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Four Reasons Air Conditioners Freeze Up

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by fosterpandh No Comments

Frozen AC Unit

One of the most common questions our AC techs get asked is “Why does my air conditioner freeze up?” Although you may feel like you’re all alone when your air conditioning unit suddenly develops frostbite, it is a typical problem in any household.

Whether it’s a central air conditioning system or a window AC unit, causes of and solutions to freezing up are basically the same. The most important part is getting help for a frozen air conditioner. In addition to cooling problems, continuing to operate while its not working correctly produces severe damage. The unit goes through an involved process of expansion and compression to make cool air in your home and take hot air out. Something is out of balance if the evaporator coil is cooling too much, resulting in icing. It may be the Freon is expanding more than it should be, making the coils colder than usual. Another possibility is that something is keeping your home’s air heat from transferring into the system. The result is the same: the evaporator coil drops below freezing while the ac freezes up.


Here are four of the most common ways to keep an air conditioner from freezing.

1.Run the A/C within certain temperature parameters. Avoid using the air conditioner if it’s less than 62 outside. Otherwise, system pressure will drop, causing the central air unit to freeze.

2.Be sure the refrigerant is at the recommended level. The unit already has lower pressure and if there is less Freon than needed, the air conditioner must work even harder to expand. When the evaporator coil drops below freezing, moisture in the air freezes when it contacts the coil and ices up.

3.Have the unit maintained and serviced according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. It’s no surprise to hear that mechanical failure is a major cause of air conditioner problems, including freezing. A non-working blower fan, clogged filter, or kink in the lines that allow refrigerant to move properly also affect system pressure.

4.Have the ac checked to be sure enough air is blowing across the evaporator coil. The unit drops your home’s temperature by removing heat from the inside air as it blows over the evaporator coil. If the Freon is unable to work properly, it can lead to ice and damage.


An efficient HVAC system keeps homes warm during the winter and cool during the summer. It also helps remove dust and debris from the inside air, adding a healthy environment to your home. Ask your air conditioner technicians about steps you can take to make sure the unit is operating correctly. Never hesitate to call for service if you notice any of the above problems.

HVAC Maintenance for Spring Allergies Richmond, VA

Posted on: May 7th, 2018 by fosterpandh No Comments

Spring Allergies

Spring may be in the air in Richmond, VA, but so is pollen and other pollutants. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you likely have a love-hate relationship with springtime. You can’t escape exterior allergens by staying inside. Research shows your home HVAC system may be blowing 3-5 times more contaminants into your home than outside air contains.

Let’s explore how you and your HVAC technician, working together, can decrease those allergy irritants in your inside air.

Reasons to Schedule HVAC Preventative Maintenance

Annual preventative maintenance, performed by a certified technician, is the most important thing you can do to avoid potential problems and extend the lifespan of your HVAC system. To reduce the risk of indoor allergens, many homeowners prefer scheduling HVAC preventative maintenance at the beginning of spring.

During spring maintenance, your HVAC technician will inspect the entire system, lubricate moving parts, clean coils and blades. If necessary, he will calibrate your thermostat. When repairs or replacement components are necessary, the work can be completed before the sticky summer arrives in Richmond, VA.

Preventative Maintenance Benefits

HVAC maintenance is a savvy investment for Richmond, VA homeowners, which pays off in increased dependability and peak performance of your AC unit.

Of course, one of your major goals is improved air quality when spring allergies are an issue. Dirty AC filters are the main culprit of contaminated air circulation throughout your home. Clean filters trigger healthier indoor airflow. Your HVAC technician will do a routine inspection of the AC filter and clean or replace it when appropriate. He will also clean dirty blowers and/or coils, which considerably decreases pollutants in the indoor air.

On average, the lifespan of your HVAC system is 10-15-years. Adding regular preventative maintenance can extend its life another five years. Since replacing your entire HVAC system is expensive, maintaining the one you have will save you money.

In the Meantime…

Between professional check-ups of your AC unit, you can take measures to maintain it and help decrease the risks of allergens in your Richmond, VA home.

Let’s revisit the subject of dirty air filters. The HVAC filter is your single most line of defense against airborne contaminants. It is a homeowner responsibility to examine the air filter about every six weeks and if dirty, replace the old one with a new AC filter.

Dirty filters are a health hazard for family members who have spring allergies. Other health concerns that can be exacerbated by clogged AC filters are: flu-like bugs, asthma, sore throat, congestion and more.

You do not want mold. To guard against serious build-ups of mold, regularly inspect any visible ductwork and air vents in each room. Be alert for signs of mold.

If you see ductwork that is disconnected or cracked, repair with foil-backed tape, which is designed to stop allergens from getting in and keep conditioned air from getting out and cooling your attic. Condensation creates moisture and mold thrives on moistness. Ensure ductwork in your attic is well insulated, to prevent condensation.

Clean in the vicinity of your indoor unit to keep dust from getting into your HVAC system. Dust and debris in the AC system can block up the condensate drain and cause mold growth.

Dirt, dust and mold can collect inside your ductwork. If your conditioned air smells musty, or you see visible signs of mold around the rim of your air vents, call your HVAC Company for a professional ductwork cleaning.

Scope out the space surrounding your outdoor AC unit. Clear any debris within a two-foot radius of the exterior unit. Pull weeds and trim any shrubbery taller than five feet.

Final Words

In Richmond, VA, spring is the ideal time for professional HVAC preventative maintenance. Certified technicians can significantly reduce symptoms of allergies, by getting rid of allergens, such as pollen, dust mites and dust mites in your HVAC system.

4 Tips to Prevent Damage to Your HVAC System during a Midlothian Rainstorm

Posted on: April 9th, 2017 by fosterpandh No Comments

View from a Rain Streak Window in a Rainstorm

Residents of Midlothian, Virginia know the torrential downpours that hit the East Coast can do a significant amount of damage to one’s home. And,  unfortunately, your HVAC unit may take the brunt of wind and rain during inclement weather, particularly if left uncovered. Here are a few helpful tips to keep your HVAC system safe and operational the next time a storm rolls through Midlothian.

1. Invest in Protective Covers

Protective Covers are one of the simplest and most inexpensive solution for your storm worries. These covers are available at most home improvement retailers for around $30, and can help to keep your system free of the water and debris that tends to collect during a storm. The options can range from a zip-on cover to a trellis cover; whatever goes best with the aesthetic and level of protection you need.

2. Keep Your Yard Free of Debris

Other than preserving the cleanliness of your yard, regular debris collection is an important part of home maintenance, especially when it comes to protecting the long-term functionality of your outdoor HVAC system. Materials that infiltrate your unit, such as leaves or branches, can become lodged and cause your system to shut down. Even those who regularly maintain their yard forget to check the areas around their HVAC, but it is a simple and essential step that can make a world of difference.

3. Install Your System in an Elevated Location

Depending on where you live in the Midlothian area, and specifically if your home is situated near water, you may be susceptible to flooding that can cause irreparable harm to your HVAC. To assess the average height of floodwaters in your area, contact your city’s building commission or check the county records online. Your Foster Plumbing & Heating technician can also provide more insight into the tools necessary to move your system to higher ground.

4. Install a Sump Pump in Your Basement

In many older homes, the HVAC system resides in the basement – the first place a house begins to flood during heavy rains. If your home’s system is located below, a sump pump is your best bet. A sump pump does exactly as its name suggests: pumps water out of the house and prevents it from pooling in your basement. They activate automatically and can be easily installed with the help of a licensed technician.

If you’re concerned about damage to your HVAC system, it never hurts to contact a professional for an evaluation. If you’re looking to request HVAC service, Foster Plumbing & Heating is here to help. For more information on HVAC repair and maintenance in Midlothian, Virginia, visit our Home Heating & AC Services Page.


This post originally appeared on Gladd HVAC.

These 3 Extreme Videos Show Why You Should Pick Trane for Your Next HVAC Unit in Richmond, Virginia

Posted on: March 26th, 2017 by fosterpandh No Comments

There’s a reason Foster Plumbing & Heating relies on Trane equipment: they’re true to their slogan.You’ve probably heard,  “It’s Hard to Stop a Trane,” and it’s true. That’s why Foster trusts Trane HVAC products in nearly all its heating and AC system installations in the Richmond area.

Trane puts its units through intense product testing, adhering to some of the most stringent standards in the industry. You can be certain that your HVAC system will stand up to whatever the crazy Virginia weather throws at it for years to come.

Don’t take our word for it. Watch these extreme examples to see just what type of punishment a Trane HVAC unit can withstand.

1. Crushed by a Falling Wall

This Trane unit had parts of an exterior wall collapse on top of it, and it continued running despite being crushed.

2. Running Underwater

After a flood, this Trane HVAC unit still chugged (and splashed) along even though it was almost completely submersed.

3. Hit by a Backhoe

A backhoe plowed into this Trane unit, it still can’t be stopped!

Backed by over 20 years of air conditioning installation experience in the Richmond area, we can confidently recommend Trane heating and air conditioning units to all our customers in Virginia. It really is hard to stop a Trane!

For more information on Trane systems, visit our Products page.

Learning To Recognize Furnace Noises

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by fosterpandh No Comments

Your furnace does the important job of keeping your home warm and comfortable during the cold parts of the year. Since you rely on this appliance so heavily, it is a good idea to monitor its operations, especially during the months when it is used the most, and to have a certified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician perform routine maintenance on your furnace and carry out repairs when necessary.

Like any other appliance, a furnace will occasionally suffer from functional problems, and as its life goes on its age will start to show. One sign of this that you may notice is unusual noises your furnace may make as it operates. Though this can be alarming, it’s not always something to worry about. Recognizing what causes different noises will help you know when your furnace is behaving normally and when it is in need of heating service in Richmond, Virginia.

Furnace Noises To Listen For


A screeching noise can be indicative of a problem with your furnace’s motor or one of the motor’s bearings. Repairs may be necessary.


A high-pitched metallic sound may simply be a minor misalignment of the furnace’s fan motor or blower wheel, or a warped mounting plate. It may be possible to adjust these components yourself, but if you aren’t sure, contact a trained professional.


A rattling noise when the furnace starts up might be caused by a problem with a motor bearing. A rattling noise as the unit shuts down, however, is normal as the metal cools off and probably does not require attention.

Various Metallic Noises

Small, occasional pings or pops are generally just your home’s ducts expanding and contracting as the temperature changes. Louder, booming sounds coming through the ducts more frequently might indicate dirty furnace burners or a faulty gas valve—both issues that should be dealt with by a technician.

Vibrating or Whining

These noises are very irregular and you should contact a professional immediately upon hearing them.

Getting to know the sounds made by your furnace a little better lets you determine when heating service in Richmond, Virginia may be necessary.

A heating system is sometimes part of a larger HVAC system. This equipment is usually incorporated into a home when it is first constructed, or installed and should be maintained by a Richmond-area heating service company employing professional HVAC experts.

Do You Need Furnace Parts Or A New Furnace?

Posted on: January 10th, 2016 by fosterpandh No Comments

Your furnace is one of the most important appliances in your house. Warmth indoors when the weather is cold outside is one of the most basic human needs and you always want to be sure you can depend on your heating system during the winter months.

What Should I Do About My Aging Furnace?

Like any machine, after enough time a furnace will begin to show its age and start requiring closer monitoring and more frequent maintenance. As you put in the effort to keep your furnace in good working order, you may start to wonder if it’s worth keeping that furnace going or investing in a new one altogether.

Is My Furnace Too Old?

It is normal for your furnace to occasionally have minor problems and require the replacement of parts. Regular maintenance by a certified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician will keep small operational issues from eventually becoming larger ones. Additionally, when a single component stops functioning properly, furnace repair in Richmond, Virginia should be carried out by trained professionals as soon as possible to replace the part and ensure that the trouble is fixed.

With regular upkeep, most home furnaces can run reliably for over a decade. However, if your furnace is over 12 years old, close attention to its operation becomes more important and there are certain signs to look for that may indicate a replacement will soon be necessary.

How To Tell If You Need A New Furnace

Higher Energy Bills

As furnaces age, they become less efficient; needing to run for a longer period of time to generate sufficient heat. This will be reflected in consistently higher heating bills.

Reduced Thermostat Accuracy

If you find yourself needing to adjust the thermostat more and more often to stay comfortable, or that the temperature in different rooms is inconsistent, this may indicate a problem with heat distribution.

Dry Air Or A Dusty House

A failing furnace is often incapable of cleaning and moisturizing the air that passes through it, leading to dust accumulation and stuffy, dry indoor air quality.

If one or more of these symptoms is consistent, and furnace repair in Richmond, Virginia doesn’t seem to help, it may be time to replace your furnace.

A Heating System Helps You Feel Safe and Warm

Posted on: December 20th, 2015 by fosterpandh No Comments

The need to stay warm when the weather is cold is a very basic, very important human need, and people have been developing technology to keep buildings heated since the days of Ancient Greece. Heating a room or other small area can be accomplished through the use of a space heater such as a wood or gas fireplace or a small electric coil heater. However, in order to heat Richmond-area homes, a heating system is the most effective option.

All About Central Heat

Central heating is the most common and most efficient way this is achieved in homes. Central heating involves generating heat in one location somewhere inside of a building and then distributing that heat throughout the home using pipes or ducts. There are a number of different ways this heat can be produced and dispersed.

How Does Central Heat Work?

The source of heat for a home’s central heating might be a furnace that heats air electrically or by consuming a resource such as natural gas or propane. It may even be a boiler that uses steam or hot water to create heat. Some home heating systems can even draw heat from deep within the Virginia earth using a geothermal heat pump.

Distributing Heat Evenly

The manner in which the generated heat is then carried to different parts of the home tends to vary based on the type of heat source. The heated air from a furnace travels through a network of ducts that each terminate in registers that warm up individual areas. The hot water from a boiler heats a home by flowing through tubing underneath floors. If the boiler generates steam, the steam moves through pipes and circulates through radiators in various rooms throughout the home that gradually fill the area with warmth. Geothermal heating technology carries heat into the home through pipes that run into the ground.

A heating system is sometimes part of a larger HVAC system. This equipment is usually incorporated into a home when it is first constructed, or installed and should be maintained by a Richmond-area heating service company employing professional HVAC experts.

Heating Services Keep Your Home Comfortable And Your Mind At Ease

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by fosterpandh No Comments

There is a lot to be said for HVAC technology. It is the difference between your home or place of work being a warm shelter from the elements, or a drafty, chilly hovel during the winter. Making sure that heating systems stay in good working order is a priority for anyone who owns a home in Midlothian, and as such, it is important to entrust heating services to trained local professionals.

Choose A Certified HVAC Professional

When getting ready to install, upgrade or repair a HVAC system, choosing the right company for the job makes a world of difference. You should always verify that an establishment’s employees have the proper training and certification for this type of work and can be relied on to properly diagnose problems and provide the best solutions.

Inspection Is The First Step

Since trying to identify or fix an issue with your HVAC equipment on your own is not advisable and possibly unsafe, make sure that anyone you hire will perform a thorough inspection of the system before starting work in order to detect existing problems, as well as prevent potential issues from arising in the future.

A good Virginia HVAC company will also quote you a flat rate for the work required, ensuring a fair price proportional to the job and no unexpected additional expenses. It is also a good idea to keep in mind what heating services will keep your utility bills consistent – or even reduce them – and how frequently the new or upgraded system will require maintenance, and select services accordingly.

Shop Smart

Shopping around for the right heating company pays off. The lowest price may not always be the best choice, and the quickest work might not be the most efficient in the long run.  Choosing a HVAC maintenance company in Midlothian that is certified, honest and dedicated to providing quality solutions to extensively investigated problems is always the right decision.

Avoid Heating Issues In The Middle Of Winter In Richmond, VA

Posted on: November 20th, 2015 by fosterpandh No Comments

You may not give your heating system much thought until the first cold day of winter when you fire it up and … nothing. Not the best time to find out that something is wrong. Ignoring routine maintenance can cause all kind of havoc, and when you really need it, your usually hard-working heating system will unwittingly let you down.

You’ve most likely invested several thousands of your hard earned money into your heating system. Ignoring routine maintenance will not only cause unexpected heating fails, it will also cost you more money in the long run. In addition to unexpected breakdowns, neglecting your maintenance will increase your energy bill as well as your frustration level with your poorly performing furnace. And, not only will you spend more on emergency calls to fix your heating, most likely you’ll be at the end of the list, behind everyone else who skimped on the maintenance of their boiler or furnace in Richmond, VA.

Change Your Filters Monthly

It’s by far the simplest, easiest step you can take to extend the life and efficiency of your furnace. A clogged, dirty filter makes your furnace work harder to heat your home. This is an easy maintenance fix that you can probably do on your own.

Wear And Tear

It’s almost impossible the avoid wear and tear on a system that contains mechanical parts. As soon as one part begins to wear out, the rest won’t be too far behind, and an overheating furnace or poor heating control will occur. While some parts may be easy to replace if you are handy, you’ll probably need to call in an expert to ensure the job is done correctly.

Control Problems With Ignition Or Pilot Light

This can cause intermittent or no heat. When your pilot light is working correctly, not only does it mean reliable heat it also protects you from the possibility of gas leaks. Have your pilot light checked and repaired by an expert.

Thermostat Not Working

This can result in no heat or intermittent heat, or no fan to push the warmed air through your house. You may be able to install a new thermostat on your own, or you may wish to have an expert take care of it for you.

These common heating system issues can be quickly diagnosed and repaired in Richmond, VA by calling a trusted professional.

How To Keep Your Furnace Running

Posted on: November 10th, 2015 by fosterpandh No Comments

Having an HVAC unit in your home could greatly improve your quality of life. Friends and family will want to spend time in your temperature-controlled rooms. Whether you need furnace installation, basic maintenance or repairs to your current unit, you should find some experts that have you covered. They can provide all HVAC services in Richmond that will keep you comfortable.

Installing a brand new unit or replacing an old, out dated one makes a huge difference in your daily life. Having a comfortable home allows you to be more productive, use your kitchen appliances and sleep comfortably. Plus, a new furnace might increase the value of your home. There is really no downside to getting the best system installed.

If your house already has an efficient furnace, you can keep it running longer by doing basic maintenance and repairs. Instead of letting small problems become bigger ones, find someone to perform basic services to keep your unit running during the winter. If you do not have an expert come out regularly to check the filter or perform other preventative tasks, you could be stuck with a non-functioning unit. You should find an expert who you can trust to do repairs. It is important that they know what they are doing and will not rip you off.

Having an HVAC unit is a fantastic luxury of the 21st century. Staying warm during the winter allows you to live a basically normal life despite the heat and will turn your house into a haven from extreme temperatures. To keep your furnace running properly, find people that you can trust to provide you with basic furnace services in Richmond. Doing so will save you time and money in the long run.

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