A large number of residences throughout Marin County rely on air conditioning to keep cool and comfortable when temperatures soar. Marin has many micro climates for a small county. On a hot day temperatures can be ten to twenty degrees hotter than other towns in Marin. Certain valleys or west facing locations can be brutally hot on a summers day. Air Conditioning has become more popular because people do not want to be uncomfortably hot in their homes. This is especially true for the elderly for whom overheating could be dangerous to their health.
John Owens Services has been providing air conditioning installation, air conditioning repair, and air conditioning maintenance in Marin County since 1994. We have been a Dealer Installer for Trane Heating and Air Conditioning products since 1994.
Trane is the most reliable brand of heating and cooling equipment (Ingersoll Rand Marketing Insights September 2014)
Trane is Americas Most Trusted HVAC System (Trane received the highest numerical score in the Lifestory research survey in 2015 based on 10,850 surveys lifestoryresearch.com)
John Owens Services uses Trusted Brands for your HVAC Project
Trane, American Standard, Carrier, BDP, Paine, Bryant, Day and Night, Tempstar, Comfortmaker, Amana, GE, Goodman, Westinghouse.
Annual Preventive Maintenance is a must
It is important to do a thorough annual inspection, maintenance, and testing of your air conditioning system before the hot weather or heat wave is upon us. There are a very limited number of qualified air conditioning technicians in Marin County. If your air conditioning breaks down during a hot spell it could be days before a technician could become available. We and all other air conditioning contractors run waiting lists during hot spells. Don’t be caught out – call 415 456 2906 and book an air conditioning maintenance today.
Air Conditioning Maintenance Check List:
- Maintenance be performed by a certified HVAC and air conditioning technician
- Check outside condensing unit and coil for dirt and debris (dirt build up on the coil leads to higher pressures, more strain on the equipment, and higher operating costs.)
- Check inside evaporator coil for debris build up, or a loose or incorrectly positioned thermal expansion valve sensor. (either item could lead to poor performance and higher operating costs.)
- Verifying Refrigerant Charge – using the correct air conditioning gauges and precise calculations (an incorrect charge can cause 30% higher operating costs. A leak is bad for your wallet and harmful to the Ozone.)
- Operating Controls and Safeties – (from the thermostat down controls that do not function properly can cause component and equipment failures.)
- Relays, Contractors, Capacitors are all components that wear out (worn relays, contractors, or capacitors can cause fuses or circuit breakers to trip during periods of high usage.)
- Condensate Drain – Very Important – dirt, dust, and algae cause the condensate drain to plug up and water to overflow (Overflowing condensation can cause damage to the equipment, and extreme damage to your home.)
- Air Filter – Very Important – a blocked or partially blocked filter can cause your air conditioner to break down. (Air Flow in air conditioning is very critical for good performance – air flow for heating is not so critical.)
- Recording Temperatures and Pressures for each system An accurate log of temperatures and pressures can help a technician spot system problems, it can also help the technician diagnose problems in the future if we have a history to follow
- Electrical Disconnect and Fuses – check that there is a reliable safe electrical disconnect within visual range of the equipment and that the fuses and circuit breakers are of the correct size (equipment damage or failure can occur with incorrect circuit protection.)
Types of Air Conditioning Systems in Marin County
The most common air conditioning system is a split system comprising of a gas furnace, an indoor evaporator coil, and an outdoor condensing unit. The two ( split ) parts of the air conditioning system are connected with copper refrigerant piping. The sequence of operation is that the thermostat calls for cooling, the furnace blower motor provides the air flow, the evaporator coil absorbs the heat from the air, and the outdoor unit dissipates the heat into the outdoors.
Tip We design for 95F outside temperature . If the temperature soars well above that your system performance can be improved by lightly spraying water over your outdoor unit with a simple hardware store lawn sprinkler ( not harmful to the unit that sits out in the rain all year ).
Split systems with air handlers. For a home that has radiant floor heating throughout that requires air conditioning perhaps only to the second floor an air conditioning air handler is a good alternative to a furnace. Typical air handlers are mounted in closest or attics. The air handler contains the evaporator coil and the air blower, and outside is a condensing unit. The two units are connected with copper refrigerant piping.
Rooftop Package Units are not as common on residences. They are used mostly on commercial rooftop applications. A package unit has the gas furnace, the evaporator coil, and the condensing unit built into a pre-assembled factory built unit. They are on the roofs of some houses and in certain applications they sit on the ground adjacent to the home. This type of equipment can be useful in a home that has no attic or crawl space to accommodate heating or cooling equipment.
Mini split air conditioning systems or ductless air conditioning systems are the most common in Marin County. These system have been in the US for approximately 20 years. Originally supplied mostly by Japanese manufacturers. These units are now produced by American manufactures. Trane our preferred manufacturer has a line of mini split ductless heating and cooling units. Mini splits can be used to spot heat or cool one room ( a home office, or an over heating bedroom suite ). They can be combined to zone heat or cool an entire house.
These units have small indoor wall or ceiling units, and fairly small light outdoor units. The refrigerant piping is also small which aids when retrofitting an existing residence.
Mini split systems are used on Eichler homes where there is no attic or crawl space. Mini splits are a great alternative to noisy window air conditioners. The smaller units run on standard household 120 volt electricity and may only take a few hours to install.
Ground source or geo thermal heat pump / air conditioning units. A heat pump is an air conditioner that is reversible. When a heat pump is in air conditioning mode it extracts heat from within the home and dumped outside of the house. In a ground source heat pump situation there is no outdoor noisy unit. It has only piping buried in the ground. In the summer the excess heat is transferred into the cooler earth outside the home. In heating mode the ground source heatpump extracts heat from the ground and transfers it into the homes duct system or radiant heat system. This type of system is very common in climates that have extremely hot summers and very cold winters. They are very efficient in these climate situations. Ground source heat pumps have been used on larger homes where outdoor condensing units would have been very visible or noisy. There are many ground source heat pump units or geothermal units in Marin County. We are experienced repairing and working on this type of equipment.
Evaporative coolers (also known as swamp coolers). These are generally roof mounted. They are very common on mobile homes and busy high volume restaurants or restaurant kitchens. Because the cooling is created by evaporating water over filter pads the air entering the building has a high moisture content. In a typical home the air would be muggy. Hence the term swamp cooler. They are great for high traffic areas where the doors open and close frequently. Evaporative coolers are inexpensive to run.
Installing and Repairing Air conditioning
Air Conditioning Technicians need to be highly trained and certified to handle refrigerant gases. Air conditioning equipment contains refrigerants. AC units run at extremely high pressures that can potentially be dangerous. Refrigerant gases have long been known to effect and damage the Ozone layer. Refrigerants are controlled by the Clean Air Act. The main job of the Clean Air Act is to set forth proper procedures for dealing with refrigerant gases. The procedures effect the storage, transfer, removal and recycling of potential Ozone depleting gases.
John Owens has been EPA refrigerant gas certified since 1994, and has maintained an impeccable no violation record with the EPA for over twenty years. Safety and training is the key to maintaining good refrigerant gas management.
The State of California maintains energy standards for heating and cooling equipment. Installations are now required to have independent third party testers verify that our installations meet mandatory standards (a HERS rater or tester – is a person who is a Home Energy System Rated). HERS testing is required by most Cities in Marin County.
Three tests are usually performed:
- Air Duct Leakage Testing – New homes are allowed 6% remodels 15% leakage – the average home leaks 34% before testing or repairs.
- Air Flow Testing – Air Conditioning systems only perform if the integrity and size of the ducts are correct. The hers tester verifies adequate air flow – this recent requirement has increased the amount of ductwork we have to upgrade or replace. The requirement is ultimately to provide a better functioning system for the home owner .
- Refrigerant Charge and Thermal Expansion valve Testing – Refrigerant charge is critical in air conditioning. If the charge is incorrect running costs can be 30 % higher. The thermal expansion valve meters the refrigerant in to the evaporator coil and has significant effect on the efficiency of the unit.
Correct sizing of the air conditioning system. This is critical. The old rule of thumb methods do not work. From our experience we have a good idea of what size unit will be required. The only accurate method is to perform a heat loss, heat cool analysis of the entire building to calculate the exact heating and cooling requirements of a system (also known as Manual J calculations). We have software that performs these calculations to verify the size of the systems before we order the equipment.
Air conditioning system installations are very regulated for ultimate energy savings and your piece of mind. Our Air Conditioning Technicians are EPA certified and Air Conditioning installation and repair certified.
See our special offers section for repair or installation discounts!