Inefficient Water Heater

Replacing a 10-year-old water heater with a new, high efficiency Energy Star® rated model  can save a family of four over $325 a year on their utility bill. At that rate the new water heater can pay for itself in less than three years.

Tune-Up Your Air Conditioner

It's a fact that a dirty, unmaintained air conditioner cost you money not only in less efficient operation, but in the increased likelihood of unexpected breakdowns and repairs.

Dry Clothes On a Clothesline

Clothes dryers use a lot of energy and generate heat and humidity which can make your air conditioner work harder. Consider using an outdoor or indoor clothesline to dry your clothes.

Perform a Home Energy Audit

Looking for more ways to save energy around the home? Consider hiring a professional to perform a home energy audit. Or, check out energy.gov for tips on performing your own energy audit to find out where your home is losing energy. With help from the pros you can prioritize areas that need attention to make your home more efficient and comfortable.


With the the hot days of spring and summer just around the corner, now is the time to schedule your annual air conditioner tune-up. A dirty, unmaintained air conditioner not only costs you money from unexpected repairs and a shortened lifespan of your cooling system, but also every time it is running with a dirty filter, condenser coil and blower. Consider these facts:

“A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool – wasting energy and leading to expensive repairs and/or early system failure...A buildup of .042(1/20) inches of dirt on the heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease inefficiency of 21%.” – EnergyStar.gov

“1/8th of an inch of dirt and dust build-upon the blower wheel can reduce airflow by up to 30%” – Texas A&M Study

In addition to keeping your air conditioner clean, a comprehensive A/C tune-up from Gibson's includes lubricating moving parts, checking coolant levels, inspecting the blower motor, belts, electrical systems and much more. So call us today to schedule your annual tune-up before the hot weather arrives and rest assured that your cooling system is operating at peak efficiency and not wasting energy and costing you money.
With the phasing out of older air conditioner refrigerants, such as R-22 (or Freon®) many homeowners are wondering if their cooling system is ready for the future without Freon. Freon is a powerful greenhouse gas that is known to damage the earth's ozone layer. If your air conditioner or heat pump was manufactured in 2010 or later, it will use HCFC-22, also known as Puron®. HCFC-22 is a newer, more environmentally friendly refrigerant that has proven to be very reliable. It also allows new air conditioners to run quieter and more efficiently.

If your air conditioner is still using older R-22, it will need to be upgraded in order to be compatible with R410A. When you upgrade your cooling system to R-410A a new line set and new evaporator coil will be installed to replace the older non-compatible equipment. If a leak develops in your older Freon-based system, it is often better to replace the system than attempt to repair the system and recharge it.

Have questions about the refrigerant in your central air conditioner? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help with all your home heating and cooling needs.
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