Russell & Abbott Blog: Archive for the ‘Air Conditioning’ Category

Cheap AC Repair Offers? You’ll Get Cheap Quality as Well!

Monday, July 26th, 2021

Have you ever heard this saying before? “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” That was written by none other than Benjamin Franklin, quite a wise man. He listed “an old dog” as one of the most faithful of friends, so I’m bound to trust his word on most things. And when he’s talking about poor quality from poor price, I understand exactly what he means—because everyone here at Russell & Abbott knows how much a cheap HVAC service can end up costing someone. It’s not just about feeling bitter. It’s about feeling too hot or too cold because you got low-quality AC service.

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Olive, Can I Install My Own Air Conditioning System?

Monday, July 12th, 2021

No, you cannot. 

I almost feel like ending my post there, because that simple answer can save you time, money, and general headaches. But I have a special obligation as an HVAC blogger dog to provide more information—I’m an “explainer,” so when I give an answer, I back it up with the best info. All around me are professionals who handle great air conditioning installation in Knoxville, TN, so when I need to know why it takes professionals to put in a new air conditioner, I have people I can turn to.

And all of them agree: you should only allow professionals to put in that new central air conditioner! Here are some of the reasons why:

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Olive’s Tips on Helping Beating the Worst of the Heat

Monday, June 28th, 2021

In May I wrote a blog about the limits of your air conditioning’s cooling power and how you can avoid placing too much strain on the AC. A quick recap for those just joining: your air conditioner can lower the temperature by a maximum of 20°F compared to the outside. Since I recommend (as does the US Department of Energy) a setting of 78°F, you shouldn’t have any problem dealing with the heat on most summer days. 

But what about the occasional heat wave? August is our hottest month, with an average high of 88°F. We have humidity to worry about as well, although with the right sized air conditioning system this won’t be as much of a problem in your house. Yet there will be times when it can get so hot that you’ll have to nudge up the thermostat to keep it from constantly running and wearing down. 

We don’t want you to suffer from busted AC in the middle of the summer heat, and we have the air conditioning repair in Farragut, TN to see you’re taken care of. I have tips for what you can do to help keep cool in the worst of the heat so you can raise the thermostat enough to ward off problems.

How You (Humans) Can Get Extra Cool in the Heat

Not all of this applies to me personally: dogs cool off in different ways than people (panting). But please be mindful of your pets during heat waves! Give them lots of water (even put some ice in it) and keep them indoors in the shade. Anyway, on to advice for humans… 

  • Pull down the shades! The sun is sneaky and it will let plenty of heat in through the windows. Close shades and shutters to stop that extra radiant heat. 
  • Don’t add heat with lights and electronics! Use electrical devices as little as possible and turn off any lights you don’t absolutely need. Oh, now is not the time to do laundry or cook a meal!
  • Hydrate! I mentioned how pets need plenty of water. You need liquids as well—but avoid sugary drinks.
  • Close off that super-hot room! You probably have a room in your house that gets hotter than the others, probably because of exterior exposure or low insulation. Close the door to that room, because otherwise the heat will stroll right out of it and into the rest of the house. 
  • Use fans! You probably already thought of this one, but a reminder that fans can help you feel cooler by 8°F. Just be careful you don’t plug in a zillion fans at once and overload a circuit breaker—this can be a problem during heat waves. 
  • Olive’s handmade insta-evaporative cooler: Yeah, this one’s kinda neat. Take ice cubes from the freezer and put them in a bowl. Put that bowl in front of one of the fans. The fan will then blow cooled air at you. It’s temporary, but during a heat wave it feels so good. 

And keep in mind: if you can’t get your house cool enough even when the heat starts to subside, give us a call to look into your AC and see if it needs to be fixed or even replaced. 

Stay cool (please!),


Russell & Abbott serves Maryville, Knoxville, and the surrounding areas. Just whistle and we’ll come running!

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Olive, Why Do I Hear Water in My AC?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

I am always glad to help out my readers when they have questions about air conditioning. Air conditioners are a part of everyday life (at least in summer), but people who aren’t HVAC experts often don’t know much about how they run. 

And that’s fine! Most people drive cars but don’t know how combustion engines work or anything like that. You can say the same thing about pets: you might have a dog, but you won’t be an expert on veterinary medicine. That’s why you take your dog to a good vet! Believe me, we dogs appreciate having good vets, even if we kind of shiver and shake when we wait in the vet’s office. 

Anyway, today I’m going to answer a question I often get about how air conditioning systems run: “Why do I hear water dripping in my AC?” People want to know if this is normal, why there’s water in the AC at all, and where that water goes. Let’s get into it!

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Olive Explains Your AC’s Cooling Limits

Monday, May 17th, 2021

Greetings everyone! I’ve gotten some questions about just how cool I can be! 

Okay, maybe it wasn’t phrased exactly that way. People want to know just how cool an air conditioning system can make their house. It’s a good question: air conditioners do have limits, the same way that your car can’t do 300 mph no matter how well-built it is. And although we dogs can get super-fast—did you know that Greyhounds can run as fast as 45 mph?—none of us are going to outpace a Bullet Train no matter how healthy we are. Not meant as a criticism! Just basic facts about how things work.

So, what’s your air conditioning system’s “top speed”? I’ll get into that below. Please hang around, this can be helpful with setting your thermostat during summer.

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Olive’s Summer Starter Tips for Your AC

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

“But Olive, it isn’t summer yet!” That’s true, but I’m here to help you get started for summer, which is not too far away. We can start getting full summer temperatures in May. This is why I encourage all my loyal readers to have any big jobs they need to be done for their HVAC system scheduled now. For example, if you think you need a new AC installation in Knoxville, TN, now is the time to talk to us about it. 

If you don’t have any major HVAC service need, there are still some “summer starter” jobs you can do to help your air conditioning system work its best. Here are a few of my top tips.

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An Important Reminder About Refrigerant in Your AC

Monday, April 19th, 2021

Ever heard these phrases before? “You need to top off the refrigerant in your AC,” or “It’s time to get a refrigerant refill on your AC.” These are based on very common misunderstandings about how air conditioners work, and sometimes unscrupulous people who claim they are HVAC “technicians” try to use them on homeowners.

Here are the facts, straight from your favorite HVAC blogger dog: the only time you’ll need to have more refrigerant put into your air conditioning system is if there is a refrigerant leak. Otherwise, you can expect the amount of refrigerant in the AC will stay the same and keep circulating through it for the lifetime of the system. 

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Spring Is Here! Let’s Get Your AC Inspected and Tuned-Up

Monday, April 5th, 2021

Springtime! If you’re a dog (and I’m assuming you’re not), this is one of the best times of the year: not too hot, not too cold, and people are always looking for an excuse to take you outside so they can enjoy the warmer weather as well. I’ll admit that I’m still biased a bit toward fall because I like to leap into piles of dried leaves, but spring is still a pretty big deal for me.

And it’s a big deal for all of us here at Russell & Abbott, because spring is when we provide one of our most important services: air conditioning maintenance. Routine HVAC maintenance is the most important service we offer, and AC maintenance is one half of that.

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It’s That Time of Year: Evaluate Your AC’s Performance

Monday, September 21st, 2020

September is when I break out one of my old chestnut topics—but it’s a perennial topic for good reasons! The same way I make sure my good readers and Russell & Abbott customers know they need to schedule an air conditioning tune-up in Knoxville, TN each spring, I want you all to know that the start of fall (this week!) is a time to size-up how your air conditioning system performed over the summer.

No, I don’t want you to open the cabinet of your AC and look at it. Leave repairs to our pros. What I want you to do is ask questions about how well the central air conditioner did its job through the hottest months of the season. This will help you with future planning. And those plans may involve getting a new AC!

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Olive Explains: The Line Set for Your AC

Monday, September 7th, 2020

Time for another episode where I get to put on my professor hat and explain some of the more technical parts of air conditioning. Not too technical! I promise I won’t scare you off with frightening terms, the kind that our experts at Russell & Abbott know all about so you don’t have to! Today I’m going to be looking at a critical part of your home air conditioning system, one people often don’t think about: the line set.

The Line Set Brings Together the “Split” in a “Split System” Air Conditioner

If you have a standard central AC, you know it has indoor and outdoor parts. That’s why this type of air conditioner is called a split system. But, of course, those two parts must connect at some point: the way the AC cools down your house is by circulating refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor coils, so the refrigerant needs a way to move indoors and outdoors. That’s the job of the line set.

The line set is a pair of flexible copper pipes. One is a smaller pipe called the liquid line, and the other larger one is called the suction line. The smaller of the lines carries liquid refrigerant (you probably guessed based on the name, right?) from the condenser indoors to the evaporator. The suction line carries the hot gaseous refrigerant from the indoor evaporator back to the condenser, where it will be put under pressure and start the cycle over again.

Line Set Sizing and Placement

The line set sounds straightforward: one line to bring refrigerant into the house, another to take it out to the condenser. But I think it’s important for you to know how difficult it actually is to make sure these lines are in the right place and the right size. A mistake in sizing the line set will mean an inefficient air conditioner. Many different factors in an air conditioning system will affect the size of the line set. Also important is the line set placement and the length necessary to connect the condenser to the evaporator. If an amateur tries this job, it won’t end well!

Line Set Repair and Replacement

One common central AC repair in Knoxville, TN we often do is fix refrigerant leaks that occur in the line set. Some line sets are buried and others exposed, and exposed lines can spring leaks due to damage.

When we handle an air conditioning replacement, we’ll have to make an informed decision about whether to replace the line set as well. The new air conditioner may not be able to work with the existing line set, and we’ll always put in the right line set for the system. Disreputable amateurs often won’t do this work and leave an old line set in place. However, if it isn’t necessary to put in a new line set, we won’t force one just to charge more—we’re always honest about our services!

If you have any reason to believe your AC is leaking refrigerant, please call us right away.

Stay cool,


Russell & Abbott serves Blount, Knox and Loudon Counties and the surrounding areas. Call us for AC repairs of any kind!

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