I’ve had multiple AC people come over the years on the HVAC system that was about 17 years before it gave up. I’m in no means an expert in the area so please contact a professional if you feel uncomfortable with any fixes.
First, make sure the AC is properly maintained especially in Northern California with the all cottonwood and smoke. This will help the AC cool better, reduce the electric bill, and improve the longevity of your AC. The AC filter should be replaced every 3 months. I recommend setting a phone reminder because it is easy to forget. The AC coils should be hosed off seasonally (ideally before summer). Turn off the AC in the house at all the zones. Turn off the power to the AC unit - there should be a circuit breaker or a fuse that can pulled. Use a hose (not a pressure washer) to clean up the coils. You can buy something like Amazon to also clean it up. Wait a few hours for the water to dry off before enabling the the unit again.
If the fan has difficulty starting (e.g., it has to manually be pushed before it starts spinning) or rotates slowly then likely the capacitor is going bad. If you’re comfortable opening up your ac unit, you can replace the capacitor. Again, make sure the AC is turned off in all zones and the power to the AC breaker/fuse is off. There will be a side panel that can be accessed on the outside ac unit. If you see a bulging capacitor then the capacitor needs to be replaced. These can be ordered from amazon and the job can be done for about $50.
In my case, I had already replaced the capacitor a few years ago. The fan itself was creating a screeching sound and the compressor was knocking (turning off intermittently). The typical system lasts between 15-20 years.
Best HVAC Repair in Sacramento
My opinion on the best HVAC Repair in Sacramento is Mercer Mechanical.
I know everyone has different cases and what worked for me may not work for them.
Typical HVAC guys will have a technician and a designer come out separately. My recommendation is whoever you go with please contact multiple companies to get opinions and all your answers questioned. What you’ll find is they will likely disagree with each other!
Questions to ask the technician:
- What is current AC and furnace tonnage?
- How many zones does my house have?
- What is the cost of repairing the current system?
- How many stages does my AC have?
- Typical builder grade ACs have a single stage - meaning the AC is either on 100% or off.
- How many zones does my system have?
- Typical two story house will have two zones
Questions to ask HVAC designer consultant:
- What do you recommend for AC tonnage?
- For example, if you have about a 2000 sqft home and two zones. Then only one zone typically activates at a time so you need roughly half of the square footage of the home. There are other factors such as if you liked the cooling ability of your previous unit or not.
- How many zones do you recommend?
- What rebates does SMUD have?
- Typically you have to get a two stage system with a higher SEER unit (i.e, spend more money)
- What is your parts and labor warranty?
- Typically its 1 years labor and 10 year parts. Some places can give you a yearly service plan to continue labor.
- Do you recommend replacing the furnace at the same time?
- What is the cost of replacing the furnace separately?
- Do you pull all necessary permits and get the proper certificates?
- They must do this. Major red flag if they don’t
- What is the SEER and EER of the new AC system?
- Typical systems are around 16 SEER
- How many stages do you recommend?
Additional questions to ask yourself:
- Should I upgrade to a smart thermostat? (Benefit of controlling temperature via app)
- Do you like the cooling efficient of your current AC or would like it to cool better?
- How long do I plan to live in this house?
If you’re at this point make a call to Mercer Mechanical. I called about 5 different AC repair folks over the lifetime of this HVAC and Mercer Mechanical was the best by far. Mercer was recommended by two separate friends. Josh’s prices are great and his work superb. He was indeed ’no pressure’ (other AC guys just focused on why the other guy was wrong). Josh said if you find a better price go with them! Very knowledgeable and organized will be calling him again for all my AC repair needs. Gave me a clear break out of the work to be done and the model number of the products that was going to be installed (other HVACs did not). His contract workers did good job. Josh even personally came by and checked the contract workers work.
Summary: Josh was knowledgeable, patient, best price, had a good crew.
Will be Returning Customer? Yes