Experiencing One of The Common Heater Problems in Spokane?

April 9th, 2014

Heaters are an indispensable part of life in the Pacific Northwest. With our chilly winters and constant cloud cover, we rely heavily on heating units of all varieties to keep our homes comfortable and warm. A good heater can last you for many years, but like all appliances, it will need repairs from time to time. Here in Spokane, WA, heating service companies can usually correct the problems for you. Are you experiencing one of the common heater problems in Spokane? Don’t hesitate to call upon an expert.

Most heater problems boil down to one of three basic issues:

  1. The air isn’t blowing, or is blowing with insufficient speed. This is often caused by a blockage in the ducts or lines somewhere, though it also crops up if the fan or the fan motor is experiencing problems. It’s troublesome because it forces your heater to work harder and longer to do its job. Not only do you need to wait for a longer period of time for your home to warm up, but it will cost you more in monthly heating bills in the bargain.
  2.  The air is blowing, but there’s no heat. A lack of heat often means a problem with the burners, such as a clog or more substantial damage. It could also mean trouble with the blower or a breach in the ducts that pulls the heated air out. Again, the end result is the same: less heat means the heater must work harder, costing you more money with fewer overall results.
  3. Bills are going up. Sometimes, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong overtly, but a faulty component or general wear and tear will force the heater to work harder. That costs you money unnecessarily, as well as increasing further strain on the heater and making future repairs increasingly likely. If your heating bills are going up for no apparent reason, that’s usually cause for concern.

If you’re experiencing one of the common heater problems, call on ACI Northwest to help. Fast and effective heating services in Spokane, WA if one of our specialties, and we’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction at every step. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

Why Would You Consider Installing a Geothermal Heating System?

April 2nd, 2014

Geothermal systems require extensive installation work and a solid parcel of land for their underground coils in order for them to operate properly. They also cost more to install than other heating systems like furnaces, air-source heat pumps, and boilers. So why would you put geothermal on your shopping list for home heating system in Coeur d’Alene, WA?

We can think of a few reasons that might sway you toward using the power of the earth to heat your home (and cool it). To find out more about installing a geothermal heat pump for your home, talk to our geothermal specialists at ACI Northwest. We offer a written unconditional one-year money-back satisfaction guarantee on all our residential installations.

Reasons to have a geothermal heat pump installed

  • Energy savings: Although installing a geothermal heat pump (a.k.a. a “ground source heat pump”) does cost more than other home comfort systems, their high energy-efficiency from using the earth’s natural heat means they will pay back their installation costs in a period of 5–10 years… and after that, it’s all savings.
  • Longevity: To help with those energy savings, geothermal systems have extremely long lifespans. The indoor heat pump unit will usually last 20+ years, while the coils—the most expensive part of installation—can last more than 50! A geothermal heat pump is a long-term investment in comfort and efficiency.
  • Reliability: Air-source heat pumps have one major drawback, which is that they will lose heating efficiency as the air temperature outdoors drops below freezing. Ground-source heat pumps never have to worry about this, since the temperature in the earth 6–10 feet below the surface remains stable around 55°F regardless of the temperature above ground. The geothermal system will also have ample heat to draw on for heat exchange.
  • Help the environment: Geothermal systems have reduced emissions, so they will not cause extra damage to the environment because of ozone-depleting or global warming gases.

Find out if geothermal will work for your home

Before you get too excited about having a geothermal system installed for your home, you need to know if your house and property will allow a geothermal heat pump to work. Hard rock ground, for example, makes it impossible to put in the underground loops. It will probably turn out that if you won’t benefit from a geothermal system, there is another option that’s ideal. Call a heating and cooling professional for an opinion.

ACI Northwest has more than 85 years of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining heating in Coeur d’Alene, WA. Give us a call when you want to find out if geothermal is the best option for your home comfort.

3 Ways Attic Fans Benefit Your Household

March 31st, 2014

If you’ve ever ventured into your home’s attic during a warm summer day, you know that this shaded, enclosed spot can turn into an oven. Attics can reach 120°F easily on hot days, and this turns the region into a massive heat sink that will affect the rest of your home.

One way to protect your house from the extra heat is with proper attic insulation. But you can go a step further with installation of attic fans that equalize the temperature between the inside and the outside of the attic. These fans are also effective at decreasing the moisture that rises into the attic year-round from kitchens and showers.

If you are interested in attic fan installation, contact ACI Northwest and ask about our electrical services in Coeur d’Alene, WA.

3 benefits from attic fans

  1. Increased comfort and energy efficiency: The basic function of an attic fan is to reduce the temperature in the attic, and subsequently keep it from seeping down to heat up your home even more during hot weather. With the fans in operation, the attic averages 50 degrees cooler, and this translates to a drop of 10 degrees inside the rest of your home—a significant difference. You will end up using your air conditioner less during the summer to combat extra heat, and this means a reduction on your utility bills.
  2. Extended roof life: The high levels of heat and trapped moisture inside the attic will shorten the lifespan of your roof, which is one of the most expensive parts of a home to repair or replace. Water moisture that becomes trapped inside the roof will encourage the growth of damaging molds. When the temperature drops in winter, the moisture will freeze, expanding and causing cracking to roofing material. Attic fans pull down the temperature and dissipate the moisture that can ruin your roof.
  3. Storage protection: Most households use the attic as a storage place for items only needed a few times a year, or for valuable keepsakes and heirlooms. The intense heat inside an attic during the summer can cause damage to many of these items, especially if they are exposed to it year after year. Moisture will also cause severe harm, particularly to wood and precision objects such as musical instruments. Attic fans regulate these problems, making the attic a safer place to store your important possessions.

Attic fan installation is a large project, but with the right Coeur d’Alene electrical service contractor on the job, you should have no difficulties. ACI Northwest provides excellent attic fan installation, as well as any repairs you might need. Don’t suffer from unnecessary heat in your home this summer: call ACI Northwest today.

Why Proper Thermostat Placement Is Crucial for Your Heating System

March 24th, 2014

The thermostat does more than control when your heater’s blower motors and heating elements turn on and off. It also monitors the temperature in your home using sensors and uses the information to guide its programming. This is the main reason why having the thermostat in the proper place is crucial for receiving the correct level of comfort in your home; poor placement will mean a heater than runs too often, runs too little, or runs erratically.

If you received a poor heating installation, you may have an improperly located thermostat. In most cases, the only solution is to call up a skilled Hayden, ID heating service technician to move it to a better location. ACI Northwest can assist your with thermostat problems when they begin to affect your heater’s performance.

Here are three incorrect thermostat locations:

WRONG: In a place with too much direct sunlight

If a thermostat sits in too much direct sunlight, it will sense a temperature on average 10°F higher than the room’s temperature, a “ghost reading.” This will lead to a heating system failing to turn on when it should.

WRONG: Near to windows and doors that open to the outside

If a thermostat is near any spot that can receive outdoor drafts, it will register temperatures lower than the room’s actual temperature. This ghost reading will have the opposite effect of the sunlight problem: it will cause the heating to come on before it should, resulting in a stuffy, uncomfortable environment.

WRONG: Located too far from the center of the house

You want a thermostat to register a median temperature for a home so it supplies the right amount of heat to create even warmth. A thermostat located too far from the center of the house will detect outlier temperatures that inaccurately reflect the general temperature, and this will result in uneven heating.

(USUALLY) RIGHT: Outside the master bedroom

This is one of the theoretically ideal spots to install a thermostat, since the master bedroom is usually located at the center of a house, and is not near to drafty doors and windows or direct sunlight. If the master bedroom isn’t ideal, it will at least offer a starting point for finding a good spot.

Re-locating a thermostat takes technicians skilled with heating and electrical wiring. Make sure that you find an experienced company like ACI Northwest to locate the best place to move your thermostat. We have a combined 85 years of experience bringing our customers optimal heating in Hayden, ID.

Heat Pump Repairs to Plan for this Spring

March 13th, 2014

Because heat pumps provide your home with both heating and cooling, they run throughout much of the year. The only periods when you can expect your heat pump to go inactive are during the temperate stretches during the spring and fall.

We’re only a few weeks away from the official start of spring, and you’ll soon transition your heat pump from heating to cooling. This is the ideal time to take care of repairs that will help your heat pump manage the upcoming summer weather with few operating glitches and without excess energy drain. Here are a few heat pump repairs to schedule for the spring so you’re ready for when the real heat starts.

Call ACI Northwest to repair your heating system in Spokane, WA. We have over eight decades of experience with home comfort systems, and our NATE-certified technicians are ready when you need them.

Heat pump repairs to watch for this spring:

  • Refrigerant leaks – Don’t start the summer with a lowered refrigerant charge inside your heat pump! If you noticed icing along the coils of the outside unit during heating season, you probably have a lowered refrigerant charge from leaking in coils or the compressor. A drop in heating power can also indicate leaking. Remember, the refrigerant level affects the efficiency of both heating and cooling, so you need to have a technician fix the leak and recharge the refrigerant to its proper level so you’ll have the cooling you need for summer.
  • Broken reversing valve – If you’ve kept your heat pump in heating mode for a while, try this test: change it over briefly to cooling mode. If it doesn’t start blowing cool air but still blows warm air, then the reversing valve has probably broken. This valve is what allows the heat pump to change between its two modes. A repair technician can fix this by changing the broken valve for a new one.
  • Worn down motors or compressors – You should always pay attention to strange sounds coming from either the indoor or outdoor cabinet of your heat pump, since they usually warn of impending mechanical failures. Shrieking and groaning noises are often omens of motors or compressors wearing down because of stress, and if either of these malfunctions, the heat pump will either lose power or stop working entirely. Let repair technicians find where the trouble is and fix it.

Make sure you have maintenance performed as well

Spring is when you should schedule professional maintenance on your heat pump to prep it for the summer. If the system has any hidden repair needs, the technician will catch them and know how to fix them. The technician will also clean, adjust, and fine-tune the unit.

ACI Northwest has the maintenance plans and the repair knowledge to keep your cooling and heating in Spokane, WA running with as few issues as possible. To enjoy the upcoming summer in cool comfort, call ACI Northwest.

How Air Handlers Work in Your Heating System

March 3rd, 2014

If you used a forced-air system to heat your home, such as a furnace or a heat pump, one of the essential components of the unit is the air handler. The air handler performs the crucial task of air distribution through the ventilation system and into the rooms of your house. Without the air handler, the heat from the burners or heating elements in the furnace, or the coils in the heat pump, would go nowhere and you would receive no comfort from your system.

Care and maintenance of an air handler is a major part of the job of heating repair technicians. Contemporary air handlers are too complex and intricate devices for amateur work. When you need repairs for the air handler to restore your heating in Coeur d’Alene, WA, you must call up experienced heating contractors. ACI Northwest has the training and years of experience to help you with any trouble you may have in your air handlers or any other part of your heater.

The operation of the air handler

The main component of an air handler unit is a large blower fan inside a durable casing connected to a blower fan motor. Some air handlers have variable speed motors that can run at lower power to reduce noise and to assist with even air distribution. The blower sends out air into the ventilation system; sometimes this is air from the outside or sometimes from the return vents that re-circulate air. Blower fans can sometimes require repairs if the blades become bent from debris that enters the air handler. A filter rack or filter chambers in the blower help keep dust and debris picked up from the re-circulated or outside air from entering into the ductwork. Sound attenuators help reduce the noise from the blower.

For heat pumps, air handlers also contain the coils necessary for conditioning the air in heating and cooling mode, making it not only essential for air distribution, but also for providing a comfortable temperature. (With a furnace, the air handler usually plays no role in generating heat.) For ductless mini split heat pumps, the air handlers are often referred to as terminal units, and contain fewer components: usually an air filter, coil, and blower.

Keep your air handler working

Because an air handler is a major mechanical part of your heating system, it needs regular maintenance and prompt repairs to make sure it does not wear down and threaten you with a loss of heat. Should you hear loud banging sounds from the air handler, or if the airflow from your vents drops, you should call for professional repairs as soon as you can.

ACI Northwest has many years of experience handling heating system services in Coeur d’Alene, WA. Contact us any time of the day or night when you need help.

Signs of a Reliable Heating Service in Spokane, WA

February 24th, 2014

Because of Internet search technology, it’s easier than ever to find heating services in Spokane, WA when you require them. But there’s a downside to this ease: you’ll have too many choices, and many of those choices won’t be technicians worth hiring. You need to find a way to navigate through all your options to zero in on a heating service that is professional, dependable, and skilled. We’ll go over some of the signs to look for that will tell you that you’ve found the right contractor for your heating needs.

Among your choices for heating, ACI Northwest stands as one of the best. Give us a look and you’ll see why.

Here’s what you should look for in a heating service:

  • Many years of experience: Training and education are important, but even more important is experience. All the training in the world won’t mean much if a technician hasn’t had numerous opportunities to put it to use in the field. Don’t trust to newcomers: look for a company with the years to back up the work it does.
  • NATE-certified staff: The North American Technical Excellence certification is the only industry-wide recognized certification for HVAC technicians. A heating service with NATE-certified technicians on staff can deliver you the quality you need.
  • 24/7 emergency service: Nobody plans to have their furnace’s motors burn out at 3 a.m. on a Sunday night—but it seems that’s when these troubles always happen. Since your heating repair needs won’t occur on a convenient timetable, you need to look for a heating service you can depend on to come to your rescue no matter the time of day or night.
  • A major brand dealer: A reliable heating service will be a licensed dealer for the top brands in the heating world: companies like Trane, Lennox, and Amana. When it comes time for new heating installation, you’ll have a contractor capable of delivering you the best systems on the market.
  • Better Business Bureau Accredited: For more than a century, the Better Business Bureau has provided an excellent index of quality and reliability for U.S. businesses. A heating service worth hiring will have an up-to-date rating as an accredited business with the BBB.

ACI Northwest has 85 years of experience with professional heating services in Spokane, WA. We’re accredited with the BBB, offer the major brands, and our NATE-certified technicians ready to help you 24 hours a day. When you need excellent service for your furnace, heat pump, boiler, or geothermal heating system, make ACI Northwest your first call.

How Can Geothermal Improve My Heating System?

February 17th, 2014

If you’ve heard of geothermal heating, you might think that it’s out of your reach as an option for your home. But there’s a good chance that your house is in an ideal location for geothermal installation, and in the hands of trained technicians the process is not burdensome all. It’s definitely an alternative to consider if you want to upgrade to a new heating system.

And make no mistake, geothermal heating can be a major improvement over your current heater. If you already have a heat pump, a geothermal model will offer some impressive benefits. The benefits are ever greater if you plan to switch from a standard furnace.

Here are some way geothermal can improve your heating system in Hayden, ID. Call our geothermal experts at ACI Northwest to learn more.

Geothermal offers reliable heating

Standard air-source heat pumps can have trouble returning high levels of warmth when the temperature drops too far and extracting heat from the outside air becomes difficult. But a geothermal heat pump (a ground-source heat pump) uses the stable temperature of the earth so it never will encounter an outdoor temperature too cold for it.

Geothermal reduces energy bills

There are few heating systems available today that run with such high energy efficiency as geothermal ones. Although some homeowners shy away from the cost of installation, the U.S. EPA has found that most geothermal systems will pay for themselves with energy savings in 5–10 years… and they will last much longer than that.

Geothermal helps the environment

Where furnaces produce a large amount of exhaust and emissions, a geothermal heat pump produces almost none at all. If you want to “go green” with your home, a geothermal system is one of the best ways to achieve it.

Geothermal is quiet

Since much of the work in geothermal systems occurs underground, they run with almost no noise pollution.

Geothermal is safe

Going hand-in-hand in the lower emissions, geothermal systems pose almost no safety risks due to burning fuel or potential fire hazards.

There are a few drawbacks to geothermal systems, and the main one is that they will not work with every property. If you are interested in having a geothermal heat pump installed for your heating in Hayden, ID, you should contact specialists and have them look over your home and property to determine if geothermal is the ideal choice. You should also have these specialists handle the installation if you do decide on geothermal; trust us, this is an immense task, and you’ll be glad to have experts handling it.

Contact ACI Northwest today, and we’ll find out what kind of geothermal system will benefit you, and will make sure you have a great installation.

The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

February 14th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without the traditional greeting cards, whether accompanying a gift of flowers and candy, or sent between children in a school room. For commercial greeting card companies, February 14th is as important to them as the December holidays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love predates printed greeting cards by a few centuries. In fact, the reason that sending romantic greeting cards became popular was because of the most un-romantic thing you can imagine: a reduction in postage rates.

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of “Penny Posts” that used a uniform rate of one old penny per letter throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Printers took advantage of the ease with which people could send letters to each other on Valentine’s Day by crafting cards with love poems on them. Many of these verses were collected in 1797 in the book The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which was a resource for the lover with a romantic soul but not the most confident poetry style.

By the mid-19th-century, the Valentine’s Day greeting card was flourishing across England. Although people still followed a tradition of creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards from lace, ribbons, and flowers, commercially produced cards now overtook them. In 1835, the English post office mailed 60,000 valentines. As production expenses dropped, the English card manufacturers branched out creatively with humorous and sometimes vulgar cards… many of which we would find startlingly familiar in the 21st century. One of the common jokes on these cards was to design them to look like marriage certificates or court summons.

Across the Atlantic, the United States was slower to embrace the popular British custom. It wasn’t until 1847 that a U.S. printer mass-produced greeting cards for Valentine’s Day. Only two years later, American journalists noted how rapidly people in the country had embraced the tradition, turning into a fad that has never died down. The woman who printed the first U.S. Valentine’s Day card, Esther Howland, is today recognized by the Greeting Card Association with the annual “Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

The greeting card industry certainly has reason to thank Ms. Howland. Her idea of going into business printing romantic greeting cards, which came to her after she received a traditional English valentine when she was 19 years old, now sells 190 million cards in the U.S. every year. That number doesn’t include the smaller exchange cards used in elementary school classrooms, which would swell the number to 1 billion. (Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards each year? Teachers!)

Whether you send out Valentine’s Day cards—handmade, store-bought, digital—or not, we at ACI Northwest hope you have a happy February 14th.

3 Key Furnace Safety Features

February 4th, 2014

Furnaces have an underserved reputation among heating systems for poor safety, particularly gas-powered furnaces. There is no question that carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous, and faulty wiring on an electrical furnace might lead to a fire. However, these occurrences are rare because furnaces have safety features to prevent hazards. If you keep your furnace well maintained, it should pose no more danger to you than any other comfort system.

Rely on ACI Northwest for the maintenance and heating repair in Spokane, WA that will keep your furnace in the safety zone.

Here are three key safety features we’d like to highlight:

  1. Thermocouple/mercury sensor: A potential safety hazard in a furnace that uses a pilot light is that the pilot light might go out and stop burning the gas from the burners. If this happens, gas will flood the combustion chamber, and then a single spark could cause an explosion. To prevent this, the gas valve is hooked to a device called a thermocouple, which records the heat coming from the pilot light. If the pilot light goes out, the electric current in the thermocouple stops, causing the gas valve to close. Recent furnaces use a mercury sensor to perform the same job.
  2. Limit switch: This device serves a function similar to the thermocouple/mercury sensor. It is located just below the plenum of the furnace and detects its temperature. If the plenum grows too hot, the limit switch shuts off the burner to prevent flames from getting outside the cabinet. The limit switch can be adjusted, but we do not advise you do this on your own: let a technician decide the best setting for it.
  3. Circuit breakers: For electric furnaces, the most important safety feature is one that applies to much of your house: the circuit breaker panel.  To prevent a power overload or possibly a fire, the circuit breaker will trip and shut off the furnace. If your furnace repeatedly trips the circuit breakers, you should have a repair technician examine it, since something larger may be wrong.

A furnace isn’t an inherently dangerous piece of equipment as long as it has its safety features working. It’s essential to schedule regular maintenance for a furnace so that all these fail-safe devices are functioning correctly. You should have a maintenance check-up once a year to catch any possible failures, safety concerns, or upcoming repair needs.

At ACI Northwest, we want your family to stay safe throughout the winter. We are ready to bring you the heating repair in Spokane, WA you need to keep your furnace working without danger—and we can answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.