The spookiest month of the year is here, and we thought we’d share some of our most frightful HVAC stories. As Los Angeles heating and cooling professionals, we see our share of “paranormal activity” with HVAC systems. And while our team may not be ghost busters, we’ve tracked down the cause of these happenings. So read on, dear visitor, there’s no need for a garlic necklace. Our team here at Brody Pennell knows exactly how to avoid these hauntings!

Air Conditioner Frozen in Fear

On another gorgeous Los Angeles afternoon, you notice a sight often unseen in Southern California… ice… on your AC unit. A chill runs down your spine, causing goosebumps to rise on your forearms. How is it possible for an air conditioning unit to freeze over, even with our mild LA temperatures? 

Allow us to break the spell. A frozen AC unit or coil is not the work of a ghostly creature; it’s typically either a refrigerant leak or an airflow problem. If your AC system doesn’t have enough refrigerant, the pressure inside the pipes changes, causing the coils to freeze up. 

The other issue is an airflow problem. Air conditioners need a clear airflow path. So if you have witch’s hats and brooms blocking the vents to your system, that could be the cause. If you need any help, contact our team for AC repair and service.

Screeching and Squealing 

Recently, a customer called us complaining about whining and howling coming from their attic. The man said the ghost hunters who came last week were unsuccessful in detecting any paranormal phenomena. The Brody Pennell team arrived on the scene and discovered the high-pitched crying belonged to… the heater

Screeching noises from the attic COULD be ghosts, but it’s more likely that a damaged fan belt or another component that requires replacement. Squealing sounds like this are a sign that your unit is dying for a repair… or maybe it’s time to put your aging system to rest and replace it. Contact our team for an HVAC professional’s opinion

Hovering Dust Bunnies

Have you ever been alone in a room and had an unsettled feeling? And out of the corner of your eye, you think you see someone. Maybe it was a shadow. Or a reflection in the window. Yes, that’s it. 

Or perhaps it’s the most terrifying of all. 

Dust and pollen floating in the air of your home. 

There will always be dust in your home, but when the particles are large enough that they are visible to the eye, the air is not being filtered completely. And dust isn’t the only villain; there are invisible particles (such as bacteria and viruses) in your home as well. And if you do nothing about it, they just keep recirculating through your HVAC. 

It’s time to take control of your IAQ (indoor air quality). First, replace the air filter in your furnace. If you still see mysterious hovering orbs after 48 hours, it may be time to investigate an in-ductwork air purifier or UV sterilizer to eliminate the problem. 

Don’t Get Spooked This Holiday Season!

Brody Pennell wishes you a spooky and safe Halloween holiday! Got an unsolved mystery with your HVAC system? Since 1945, we’ve been courteous and friendly to the ghosts residing in Los Angeles, so you can trust that your HVAC repair, maintenance, or new installation will go on with no unusual activity. Contact us now!

Many of the appliances in your home work for you year-round. Dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators operate 365 days a year. Your air conditioner is a little unique, because it only works for a few months of the year, then sits dormant for several months while no cooling is needed. In this article, we’ll talk about how to best prepare your AC for the winter months so that when it’s time for cooling again, your system is ready to go. 

How to Prep Your Air Conditioner for Winter

Here in Los Angeles, the winter months are pretty mild. So, some of the advice you may find on the web are simply not applicable to Southern California. We don’t have to worry about protecting air conditioners from snow or sub-zero temperatures. For this reason, we don’t recommend that you cover your HVAC unit with a tarp or covering. It’s simply unnecessary, and will cause problems if you turn on your AC without remembering to remove the cover!

The best thing you can do for your air conditioner before the winter months is to give it a good cleaning. Cleaning your outdoor unit is a good preventive maintenance measure. Before starting, disconnect power to the AC unit. You can usually do this via your circuit breaker box. Then, use a broom to sweep off any twigs, leaves, debris, or anything else that may have collected on or around the AC. Use a hose to wash off dirt or dust which has accumulated.

Also, don’t forget about what’s inside! Make sure to change your filters at least quarterly, even during winter months. Replace filters more often if you have family members which are elderly or with allergies, or if you have pets. Another reason to replace filters frequently is due to wildfires or other air quality problems. A clean filter is not just good for healthy air, it also helps your AC move airflow more freely throughout the system. This improves energy efficiency and performance year-round.

Schedule Maintenance in the Spring for your AC

Homeowners should have a reputable HVAC contractor perform seasonal maintenance on all heating and cooling units in your home. We recommend maintenance just before you expect your system to turn back on for regular operation.That means you should schedule heater maintenance in the fall, and air conditioner maintenance in the spring. 

A licensed professional will inspect your complete home comfort system, preparing it for the months ahead. During AC maintenance, our technicians complete a 26-point air conditioner checklist. Tuneups keep your AC running smoothly. And don’t forget, regular maintenance is required to maintain your equipment warranty. 

In our 75+ years of experience serving the Los Angeles market, we’ve found that many homeowners don’t have time to remember to schedule maintenance. That’s why we started the Brody Comfort Club – a convenient, time-saving preventative maintenance program. Members get automatic scheduling of tune ups, priority service, and professional service from our award-winning team. It’s the easiest way to make certain all your HVAC needs are covered.

Here For You. Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

We’ve been serving this area since 1945. There is no other HVAC contractor in Los Angeles that can say that! We’ve stayed open for 75+ years for a reason: “old school” customer service, fully-trained technicians, and 100% satisfaction guaranteed. If you have any questions at all about your HVAC system, don’t call anyone else but Brody Pennell!

You’re sitting on the couch in a quiet room, then suddenly… you hear the telltale noise of your air conditioning starting up. You feel the fan blowing air out of the vents. Moments later, this stops as quickly as it started. Many of our customers here in Los Angeles wonder why their AC unit system turns on and off all day long. And, is that normal behavior?

What LA Homeowners Need To Know About How ACs Work

Your thermostat is the communication center for your air conditioning system. It monitors the temperature inside your home and tells the AC unit when it’s time to turn on and off to maintain the temperature settings you give it. 

When the temperature inside your home rises over the temperature setpoint, the thermostat signals your air conditioner to make cold air. This helps bring down the indoor temperatures. Once the temperature sensor gets a reading below the setpoint, your AC unit will shut off after a job well done.

Changing the mode and setpoint of your thermostat will be the biggest determining factor for your unit turning on and off (we call this “cycling”). This is totally normal throughout typical operation. But there can be too much of a good thing – read on to know when cycling is abnormal for your AC.

When Does Cycling Become A Problem?

If you find your air conditioner is turning on and off quickly, there could be a bigger issue. As mentioned in the section above, it’s normal for your system to cycle.

If the contractor that installed your air conditioner sized the unit correctly, the only time it would not cycle during operation is during the hottest hours of one of the warmest days of the year. Every other day, your AC will only need to turn on and off at 5-10 minute intervals to maintain appropriate indoor temperatures.

When those cycling intervals are much shorter, this is a sign there is a definite problem with your system. We call this behavior short cycling, and it usually happens when the size of your air conditioner is too large for the space it’s cooling. 

Bigger isn’t always better. Short cycling will almost always shorten the lifetime of the unit and its components. It can also potentially cause humidity problems. An oversized unit can cause as much discomfort as an undersized one, so it’s important you reach out to true professionals to help select the right piece of AC equipment for you. 

Modern air conditioners offer a lot of options, like variable speed and staged equipment. These models can operate longer without turning off. This reduces cycling and helps to continuously dehumidify the air in your home.

Next Steps If Your AC Is Turning On and Off Frequently

AC equipment cycling is very normal. But if it’s bothering you, or you think you need someone to take a look at it, reach out to us. 

The best thing you can do to prevent future issues is to schedule regular AC tune ups. We recommend a preventative maintenance agreement, where we will check for these types of problems on an annual basis. 

If you have any concerns about your AC unit turning on and off, or short cycling, don’t hesitate to call us.

As the weather heats up in Los Angeles, keeping cool is more important every day. That’s why it’s critical that your air conditioning system provides refreshing cold air directly to you. So when you’re expecting cold air, and the air doesn’t feel cool at all, it can spell trouble. 

Stay Calm. We Can Figure This Out!

First things first: don’t panic. There are several reasons why you might be getting warm air out of your air conditioning unit. Some of these we can address before calling in a professional.

  1. Your Thermostat Is Not Signaling for Cooling. Look at your thermostat and see if the space temperature is at or below the setpoint temperature. If so, the thermostat is not sending a signal for your air conditioner to cool (or in industry lingo, the air conditioner is “satisfied”). Try lowering the setpoint a degree or two. If the AC starts blowing cold air, you’re all set. And while you’re looking at the thermostat, confirm that your system is set to cool. It’s possible your unit somehow got set to Fan Only mode, or even worse, Heat.  Your unit might have symbols instead of words for these settings. In this case, look for a snowflake to indicate cooling mode.
  2. Is it Plugged In? (AKA The Unit Doesn’t Have Power). It’s possible sudden surges in electrical demand due to the California heat were met with your circuit breaker tripping. Locate your electrical panel and check for any flipped breakers. You can reset them if needed. If you keep having to reset breakers, it’s probably time to talk to an AC and/or electrical company to address the overall issue. In the short term, resetting the circuit breaker will get you up and running, but it’s important to call a professional right away.
  3. No Air. Make sure all supply vents in your home are fully open and return grilles are unobstructed. That means no furniture directly in front of or on top of the openings for your AC system. When airflow is blocked, it can cause your system to not operate properly.

What Else Could Be Going On?

Even if you end up needing to call in the pros for AC repair, you might want to know what they’re going to be looking for. Unfortunately, there are a lot of different things that could be going on with your system. After all, that’s why you need specialists to diagnose and treat it. 

If there is a refrigerant leak, even a small one, over time you will lose refrigerant. That will cause reduced system performance including a lack of cool air. Our technicians will check refrigerant pressures and temperatures to see if this is what’s going on. Resist the urge to ask for a refrigerant top off, because too much refrigerant can be just as problematic as too little.

Coils can freeze up for a variety of reasons, but the most common will be because of low airflow. When air moves too slowly across the coil, moisture in the air freezes on the coil and will eventually block airflow.  

There are several components of your AC system that can fail over time and need replacing. Capacitors, blowers, motors, compressors, and more could have reached the end of their life and you would need a new one. Technicians will use various tools to check these components and let you know what you will need.

My AC Is Blowing Warm Air and I’m Ready For Some Help

Now that you’ve done your research and tried some of the easy fixes, it’s time to get some help to get your AC back up and running. You deserve some indoor comfort in Los Angeles and we will help you get there. Call Brody Pennell for AC repair 24/7! Our technicians are very experienced in troubleshooting issues with warm air coming out of vents when the AC is on. So if you want a resolution as quickly as possible, stop searching the web – call us now!

Have you ever noticed there’s one space in your house that is warmer than the rest? Maybe it is one specific room that feels several degrees warmer than the rest of the house. You can drive yourself crazy trying to fix hot spots, from blackout curtains to ceiling fans. In this blog, we’re sharing why hotspots happen and what you can do to fix them. 

What’s A Hot Spot?

Ideally, your air conditioning system is providing an even temperature to the entire home. But sometimes, there is one space that gives you trouble. A hot spot is a concentrated area inside your home where it feels warmer than it should. And most likely, that hot spot in the summer becomes a cold spot in the winter. 

What Causes a Hot Spot?

There are many reasons why a space in your home may feel warmer than the rest. Some of the most common causes are: 

  • Thermostat Problems – your air conditioner operates based on the temperature sensor inside your thermostat. So if your thermostat is on the fritz, or if the problem area is located far away from the thermostat, that could be why it’s causing trouble.
  • Ductwork and Balancing Problems – another problem could be with airflow. Maybe other spaces are getting too much airflow, or the hot spot isn’t getting enough. You might also have an air leak in the duct that needs sealing. Adequate airflow is critical to delivering cool comfort to the space. 
  • More Heat in the Space – a common culprit of a hot spot is simply that one space has more heat than other spaces. Large windows, lots of electronics, or south-facing walls can all be reasons that space has more heat. If there is more heat in your problem space than in other spaces of your home, that can cause an imbalance. 
  • Spreading the AC Too Thin – if a lot has changed in your home since your air conditioner was first installed, that too could be the cause for a hot spot. This is especially the case if you have finished out a space that previously didn’t have air conditioning, like an attic or a basement. 

There are many other possibilities for why a hot spot exists, but no matter the reason there is good news. You don’t have to live with a hot spot! We can make adjustments to your home comfort system to ensure that EVERY space feels comfortable, even on the hottest days. 

How To Fix a Hot Spot in My Home

Luckily, there are better and more permanent solutions than cranking a ceiling fan to high and darkening the room with blackout blinds.

The first course of action is to check all the air vents in your home. If there are some rooms that feel frigid while others are sweltering, try changing the vane position on your vents to allow for more airflow in the spaces that are warm. Our team can also check any balancing dampers that are located inside your ductwork to make sure the spaces are getting adequate airflow.

One option could be to add a temperature sensor to the problem area. Depending on the type of thermostat you have, additional temperature sensors can be used to give the air conditioning system a more accurate representation of the temperature throughout your home rather than one specific area.

Another solution is a ductless mini-split. A ductless mini-split provides a dedicated air conditioning to a single space. This is a fantastic solution for a hot spot, especially if you have recently done renovations where there is added square footage. Mini-splits are also an excellent choice for a room that are used intermittently, like an office or a guest bedroom. The person using the space is able to choose the temperature that makes them the most comfortable, and can turn off the A/C when they leave the room. 

Finally, considering weatherizing your home. Weatherization can help not just with your indoor comfort, but also with saving on your energy bills.

Need Help With a Hot Spot? Call Brody Pennell!

Call Brody Pennell to diagnose and fix your hot spot issues for good! Our team can help you navigate all the solutions, from zoning to ductless, and recommend the best solution for your home. You can trust the team that has been serving Los Angeles since 1945. Whatever it is you need, we’re here for you! Call us at (310) 896-4911.

It can be a constant battle to keep the temperature of your home at a cool and comfortable level while not breaking the bank to pay your electric bill. Many families are feeling the heat, literally and figuratively, during the warmer months. However, there are some cooling tips for your home that can help create a comfortable balance and be better on the environment. For the benefit of your budget, your comfort, and the environment, follow these summer cooling tips:

Cooling Tip 1 – Keep Blinds Closed

One of the simplest house cooling tips is to keep the blinds closed. Keeping shades and blinds closed during the day can keep several degrees of heat out of your home. In the morning, make sure the windows are covered on the east side of the house, and in the afternoon the west side of the house. In addition, you can take this a step further and buy shades that reflect and further block the sun’s heat out of your home.

Cooling Tip 2  – Give Your AC a Break

If the temperature drops enough in the evening and at night, open your windows to let the cooler air in. This can give your air conditioning unit a break during the night, yet still keep your house at a tolerable temperature. In the morning when it starts to warm up again, close your windows and consider turning on the air conditioning before it gets too hot and the unit has to overwork to catch up.

Cooling Tip 3 – Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance

It is essential to keep your air conditioning unit well maintained. Each summer before the weather gets warmer, schedule AC maintenance with a certified technician from Brody Pennell.  This will help ensure it is running at its best and less likely to break down when you need it most. If your unit needs work, you can possibly do the work now to avoid a larger bill in the future when you really need your air conditioner functioning properly.

Cooling Tip 4 – Use Those Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to keep cool. In fact, you can keep your air conditioner setpoint up to 10 degrees higher than you’d normally set it and still feel comfortable if you have a ceiling fan operating overhead. Bonus: ceiling fans use much less energy to operate than your AC, making it the affordable and eco-friendly choice for comfort. 

Cooling Tip 5 – Check Your Thermostat’s Settings

The months before summer are a great time to check your thermostat settings. Look for any schedules and see if you need to adjust timing or temperatures for the warmer months. Smart thermostats may have a wide range of advanced settings that can impact your comfort and energy use. If you need help checking your thermostat settings, don’t hesitate to call us. 

Cooling Tip 6 – Check What’s Around Your Thermostat

While you are looking at your thermostat, take a peek around. Are there any heat-generating sources located within a few feet of the controller? Ovens, stoves, coffee makers, hair dryers, and even lamps can cause your air conditioner to run longer than it needs to. Move heat sources far away from your thermostat, or if you need to relocate your thermostat give us a call!

Cooling Tip 7 – Weatherize Your Home

Now is the time to check your home for anywhere cool air could leak out or the outside heat can get in. Caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows can be really helpful in retaining coolness inside. Adding insulation to attics and crawl spaces can also be a huge help. Replacing old, leaky windows can have a dramatic effect on your AC bill, too!

Cooling Tip 8 – Let Air Move Freely

Your air conditioner works by recirculating the air in your home. For the best performance, make sure air can easily move throughout your home. That means keeping doors and corridors open when possible. Homeowners should avoid placing any furniture or other items directly in front of a return air vent. 

Cooling Tip 9 – Replace Your Air Filter

Right before summer is a good time to replace your air filter. In fact, we recommend replacing every 3 months at a minimum. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your filter, it’s time! 

Cooling Tip 10 – Get a Quote for Replacement

If your air conditioner has been running for more than 8 years, it’s a good idea to get an estimate for an AC replacement. The possibility of summer breakdowns increases as your unit ages. And while we do everything we can to keep repairs affordable, sometimes the parts to fix a unit are downright expensive. Getting an estimate on a new system is free – which means no strings attached. You wouldn’t wait to shop for a new car until your current vehicle has reached its end, right? The same is true for an air conditioner – at least knowing what type of unit you’ll replace with can be helpful even if you decide not to replace your AC before summer. And don’t worry about having all the money saved up- we offer financing to make replacements affordable.

Call Brody Pennell for Cooling Help this Summer!

Use these tips to keep your home at a comfortable temperature during the warmer months, as well as keeping your electric bill within your budget. Whenever you need us, we’re here: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Call us anytime!

One question we hear from Los Angeles homeowners is about refrigerant charge-up, top off, or refill services.

There is really only one scenario where this question comes up, and it’s with a broken AC in need of repair. Many of our customers have had a faulty AC quickly solved by a technician “topping off” the refrigerant in the system. However, this quick fix is just a band-aid solution. Worse, we can guarantee that you’ll need another refrigerant top off service again in the future.

Why Does Refrigerant in AC Need A Top Off?

Your air conditioner contains refrigerant that recirculates through components to provide you with cool air. All air conditioning systems have an ideal quantity of refrigerant required to function as expected. You’ll encounter problems if you have too much or too little refrigerant in the system. 

It’s important to remember that AC refrigerant is not a fuel nor is it akin to a battery charge. You will not need to fill up your refrigerant every year in order for it to operate.  

AC refrigerant is more like the air inside of a tire. Tires don’t work well when they are low on air pressure, and over inflating tires can cause damage as well. You need just the right amount of air pressure. If there is a tiny leak, filling a tire up with plenty of air can give you just enough of a safety net to get to a repair shop. And once you’re there, the mechanic can either patch your tire or recommend a replacement.

Air conditioners, too, can get leaks. Leaks are a common side effect of system wear and tear. If the refrigerant in your system is low, it’s a sure sign of a leak. 

HVAC professionals have many methods to locate the leak, but occasionally the leak could be in a location that’s difficult to reach or in a component that cannot be repaired and must be replaced. Topping off your refrigerant is a stopgap to get the system cooling again but beware – because without repairing the leak, your system is actively losing refrigerant. 

Ultimately, it’s critical to deal with the root cause of the problem by sealing the leak or replacing the component. Otherwise, you will need a refrigerant top off again and again. 

What’s So Bad About A Refrigerant Top Off? 

You might be in conversations with an air conditioning professional that wants to repair your system, when you just want to pay for the refrigerant top off. Rest assured: repairing the leak is the way to go.

If you’re only topping off the refrigerant and not repairing the leak, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to call the technician back out again to charge up the system with more refrigerant. If the leak is microscopic, the refrigerant will leak slowly. Larger leaks, the chemical will dissipate quickly. Repairing the leak is the best way to protect your comfort – and your wallet. 

Also, refrigerant fluctuates in pricing. This is particularly true if your AC was installed over 10 years ago and uses a specific refrigerant blend called R-22 (or better known as the brand name, Freon®). The federal government has discontinued the import and production of R-22, making it more scarce to find and thus, more expensive. That can make your regular refrigerant top off a pretty spendy repair. Read our Homeowner’s Guide to the Freon Phaseout for more information. 

Call Brody Pennell to Solve Your Refrigerant Leak

Our team is adept at finding and sealing refrigerant leaks. We are up-to-date on the latest technologies available, which translates to fast and affordable AC leak repairs for Los Angeles homeowners. We also offer AC maintenance services which includes a check on your refrigerant charge. That means we can catch and repair any leaks before they cause real problems for your comfort. And in the case your system is beyond repair, we can provide a quote on an AC replacement. We’re here to help – contact us anytime.

Are you an optimizer? A maximizer? A person who wants to squeeze every ounce of value out of an investment? This blog is for you! Today we’re talking about how to make the most out of your home’s HVAC system.

These tips and tricks are great for anyone that wants to ensure top performance of their heating and cooling system. The fact is that it’s not always about the HVAC unit you have, but action (…or inaction) you take to interact with it. By understanding more about how your choices impact your home’s heating and cooling performance, you can save energy and money! 

Be Aware of Changing Energy Needs

We have all experienced the frustrating feeling of being in a dark room where there’s only one option for lighting: ON, with so much brightness it makes you squint! Sometimes we want that full illumination – like if you’re looking for a missing item. But often in the evening hours, it’s nice to have the option of a dimmer switch, or smaller lamps with a softer glow. And during the daytime, you may only need a bit of light to supplement the sunshine. The moral of the story is that your needs for lighting change throughout the day. 

The same is true for your air conditioning and heating. During certain parts of the day, week, and year, your HVAC will use more or less energy. Comfort cooling and heating systems run more frequently and for longer periods in the winter and summer months. Also, your home may need less cooling or heating during the week when the family is out of the home for work or school. 

If you’re serious about making the most of your heating and cooling system, you need to install a programmable thermostat. That will allow you to change the temperature setpoint automatically depending on your changing energy needs. To take it a step further, new smart thermostats can allow remote access to your thermostat via your smartphone. 

One more tip: don’t forget to set back your thermostat when you are leaving your home for several days at a time. 

Preventative Maintenance

The very best thing you can do to improve the long-term performance of your heating and cooling system is to ensure you get maintenance every single year. Your HVAC unit is a mechanical device with plenty of moving parts. It needs a professional service annually to ensure top performance and the highest efficiency. 

We strongly recommend partnering with a reputable HVAC company with a preventative maintenance program. One of the most valuable benefits of a maintenance program is that the company will track your service schedule for you. Here at Brody Pennell, we also take pictures of your equipment and track performance over time, which can help us provide faster and more accurate service. Plus, our members receive other benefits, like 24/7 emergency service and extended appointment times. 

There’s a reason that manufacturers require annual service as a part of warranty agreements. Maintenance helps maintain the performance and reliability of your equipment. It’s that simple!

Investing In Higher-Quality Equipment

When it comes time to replace your equipment, consider investing in the highest quality systems.  The best HVAC systems today have new technological advances that make them more efficient, work better, and break down less than the HVAC systems of years ago. 

For example, the Carrier Infinity Systems with Greenspeed Intelligence offer performance features unmatched by any other system on the market. When you invest in a premium system, you’ll get enhanced durability, improved serviceability, and outstanding energy efficiency. 

Because of the extreme energy efficiency, these high-caliber systems often qualify for discounts and rebates. Plus, financing can ease the burden of a new HVAC purchase. You can get the comfort and efficiency of a new system now, and pay later.

Beyond Tips and Tricks: Call Brody Pennell

Brody Pennell is an award-winning heating and air conditioning company that has served Los Angeles since 1945. We are the longest-standing Carrier dealer in the LA area, so you can trust that we are a reputable company. How can we help you? Contact us today!

When hiring an HVAC service technician, there are many credentials you should look for to ensure quality work. A contractor that is committed to excellence will employ NATE-certified technicians. So, what is NATE certification anyway? 

What is NATE Certification?

The non-profit organization North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is an independent association serving the HVAC industry. NATE is primarily a certifying organization, so their primary purpose is to certify installation and service technicians. 

NATE is the only nationally accepted certification program for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. It is endorsed by the entire HVACR industry, the technicians themselves, manufacturers, contractors, and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, ACCA. It is the culmination of years of effort by the ACCA and other industry stakeholders to come up with a single, nationwide certification.

Although NATE is a voluntary certification, tens of thousands of technicians are certified to date, and the number continues to grow. However, not all candidates who attempt the test pass it the first time; in fact, close to 35% of all those who take it fail. This is a strong indication that those who pass are the very best in the trade in terms of skills, experience, and knowledge of heating and cooling installation and service.

What Are The Levels of NATE Certification?

There are many types of certificates awarded by NATE:

  1. Ready-to-Work Certificate – this is the first step of the certification and is for entry-level technicians just beginning their career in the industry.
  2. HVAC Support Technician Certificate – once a technician has worked in the field for 6-12 months, they will have gained enough knowledge and experience to earn the HVAC Support Technician certification.
  3. Specialty Certificates – technicians can earn certificates in specialty topics. These certificates can then be used to qualify for NATE certification or HVAC Efficiency Analyst certification.
  4. NATE Certification – this is the gold standard of the certifications that NATE offers. Technicians must pass a rigorous series of exams and demonstrate a deep level of knowledge on speciality topics.
  5. HVAC Efficiency Analyst – this is a senior certification and is intended for the most experienced of technicians. To qualify for this level, a technician must already hold two NATE specialty topic certificates.

Homeowners should ensure professionals they hire have earned NATE certification. Individual certificates are not the same as NATE certification. You can verify a technician’s certifications on NATE’s website.

Earning NATE Certification

Technicians earn NATE certificates by passing  several knowledge–based tests. To reach NATE certification, technicians must pass a core exam. The core exam is 50 questions and covers topics like construction safety, HVAC science, tools, and measurement taking.  In addition, candidates must take a specialty test with 100 multiple–choice questions focused on one or more of the following specialties:

Installation Specialties: 

  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Distribution
  • Air to Air Heat Pump
  • Gas Heating (Air)

Service Specialities:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Distribution
  • Commercial Refrigeration
  • Heat Pump (Air to Air)
  • Gas Heating (Air)
  • Hydronics Gas
  • Hydronics Oil
  • Light Commercial Refrigeration
  • Oil Heating (Air)
  • Efficiency Analyst

What Does NATE Certified Mean to Homeowners?

Homeowners who hire NATE certified technicians can enjoy greater peace of mind and home comfort. Other benefits to the homeowner include:

  • A job done right the first time
  • Lower power bills due to proper installation and service
  • Fast, reliable and efficient service
  • Fewer warranty returns and callbacks
  • The HVAC system will run at peak efficiency
  • Expert advice from an experienced and knowledgeable technician

NATE certification tests take the form of real working scenarios of HVACR systems, and they positively impact contractors, manufacturers, distributors, trainers, utilities, consumers, and the technicians themselves. An NATE certificate is an impressive addition to a technician’s resume, since up to 90% of homeowners prefer working with certified technicians.

If you want to get the most out of your cooling and heating system, call an NATE certified technician and schedule a maintenance inspection. Brody Pennell proudly employs NATE-certified technicians and supports their continuing education requirements. For HVAC service you can trust, call your friends at Brody Pennell! 

While air conditioning systems come in various designs, all of them share similar working components to cool your home while eliminating heat and moisture. Choosing the perfect one for your needs, however, will depend on several factors, including cost, application, and installation.

Choosing Air Conditioning Systems: Know the Types

As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life! You may not be aware there are many kinds of air conditioning systems to choose from.  To narrow down your choices, it pays to weigh the features and benefits of different air conditioning systems. Here are your common options:

Central Air Conditioning Systems

A central A/C is the most common type of air conditioner in Los Angeles, so you are probably familiar with what it looks like and how it works. Physically, it’s the largest type of air conditioner. 

A central AC consists of a large outdoor unit and a small indoor coil connected to each other by refrigerant tubing. Central air conditioners use the same ductwork and blower fan as your heating system. That can make a central system very effective in cooling your entire home. 

The most important part of selecting a central AC system is choosing the correct size. Undersized units won’t provide enough cooling while oversized ones won’t dehumidify well. Both can take a toll on your energy bills.

Decentralized with Ductless Mini-Splits 

A ductless mini split is a great choice for a lot of homeowners. If your home does not currently have a forced-air HVAC system installed, ductless can be a perfect solution. Mini-splits are also great for add-ons or hot spots.

Mini-splits work because they are decentralized. Mini-splits have a ton of benefits and don’t take up much space. Plus, ductless systems often qualify for rebates since they are so energy-efficient.

Space Cooling with a Window Unit

As the name suggests, this type of unit is installed within a window or through a hole in an exterior wall. It is a unitary system, which means that all the components for air conditioning are within a single compact box. It’s available in various sizes to serve any space, from a single room up to an entire floor. 

Window units can be very affordable but there are a few downsides. One is that they are very noisy, so while the temperature feels nice the sound can be very distracting. The other negative is that these units can be quite the eyesore from the outside. For that reason, many Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and local municipalities have rules against these types of units. 

Portable Air Conditioners

If you have a small room that needs temporary cooling, you might consider a portable A/C. This is a mobile, self-contained unit placed on the floor that you can easily move from room to room. You can use this as a supplement for your central AC to prevent premature wear and lower energy costs.

But despite the word “portable” in the name, this type of air conditioner has a couple of space requirements. It must connect to an exterior window for warm air to exhaust. And, you need an outlet nearby to plug it in. So, most homeowners with a portable AC keep it in a fairly permanent location. Here, you may be better off installing a single ductless mini-split to take care of the comfort problem. 

Turn to Brody Pennell for Flawless Air Conditioning Installation

With over 75 years in the industry, Brody Pennell has what it takes to carry out your air conditioning installation to perfection. We’ll help you find the right A/C for your home so you can keep your comfort at optimum levels.  Get in touch with us or call us at (310) 896-4911.