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How Do I Know if My Control Board is Bad?

circuit control board in an HVAC system

How do I know when I need a circuit control board replacement?

Most HVAC systems have circuit boards that control how it functions. Often, when an HVAC system isn’t cooling or heating as it should, the service technician finds through testing of other possible problems, a circuit control board replacement is needed. Reach out today at 817-579-9377 if you’d like to learn more.

What is a circuit board?

If you’ve ever seen a computer or any electronic taken apart, you probably saw a circuit board, maybe even more than one throughout the item. A circuit board has three layers: 

  • A conductive layer that is usually made out of copper.
  • A layer of fiberglass functioning as an insulating dielectric material.
  • An outer layer that functions as the mechanical layer.

The fiberglass sheet is the starting point, each side has conductive copper sheets attached that have a printed etch-resistant wire pattern. With any additional copper on the fiberglass removed, a solid conductive tracing is created. There, electrical components will be connected to the board. 

The purpose of a circuit control board is to replace the multiple wiring, condensing it all in one protected place. Holes are drilled into the board so that components of the HVAC system can be connected using an inner layer of copper. This is typically a solid, strong way for an HVAC system to work, but on occasion, a circuit control board replacement is necessary. 

Are there different types of circuit boards?

Today, there are six different types of printed circuit boards, referred to as PCBs. They are installed in a variety of ways through different industries. The different circuit control board replacements used are: 

  • Single-sided: The most commonly used PCB that is found in calculators, electronic toys, and timing circuits.
  • Double-sided: A more complex PCB that is used in cell phones and amplifiers.
  • Multilayer: Smaller than the other PCBs but more powerful and found in computers and medical equipment.
  • Rigid: Cost-effective PCB that is lightweight but cannot be bent or twisted, commonly found in X-ray machines, MRI systems, and GPS equipment.
  • Flex: A preferred choice in many cases because it can be bent and twisted, and available in single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layered, commonly used in automotive applications, cameras, and medical devices.
  • Rigid-Flex: A hybrid PCB that is designed and built in 3D, is lightweight, and is used in critical applications like aerospace and medical devices.

What usually goes bad on a circuit board?

In most cases, a circuit control board replacement is needed due to human error during assembly and manufacture. Various factors can be the root of the problem like poor layer connectivity, poor soldering, or improperly installing components. It is important at the manufacturing plant of HVAC systems that the company purchases their PCBs from a reliable source to minimize these problems. 

How can you tell if a circuit board is bad or has blown?

When you have problems with your HVAC system, the technician will inspect and test several things within the system. During this inspection, he may find where a circuit control board is damaged or non-functioning, thus requiring the installation of a circuit control board replacement. As a homeowner, you would be experiencing any of the following 5 things that could be an indication a circuit control board replacement is needed: 

1. Loss of Power: If your HVAC system is losing power, the technician will inspect the system to identify what is causing that problem. It may or may not be related to the PCB, but if testing confirms this is the problem, you’ll need a circuit control board replacement.

2. Burn Marks or Overheating: If the technician finds the PCB to have burn marks, it could be an indication the system is getting overheated, typically because of poor ventilation or the PCB is exposed to high temperatures causing it to short circuit. This is usually connected to parts that are heat-sensitive like capacitors, diodes, and resistors. In addition to replacing those parts, the technician may need to install a circuit control board replacement.

3. Components are Malfunctioning or Non-Responsive: When there are certain features of your HVAC not working properly, like the blower motor or the thermostat, the technician may determine that a circuit control board replacement is needed.

4. A Corroded or Damaged PCB: Any of the problems you’re having with your HVAC system may be caused by the PCB being bent, cracked, or chipped, which requires a circuit control board replacement.

5. Circuit Shorting: If your HVAC system is malfunctioning in an unpredictable, unstable manner, more often than not, a circuit control board replacement is probably needed. 

How much does a circuit control board replacement cost?

The brand and model of the HVAC system will be a factor in the cost of a circuit control board replacement. The PCB can cost around $500 on average, some are less and others are more, depending on which PCB is replaced. The labor for a circuit control board replacement can be an additional $300 to $500 charged at an hourly rate of around $200. 

The Bottom Line

Yes, a circuit control board replacement can be expensive, especially if your HVAC isn’t still under warranty. So, like many homeowners, you do many things yourself to save money. Is it possible to perform a circuit control board replacement on your own?

If you’re familiar with HVAC systems, PCBs, and all considered in this area, including testing the system to determine the PCB is the problem, you may be able to do this task yourself. However, you could void any warranty on the HVAC system. This is why it’s typically best to leave this job to the professionals. If you’re ready to schedule a replacement give us a call today at 817-579-9377.

Why Is My Central Air Conditioning System Not Working?

An HVAC Technician With an Air Conditioner

Has your central AC stopped working?

One of the worst things that could happen in the middle of a Texas summer is for your central air conditioning to stop working. There are several reasons from low refrigerant to old age that can cause your air conditioner to stop working. When it does, you might need a few repairs, or you might need to replace the system.

For reliable air conditioner repairs in Granbury, TX, you can always count on the expertise of the technicians at Texas Made Air Conditioning and Heating. For fast, effective service, get set up with an appointment by calling 817-579-9377.

What causes the central AC to stop working?

Most people in this area have a central air conditioning system to keep them cool throughout the year. As much as you might not want to think about it, your AC could stop working.

Here are 7 common reasons why:

  • Low refrigerant: Refrigerant removes heat and humidity from your home. If your refrigerant is low from a leak or bad compressor, your air conditioner will stop cooling and you’ll need to get it repaired.
  • Frozen evaporator coils: Refrigerant stored inside the evaporator coils absorbs heat. If the coils don’t have warm air around them, they can freeze and cause the whole system to shut down.
  • Dirty condenser coils: The coils inside your outdoor unit–the condenser–can get dirty and clogged and stop the cooling cycle in its tracks by failing to remove the heat the evaporator coils have absorbed.
  • Blower fan failure: The blower fan blows air over the evaporator coils to help create the cool air that cools your home. If these fans fail, the cooling cycle is disrupted.
  • Duct leaks: Any tears or crimps in the ductwork will restrict airflow and interrupt the cooling cycle. Instead of sending cool air through your vents, broken ducts end up cooling spaces like the attic or the inside of your walls.
  • Thermostat problems: Thermostats regulate the temperature inside the home. Older thermostats may need to be recalibrated or upgraded to ensure your home is cooled at a consistent temperature.
  • Clogged drains: Your coils create moisture and that moisture has to drain out of the system. If the drains get clogged, it can cause the air conditioner to stop working. If it gets backed up too much, it can also cause water damage.

Age and poor maintenance also factor into your need for air conditioner repair. And, if your air conditioner is more than 15 years old or you’re spending more and more on repairs, it may be time to consider investing in a new system.

How do I know if my central air conditioning thermostat is broken?

Your thermostat regulates the temperature inside your home. When it breaks down, it can cause all sorts of problems that can lead to costly air conditioner repairs.

Here are 5 things to look for that could signal a problem with your thermostat:

  • Air conditioner cycling becomes irregular: If your air conditioner begins to cycle between off and on rapidly or randomly without changes in the temperature setting, this usually means you have a problem with the thermostat. The usual culprit in this case is frayed or bad wiring.
  • Incorrect reading: If your thermostat is showing an incorrect temperature, the sensor inside the thermostat may be failing or have a defect. The thermostat may need to be replaced or upgraded. You can test the reading by comparing it to a reading from a portable indoor thermometer.
  • Increase in utility bills: Your AC uses a significant amount of energy and increases in your electric bill may indicate a problem with your AC. Your thermostat is a good place to start when checking for problems with your air conditioner.
  • Constant temperature swings: If your thermostat won’t stay on the same setting no matter how many times you reset it, it’s time to get the thermostat repaired or replaced.
  • Outdated thermostat: If your thermostat is more than 10 years old, you might want to consider replacing it. An upgrade to a programmable thermostat will allow you to better regulate the temperature inside your home year-round.

What is the life expectancy of a central air conditioner?

With regular maintenance and upkeep, you can expect your central air conditioning system to last 15 to 20 years. One of the most important maintenance projects to adapt is changing your filter out about every six months. This simple act can extend your air conditioner’s lifespan and reduce your expenditures on air conditioner repair.

Dirty air filters restrict airflow and put more strain on your air conditioner’s parts. Not only does this strain lead to breakdowns, but it also uses more energy, which costs you more in electricity bills.

If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, it may also be harder to get parts and warranties may have expired. You may also be spending more money on repairs. In this case, it’s usually better, and more cost-effective, to replace the system.

Is it bad for your central AC to be constantly running?

For the most part, modern air conditioning systems are designed to run 24 hours a day and can do so and still keep cooling your home.

But, if the AC is constantly running and not cooling, if it’s blowing warm air, then you have a problem and you’ll need to get the AC fixed.

There are also several downsides to setting your AC to running constantly rather than having it cycle off and on throughout the day. The biggest downside is the strain it puts on individual parts like the compressor. The more wear and tear that’s put on the unit, the more likely you’ll be spending more money on parts repair and replacement. You’ll also be spending more on electricity bills because of the energy used by a constantly running AC.

Air Conditioner Repair Near Me

Has your air conditioner stopped cooling? When you want trusted professionals for air conditioner repair in Granbury, TX, you can always count on the team at Texas Made Air Conditioning and Heating. Our technicians are trained to work on all types of HVAC systems. Give us a call today at 817-579-9377 to get fast, effective repairs.

AC Condenser Units

Do I Need a Professional to Install a Mini Split?

Technician Adjusting a Mini Split Air Handler

Mini Split Installation

Are you considering a new air conditioning system? One option you have available is a mini split AC installation in Granbury, TX.

With these ductless air conditioning systems, you can install a system that cools a whole home or business or you can install one for a single room or section of the building. While the systems are ductless, it’s best that you enlist professionals to install them. Professionals will be able to best handle the refrigerant lines and high-voltage electrical lines that are needed for installation. In some cities and states, only licensed contractors can install refrigerant lines. Check local building codes and ordinances, especially about permitting requirements.

If you’re looking for someone to install a mini-split system, you can always rely on the experts at Texas Made Air Conditioning and Heating. Set up an installation appointment by calling 817-579-9377.

How long does it take to install a split system air conditioner?

In most cases, a professional mini split AC installation can be completed in one day. Of course, installation times could vary, especially if you’re installing several units at one time. You may need to install more than one indoor unit. This depends on how many rooms you’re cooling and the size of your home or business.

What are the disadvantages of mini split ACs?

While ductless ACs are energy efficient, they do have their disadvantages. Here are a few caveats about installing mini splits:

  • They tend to cost more when installed. That’s because you might need more than one indoor unit.
  • They often take up more space than central heating and air.
  • They don’t cool as well in areas with low ceilings or if the room is oddly shaped.
  • For repairs, they must be removed from the walls.

What are some advantages of mini split AC installation?

Although ductless systems can be expensive to install, they also have advantages over traditional central heating and air.

Here are some of those advantages:

  • They are usually easier to install than other systems because they don’t require ductwork.
  • You’ll save on utility costs because they are more energy-efficient than central heating and air units.
  • They are an excellent option for smaller spaces like apartments or condos.
  • The units are generally less expensive than full central systems.
  • They are fully electric and will help with indoor air quality because they do not use fossil fuels that can release toxic fumes inside the home.

How much does it cost to install a new mini split?

While prices will vary on a mini split AC installation, the average cost is around $3,000, including labor. Smaller units may cost less. Some might be as low as $2,000. Larger units with multiple connections can cost up to $14,500 or more. Again, costs will vary from region to region and by availability.

Do mini splits use a lot of electricity?

As mentioned above mini splits are generally more energy efficient than central air conditioning. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, mini splits with zoning systems can save you as much as 30% on your energy bills. The lack of ductwork helps you save on electricity.

Mini splits also do not generate heat. Instead, they transfer heat, which helps make them more energy efficient.

Plus, because you can connect as many as eight indoor air handler units to one outdoor unit, you can set up heating and cooling zones within your home. Different parts of the home can be set to different temperatures. This will save money because you’ll use less energy.

Do mini splits add value to your home?

While initial installation costs can be high for mini splits, they can prove a great return on investment down the road. They are, of course, very energy-efficient systems, which means you’ll save on utility bills. These systems are also long-lasting. While you might have to replace a central air conditioner after about 15 years or so, mini-splits last about 20 years, so you’ll save on replacement costs as well. So, in these two areas, mini splits will add value to your home.

You also get the added value of being able to adjust temperatures room by room. Each air handler has its own thermostat. You can save money by not running the system in every room. You’ll also be able to adjust comfort levels for every individual in the home.

You can also install mini splits alongside your conventional heating and cooling system. In this case, you might use it to cool an addition to your home or help adjust the temperature in a room that won’t stay at a consistent temperature with the rest of the house.

How many rooms does a mini split cool?

In general, a mini split can cool one room, a whole house, or something in between. But, to cool your whole house, this means you will have to install an air handler in each room. This is often what makes initial installation costs so high. But, you can normally connect up to eight air handlers to an outdoor unit.

Of course, how many air handlers you will need might vary depending on your structure’s layout. Some homes or businesses have a layout that is structured in ways that might only require one air handler to cool multiple rooms.

While most mini splits are ductless, in some instances, you can elect to have some ductwork installed that can vent air from one room to the next without having to install an air handler in each room.

Usually, though, you will need an air handler for each room that you want to heat or cool.

Mini Split AC Installation Near Me

Want to save money on your heating and cooling bills? One option is a mini split AC installation in Granbury, TX. These systems are highly energy-efficient and long-lasting. They are also capable of cooling or heating rooms at different temperatures. If you would like to know more about this type of HVAC system or have one installed, please feel free to call our team at 817-579-9377.

Technicians Install a Mini Split AC