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.

Call it intuition – or just being observant – but most Los Angeles homeowners know when there is a problem with their central heat. It’s like the furnace is trying to tell them that there is a problem. But besides that pit-of-your-stomach feeling, there are some sure signs that your furnace is just not working right. 

Your System Isn’t Heating 

Let’s tell it like it is, shall we? If your heater isn’t heating, that’s a sign that something is wrong. So if you wake up feeling chilly and you’re sure your thermostat has power, all signs point to a repair. 

Similarly, if your furnace is cycling on and off frequently, it could be cause for concern. Many times this is a simple fix, but it definitely shouldn’t be ignored. Short cycling could be an indicator that your system is near the end of its life. If that’s the case, now is a good time to research a new heating system. It’s better to do that research while you still have some heat, than when you’re stuck in the cold and trying to make a quick decision. 

Unusual Noises or Odors

It’s important to use all your senses when troubleshooting heaters. Besides how you feel (too hot, too cold, or juuuust right) you should also consider the sounds and smells. A furnace that is rattling or making other noises is a definite indicator that there is a problem. Another sure sign? If your carbon monoxide monitor is beeping away. Take any CO alert seriously: carbon monoxide is both colorless and odorless, so it’s not always apparent there’s a problem.

Colors of the Flame

Another warning signal is the color and shape of the flame. If your heater is in good condition, the flame visible through the opening in your furnace should always be a pretty hue of blue. That’s indicative of a system that’s stable and burning clean. 

An abnormal flame inside your furnace is one that appears to be yellow or orange. When a burner gets dirt built up in or around it, yellow to orange flickering flames will be present. But a dirty burner is not always the reason for an unstable or yellow flame; these can also be signs of a gas leak or other problem. 

Don’t Wait to Call For Repair

Any of these problems – or a combination – could mean a major dollar sign in the future. And remember, broken furnaces don’t heal themselves. In fact, holding off on repair can make things worse and more costly in the long run. Call Brody Pennell for heater repair and we’ll resolve your problem quickly. 


Many issues can be avoided by scheduling an annual furnace maintenance and keeping up with it year over year. The best way to stay on top of these things is with an HVAC maintenance agreement like our BPM club! It’s a simple and easy way to make sure your furnace stays in tip-top condition for the long run. Whether you need repair today or if you’d like to schedule a tuneup, we’re here for you. Contact us today!

On. Off. On. Off. The heater clicking on and off is not only annoying – it may be cause for concern! So, what exactly could be the cause for a heating system to shut off repeatedly? To answer this question, it is important to understand the typical operation of a heating system. 

Heating System Cycle for Los Angeles Homes

The average on/off cycle for a heating system is three to six times an hour.

Most homes in Los Angeles have a central heating system, like a furnace. The furnace turns on and off based on signals from your thermostat. When your thermostat senses that it is too cold, your heater turns on. And once it’s warm enough, your heater turns off. It’s normal for this cycle to happen several times an hour. 

If a unit is going through its cycles more often, we call that short-cycling. Short-cycling is just what it sounds like: the cycling on and off is happening faster than we expect. A furnace that is short-cycling definitely needs repair. Besides it being irritating to hear, short-cycling causes extra wear and tear on your system, leading to a shorter system life. It’s also the cause for higher than normal energy bills. 

Why Your Heating System Is Shutting Off All The Time

Instead of immediately calling for a furnace repair, there’s a chance you can determine and resolve the root cause of the short cycling. Here are a few things to check: 

Thermostat Causing Mixed Signals

Since your thermostat is signaling the furnace, it’s a good place to start troubleshooting. First, check the thermostat and make sure you have set it to operate in heat and at the right temperature. Next, see if the thermostat might be sensing extra heat. For example, is your thermostat in direct sunlight? Or, is it possible there’s another heat source nearby that might cause funky readings? Space heaters and even hair dryers used near the controls or the thermostat might make it sense that the home has reached the set temperature and cause short-cycling.

Clogged Air Filters

You should replace air filters every three months at a minimum, but if you have many people or pets in your home, check them monthly. A clogged filter is one of the most common causes for short cycling. Without proper air flow through the system, warm air cannot circulate through the home as it should and a cold house is the result. The unit works harder than it should without providing the desired comfort, and that can lead to mechanical problems.

Other Reasons for Your Heating System Shutting Off Repeatedly

Why else could your heating system shut off? Heaters are complex mechanical systems, and there are hundreds of components that could be the cause. Some other causes for short-cycling in a heating system are:

  • Undersized ductwork or equipment
  • Corroded flame sensor
  • Objects lodged in air vents or chimney
  • Dislodged air ducts
  • Low refrigerant in a heat pump 

Call in The Experts at Brody Pennell

Our expert team at Brody Pennell will quickly diagnose the cause for your unit short-cycling. Sometimes, the only cure for short-cycling is a new heating system. This could definitely be the case if your heater is not sized correctly for your home and lifestyle. Our comfort consultants at Brody Pennell can say for sure. We offer many affordable options and special financing to ensure you can get the comfort you need. Call us today to learn more about efficient heating options and rebates for Los Angeles homeowners. Book an appointment online with one of our professionals to get your heat pump or furnace fixed right away!

Is your air conditioner more than eight years old? If so, your AC may use Freon® as a coolant, which is part of a federally regulated R22 phaseout. Translation: your air conditioner repairs will soon get more expensive.

Your air conditioner contains a refrigerant fluid. Depending on the make and model of your system, the coolant inside your system could be R-22. R-22 is a coolant known by other names, such as R22 or Freon®. The EPA identified this refrigerant as a cause for ozone layer depletion, so the government is phasing out the use of it in different equipment. As of January 2020, refrigerant suppliers can no longer produce or sell Freon®. That means the only R-22 available will be recovered, recycled, or reclaimed supplies.

Check out our infographic to learn more about what you can do to prepare for the upcoming R22 phaseout:

What do I do if my HVAC system breaks down over the holidays?

There is no convenient time for your HVAC system to break down. However, the holidays are a particularly difficult time to go without your heating and cooling system. Many homeowners spend the holidays in their home with friends and family and a breakdown could be disastrous, especially if you are hosting guests.

But have no fear! Our customers have gotten through holiday HVAC breakdowns and so will you! Below are just a few tips for what you should do when your HVAC system breaks down over the holiday season.

Troubleshooting Your HVAC System

It can be easy to panic when you notice the first sign of trouble with your HVAC system – especially if you’re planning on entertaining guests. But there’s no need to panic. Before you call us in to fix the issue, you can do some simple troubleshooting tasks on your own to try to determine the cause of the problem. It may be a simple fix that you can handle yourself!

Try these simple troubleshooting tasks before you call in the professionals:

  • Verify that your HVAC system has power and that the circuit breaker isn’t tripped.
  • Check to make sure that the thermostat has power and fresh batteries.
  • Switch the thermostat to “heat” and adjust the temperature by 3 to 5 degrees. Then, wait 30 seconds to see if the heat is coming out of the register. (Do the same for air conditioning but with the “cool” mode.)
  • Make sure that the fan on the thermostat is switched to on and that the air registers are open.

These are just a few simple tasks that you can do yourself to see if the HVAC repair issue is something simple. If you still cannot get your HVAC system to work then it’s time to call in the professionals. We DO NOT recommend trying to diagnose or fix your heating and cooling equipment beyond these simple troubleshooting measures unless you are a certified and trained HVAC technician yourself.

Call Emergency Los Angeles HVAC Company – Brody Pennell

If you aren’t able to determine the cause of the malfunction or it’s not an easy fix, then you’ll need to call a professional HVAC technician to access the issue. Finding an available tech on the holidays can be tough. That’s why we make our team available to our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and that includes on the holidays.

We want our customers and everyone in the Los Angeles community to have the peace of mind in knowing that if something goes wrong with their HVAC system, our experienced technicians will be there to fix it. Whether it’s Christmas morning or the night of New Year’s Eve, someone will be available to help diagnose and fix your HVAC issue. We aim to have your system back up and running in no time so that you can enjoy your holidays with those who matter most.

Call today to schedule emergency HVAC repair services: (310) 896-4911.

Any time your furnace stops working, you may worry that an expensive repair or even a furnace replacement is required. Some homeowners will wait to call a heating and cooling service because they do not want to pay a large repair bill. But there are times that a small issue may be causing the problem, and the corresponding fix can be affordable and quick.

If you’re wondering whether you should call for furnace repair or just wait to see if the problem persists, consider the signs and symptoms you’ve observed and how severe they are. Here are some of the top signs your furnace may need a professional repair:

1. Slow Heating Of The Home

Even if your furnace is working in top condition, it can take time from when you first switch it on to feel the room warming up. If you stand in front of one of the vents and find that little to no heated air is coming through, there may be an issue with the ductwork instead of the furnace. Ducts can become clogged over time, and block the air from coming through.  Older homes may have ductwork that has worn down or was not installed properly that allows air to escape the system.

There are also furnace based issues that can make the home heat slowly. Issues with the furnace wiring can cause the unit to stop working, even after you’ve switched it on several times. If you notice that the unit is constantly restarting throughout the day, or that it stops working after just a few minutes, this can be a sign of a problem that an HVAC professional will need to handle. Replacing the wiring is a quick fix that a qualified HVAC technician can often resolve in just one visit.

2. Bad Smells

A furnace that is working optimally shouldn’t produce any smell along with the air. If you smell burning, gas or another kind of fuel, or smoke, chances are there is an issue with the furnace.  There can be many causes for the smell, from a serious gas leak to dust caught in the unit. The only way to get to the bottom of the issue is to have a professional check the pilot light, burners and gas line to see if there is an issue with one of these key components.

3.  No Heat At All

If your HVAC unit is producing cool air, even when you set the thermostat to a high temperature, there is definitely an issue. It can be compressor, which heats the air, or the blower motor, which pumps the warm air into the ductwork. If you haven’t had seasonal HVAC maintenance done, chances are you may have missed one or more of the signs of this issue along the way.

If you suspect your furnace needs repair, call Brody Pennell Heating and Air Conditioning at (310) 896-4911. Our team can help you get your furnace back to working condition as fast as possible.

As one of the most important appliances in your home, your furnace plays a vital role in helping you stay comfortable. Replacing your furnace unexpectedly can cost thousands of dollars that you may not have available to spend at a moment’s notice. One of the biggest reasons to stay on top of your furnace’s condition is so you can be prepared for the eventual replacement of the unit and work it into your budget. Here are some of the ways to ensure that your furnace doesn’t break down at an inopportune time.

Have Regular Seasonal Checks Done

If your furnace works every time you turn the heat on, it may never have occurred to you to have scheduled a furnace maintenance visit. But waiting until the furnace breaks down to have an expert look is more expensive and inconvenient than keeping up with routine seasonal maintenance visits. If the furnace breaks down on the coldest day of the year, in the middle of the night, or when you have holiday guests over, you can end up scrambling to call someone for help.

Scheduling a regular fall HVAC tune-up can prevent this from happening, and also provide you with valuable information about the condition of your HVAC unit. During the visit, our HVAC technicians will not only clean and lubricate your system, but they will alert you to any repair needs or let you know if a certain part is worn or on its way out, helping you anticipate your future HVAC needs.

Keep An Eye Out For Symptoms

Even if you don’t have experience with HVAC units, there are obvious signs that a furnace is on its way to breaking down, including:

  • Loud sounds when the unit is running, like banging or whining sounds.
  • Burning or rotten smells when you run the HVAC system.
  • Lack of effective heating or cooling or the system taking a long time to get your home comfortable.

These can be early warning signs of a serious HVAC problem, so it’s vital to call for furnace repair as soon as you hear or see these symptoms. One of our experienced HVAC technicians can assess the severity of the problem and inform you about whether repair is possible or if you’ll need to replace the furnace in the near future.

Rely On An Expert For Help 

Trying to troubleshoot the HVAC unit yourself can be a recipe for disaster. If you aren’t familiar with how to maintain an HVAC unit, you can end up creating issues with the components and causing the unit to shut down while trying to perform furnace maintenance.

With years of training, a qualified technician can easily spot elements that need replacing and major components that are likely to wear out soon. Replacing these elements before a problem occurs is one of the best ways to prevent larger issues from occurring with your furnace.

Quality Los Angeles Furnace Repair

If you need help keeping your furnace in top shape, call Brody Pennell Heating and Air Conditioning at (310) 896-4911. We provide regular furnace maintenance and seasonal HVAC tune-ups to help keep your home comfortable.

Most of the time, it’s not difficult to recognize when your AC might need repair. However, some air conditioning issues are a little more subtle than others. This leaves you to wonder whether you need to call in an HVAC technician for service or if the issue is all in your head. That’s why we’ve put together a quick list of some of the top signs that your AC may need repair:

  1. Your AC isn’t blowing cool air.

Sometimes an air conditioning system won’t blow cool air even when it’s on full blast. If you find that the air coming from your air vents isn’t cold or isn’t as cold as it used to be, this may be a sign that your air conditioner is in need of repair.

A lack of cool air can point to a number of issues. For instance, your air conditioner’s compressor may have failed. The only way to know for sure why your air conditioning system is no longer blowing cool air is to call in a trained HVAC technician. He or she will diagnose your system and let you know which repairs are necessary.

  1. Your air conditioner is making strange sounds.

Another common sign that your AC may need repair is when it starts to make troubling noises. If you hear a grinding, grating noise or a squealing coming from your air conditioning system, this could be signaling that something is wrong with the unit. A grinding noise can point to issues with your AC motor. While squealing noise may point to a belt that has slipped out of place or a metal component in your unit that needs to be lubricated.

If you are hearing noises coming from your unit, it’s best to get your AC checked out as soon as possible as these sounds may indicate that your system is on the verge of a breakdown. When your AC is at the point that it might breakdown, the sooner you can get a diagnosis and repair, the less likely it will be that you have to replace the entire system. Holding off in repairs can also result in more costly fixes.

  1. Your AC unit emits foul smells.

Another common sign that your air conditioner needs repair is when foul or pungent smells start coming from your air conditioning vents. Usually, this means that your AC’s wire insulation has burned out. However, if you notice a musty smell this may indicate that there is mold or other issues in your ductwork that need to be taken care of immediately.

Again, the only way to know for sure what is causing these odors is to call in an HVAC professional. If you are not experienced with HVAC and try to diagnose and repair the issue yourself, you may cause even more damage to your system without actually finding and repairing the root cause of the problem you initially set out to fix!

Expert Los Angeles AC Repair

Are you experiencing one of the issues above? Now that summer is here, you won’t be able to keep your home comfortable for very long without a working air conditioner. Whether you are experiencing some issues or your AC just isn’t working as efficiently as it once was, it’s time to call in the experts at Brody Pennell for Los Angeles AC repair.

Our skilled HVAC technicians can have your air conditioner back up and running in no time. With our 24/7 emergency service, you never have to wait long to restore comfort in your Los Angeles home. Call today to schedule your repair service: (310) 896-4911.

It’s easy to get advice on how to make your heating and air conditioning units more efficient. However, many of the tips you hear, especially regarding its maintenance and repair, may just be misconceptions. To maximize the potential of your HVAC system, it pays to learn the truth about how to take care of it properly.

Heating and Air Conditioning Myths Busted

To keep your home cozy throughout the seasons, here are top heating and air conditioning myths you shouldn’t believe:

  • HVAC Maintenance Is a Waste of Time and Money. As one of the most hardworking components of your home, your HVAC system requires special attention. Regular cleaning, inspection, and tune-ups will maintain its peak efficiency and minimize the risks of costly breakdowns. In turn, you prolong its service life and save on utility bills.
  • The Bigger the Size, the Better the Comfort. Every home is unique, which is why it’s important to choose the right size for your furnace and air conditioning equipment. Oversized units will produce too much heating and cooling, which not only consumes more energy but also creates excess pollutants.
  • It’s Best to Leave the Thermostat at the Same Temperature All Day. This practice wastes a lot of energy while you’re gone. To better manage your HVAC unit, use a programmable thermostat. This automatically changes your home’s temperature according to a pre-set schedule.
  • Using Fans Can Reduce the Energy Consumption of Your HVAC System. Fans don’t cool air; they just circulate the air in your home. This won’t lower the amount of energy your HVAC system uses to achieve your preferred temperature. That said, use fans when you’re in your room, but switch them off when you leave.

Using your HVAC equipment sensibly is the best way to enjoy optimum comfort and great savings. Check your units often for signs of damage and configure your thermostats to a reasonable setting. For the best results, work only with reputable HVAC contractors.

Rely on the HVAC Repair and Replacement Experts Today

Brody Pennell can help you separate fact from fiction so you can have heating and air conditioning systems run smoothly for many years. We know the ins and outs of our work, which is why we can provide you the best HVAC tips.

Contact us now at (310) 836-0606 and let us know how we can help you.

Los Angeles can be a fun and exciting place to live. There is no shortage of things to do in Southern California, and, for the most part, the weather stays nice during most of the year. However, when it starts to heat up in the summer and you find yourself with a broken AC in Los Angeles, there’s a good chance that you’re no longer enjoying the sunny weather or festivities.

Like other cities in Southern California, Los Angeles has a climate that provides unique challenges for homeowners when it comes to their HVAC systems. Below, we will discuss just a few of the biggest HVAC issues that homeowners face and how you can prevent them.

3 Top HVAC Issues in Los Angeles

When it comes to Los Angeles AC issues, the team at Brody Pennell has seen it all. Here are a few of the most common HVAC system problems that we see from our customers regularly:

1. There’s not enough air flow.

If you are having trouble keeping your home comfortable, it could be due to airflow issues. Check your vents to see if the air coming from the registers is weak. If you find that the flow of air is not effective, this could be due to a clogged air filter. To avoid this problem, make sure that you check your air filter at least once a month, and change or clean the filter when it becomes clogged or dirty.

If you are diligent with your air filter changes and still notice weak air flow, the problem could be in your ducts. Ductwork that is leaking or ducts that are clogged or constricted can cause weak air flow in your home. If you think this may be the case, call an HVAC technician to inspect your ductwork.

2. The air conditioning unit will not turn on.

This is another common problem we see in Southern California homes. If your AC does not respond when you turn it on, this could be a sign of a couple of different issues. Your thermostat may not be working properly or there may be a failure of the electronic controls for the fan or compressor.

To avoid thermostat issues, check your thermostat regularly to ensure it is working properly and replace batteries as needed. If that doesn’t do the trick, then you may need to call in an expert to check out the electronic components of your system.

3. You can’t seem to get your home cooler.

Do you have a hard time getting your home to a comfortable temperature, no matter how low you set your thermostat? This is another common problem we see with our clients – their air conditioners do not cool their home properly. This could be due to a number of issues, and it’s best to have a qualified HVAC technician inspect the system to diagnose and repair your equipment.

However, there is one common issue that can cause your AC to have a hard time cooling your home that is preventable – a dirty air filter. A clogged air filter can slow your system down and make it have to work harder to keep your home cool. That’s why it’s important to keep up with your air filter changes to avoid causing any issues with your system.

Need help getting your Los Angeles air conditioner back up in working? Contact the experts at Brody Pennell. Our team of qualified HVAC technicians have been serving families and individuals in Southern California since 1945, so we know what it takes to keep you comfortable when the temperatures outside start to heat up. Call today to schedule a service appointment: (310) 836-0606.