ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Liberty Lake’

How Can UV Lights Improve Your Health?

Monday, November 14th, 2016

When it comes to your health, you may think about how outdoor air impacts your body. Smog, cigarette smoke, pollen, and dust are all threats to your health. But do you ever think about your indoor air? Maybe you believe that your air filter is fully effective at eliminating all contaminants from your air.

While a high-efficient air filter, when changed or cleaned as often as needed, will be effective at removing some pollutants from your home, there are others that a standard filter simply cannot combat. We’re talking about mold, mildew, and spores.

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What Can You Do to Prep Your Heater for Winter?

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Cooler temperatures are here to stay for fall, with winter falling shortly behind. While we don’t get the blizzard conditions that states in the Midwest and the east coast do, you still need a reliable heating system to get you through some pretty chilly nights and cooler days. Now is the time to get your heating system properly prepared for winter.

Keep reading to learn more about what you can do to fully prep your heater for winter.

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Should You Schedule Generator Maintenance?

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Summer doesn’t seem to be on its way out any time soon, however that doesn’t mean that now isn’t a great time to think ahead towards the end of the year: a period where you might need to rely on your whole-house generator should an extended power outage occur. The beginning of fall—which is just a couple weeks away—is a great time to arrange for your annual generator maintenance.

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Coeur d’Alene Air Conditinoing Question: Why Is AC Air Flow Important?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Your Coeur d’Alene central air conditioning system is a pretty complicated piece of equipment; one that needs a lot of components working together seamless to efficiently cool your home. While keeping your compressor in good repair and your evaporator coil clean might seem obvious, many people don’t know how important air flow is for their air conditioning system to work effectively.

Air flow affects the speed of the air going over the evaporator coil. If the air speed is too fast, either because of blower that is too fast or incorrectly designed ducts, the air will not be cooled to the right temperature and it won’t be properly dehumidified. If the air flow is too slow, it can make their air too cold and might cause ice to form on the coil. Reduced air flow can be caused by a dirty air filter or by bent fins, both of which are relatively easy to fixes for an air conditioning contractor.

Duct problems might also cause issues with the air flow out of your air vents. Even if the rest of your system is functioning perfectly, leaky or broken ducts can prevent the conditioned air from reaching the right parts of your home. A professional can examine your duct system to see if it is the cause of the problem, and determine if you need duct repair to fix the air flow.

Whatever your air flow problem, ACI Northwest is here to help. We are available 24 hour s a day for any AC repair in the Coeur d’Alene area!

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Carbon Monoxide Detectors: A Safety Necessity for Every Liberty Lake Home

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Carbon monoxide detectors should be a necessity for all furnace installations in Liberty Lake. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless, tasteless, invisible – and lethal.  All carbon-based heating fuels – oil, natural gas, propane, butane – release carbon monoxide when they burn. The gas is usually vented outside the house, but appliance breakdowns or malfunctions can redirect it into the house. Without a carbon monoxide detector, the only warning you might get is a headache or drowsiness. Leaks that occur at night when people are sleeping are frequently fatal.

How does carbon monoxide kill you? Your lungs continuously extract oxygen from the air. The oxygen combines with a substance in your lungs called hemoglobin, which carries it through your blood to oxygenate your body. Carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin the same way oxygen does, but binds to it much more tightly. The bound up hemoglobin can’t oxygenate your body and can’t release the carbon monoxide. Besides depriving your body of oxygen, the bound up hemoglobin is toxic to your nerves and blood vessels.

All home heating systems and hot water tanks are designed to expel exhaust gases, including carbon monoxide, outside the house. Most older homes in the Liberty Lake area passively vent the hot exhaust gas outside the house. The hot gas rises above the surrounding air, and is pulled up the flue or chimney by the pressure difference between the outside and the inside of the house. Some systems have blowers that help push the gas out.

A change in pressure inside or outside the house can reverse the flow of exhaust gas. A blocked or damaged flue can also cause the gas to back up. A poorly designed venting system, or one that’s been altered by a homeowner, can affect the pressure gradient inside the house, pulling carbon monoxide away from the furnace before it’s exhausted. Portable gas or oil heaters meant for outdoor use are a common source of carbon monoxide-related deaths when used inappropriately.

Depending on the cause of the leak,  the buildup of carbon monoxide may be gradual or sudden. Constant low levels of carbon monoxide inside the home may not cause severe symptoms or death, but may make you chronically sick.

You can place detectors in the basement near the furnace or in other rooms in the house. But make sure you have at least one detector in or near your bedroom so it will wake you if a carbon monoxide leak occurs at night.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Carbon monoxide mixes with room air, so there is no need to place the detector up high or near the floor. The best option is to place it where it can be easily serviced and tested.  Don’t put it in the garage or porch, or near a chimney, flue, or other area where there is likely to be a lot of air movement. You want the detector to be sampling the air you breath.

If you have any questions about carbon monoxide detectors please call ACI Northwest.

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Adding a Circuit: Why You Should Hire a Spokane Electrician

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

There are many repairs that a savvy homeowner can handle alone. Things like fixing a running toilet, draining and cleaning the water heater annually and even replacing a bathroom vanity are all projects that can reasonably be done yourself.

When it comes to electrical work, however, the job is best left to a skilled Spokane electrician. One such project that homeowners are not advised to tackle is adding a circuit to your home electrical system. This is for several reasons, including the complexity of the job at hand, the legal components of local building codes and ultimately, your safety.

 Not an Easy Job

Leaving aside for a moment the dangers of delving into your home’s wiring, adding a circuit is a difficult job to accomplish. Wiring a circuit is a job that requires some skill and training. There are lots of ways to do it wrong, but only one way to do it right.

There may be other challenges, too. For one, your breaker box may not accept another circuit, which means you would have to upgrade to one with a higher capacity. Right away, this project has gotten way more complicated than you would have liked.

 Knowing the Code

Building codes are often complex and difficult to follow, which is why Spokane contractors have to spend hours in training learning about changes and modifications to local codes. If you were to inadvertently add a new circuit in a way that violated local codes, you could have a big mess on your hands.

In addition, many local codes prohibit anyone other than a licensed contractor from even performing electrical work– including the homeowner.

 Safety First

Lastly, but clearly most importantly, consider the safety issues involved. Electrical wiring can be a serious hazard, and not working with it safely can result in serious injury or even death.

Professional electricians are trained in how to properly and safely do electrical work so that no on gets hurt or worse.

The urge to do it yourself can be strong, and in many cases it’s OK to follow that urge, but adding a circuit is not one of those times. It’s not worth it. Call in ACI Northwest!

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Cheney Tankless Water Heater Tip: How to Get the Right Size

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Tankless water heaters are gaining popularity among Cheney homeowners because of their on demand hot water supply and space-saving design. Although they are more expensive than traditional tank water heaters, on demand water heaters are more efficient, reliable, and easier to install and maintain. Before choosing to install a tankless water heater, however, you will have to decide which size will meet your hot water needs.

Rather than storing hot water in a tank, the tankless models heat the water with individual units located near the application where hot water is needed, such as a shower or washing machine. For larger homes, some of these smaller units cannot heat enough water for several applications running at the same time. You can also install a single tankless water heater for the entire house, or separate ones for appliances that use more hot water.

Finding the proper size and type will depend on the flow rate—measured  by a GPM (gallons per minute) number—that each fixture needs. Every application has a standard flow rate that must be added up in order to calculate the hot water demands for your entire home. For instance, if someone is using a sink with a 1.5 GPM at the same time another person is running a shower with a 2.0 GPM, the flow rate for the tankless unit would need to be at least 3.5 gallons per minute. You will have to add up the flow rate for all the applications in the house to get the minimum GPM figure for your tankless water heater.

In addition to flow rates, tankless hot water heaters are also measured by how much the water temperature needs to rise as it moves through the heating unit. You can determine the temperature rise for each application by subtracting the temperature of water coming in from the desired temperature going out. Once you add those together with the overall flow rates, you will know which tankless water heater can handle your overall hot water needs.

Before you buy an on demand hot water heater, it is best to talk to a professional installer. While the flow rates and temperature rise for most household appliances are fairly standard, these numbers can vary because of several factors that professionals are trained to calculate. Size is not the only factor to consider when shopping for a tankless water heater. Fuel type and efficiency should also be factored in to your purchase.

If you aren’t sure what type or size of tankless water heater is right for your Cheney home, call ACI Northwest to speak with one of our professional technicians. We are always glad to offer our expert advice so that you can meet all of your hot water needs in the most efficient way possible.

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Greenacres Heating System Preventative Maintenance

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” His famous quotation can apply to many things in life, including the heating system in your Greenacres home. While heating systems in Ben Franklin’s time consisted of wood burning stove and fireplaces requiring little maintenance, today’s sophisticated furnaces and building controls require a good dose of preventative maintenance in order to avoid mechanical failures and inefficient operation.

For example, a furnace runs better and lasts longer when you maintain a regular schedule of filter cleaning or replacing. A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow from the furnace into your home’s ventilation system and cause the furnace to work harder, putting more wear and tear on it and taking months, if not years, off of its useful life. If your furnace uses disposable filters, check them every month and replace them if necessary. If your furnace uses an electronic filter that requires cleaning, check it on a monthly or semi-monthly basis and clean it with soapy water and a hose. Be aware of the change of seasons which could add extra pollutants into the air like pollens, ragweed, and cottonwood. This debris easily finds its way into the filters and creates an unhealthy indoor environment.

You can also perform a simple visual inspection of working components inside your furnace by removing the access cover and checking – with a flashlight – for loose fan belts, frayed electrical wires, or a build-up of dirt and dust. Simple solutions include tightening or replacing belts, repairing wiring, and vacuuming out dirt and dust with a hose attachment. All of these actions will keep your furnace working better and prevent future failures.

You can also do a visual check of your home’s ventilation system, paying close attention to any cracks in duct seams or holes in flex ductwork. Using sealing cement or duct tape can usually fix these problems and allow for better, unrestricted air flow. Again, these actions will help your furnace work more efficiently and avoid premature failures.

Maybe the best advice for preventing heating system breakdowns is to have a regular maintenance schedule with a local qualified heating contractor. Most contractors can set you up with annual furnace and ventilation system inspections. Having a service agreement – as a rule – gives you priority emergency repairs and discounts on parts and services. Besides that, planned maintenance is also preventative maintenance, something that will give you peace of mind in the long run.

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High Efficiency Furnaces and Chimney Concerns in Mead

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When upgrading to a high efficiency gas furnace, you may need to make some upgrades to your Mead home’s chimney. Older chimneys built for standard furnaces with normal exhaust needs are not built to the specifications needed by today’s high efficiency models. Not only is it unsafe to leave it as is, but the cost of repairs if you don’t have it upgraded can be substantial.

Down-Sizing

A common concern when upgrading to a high efficiency gas furnace is the issue of condensation and draft. Because the amount of exhaust being vented is reduced by a high efficiency furnace, your current setup is not sufficient for the new model. So, it needs to be reduced in size by a professional to avoid backup of exhaust. Proper chimney sizing is a complex process that requires professional guidelines and careful measurements of all appliances in your home.

Because the chimney often isn’t used at all for a high efficiency furnace (often PVC pipe used instead), the extra airflow in the chimney can become a major issue.

Chimney Condensation

The biggest concern for the chimney when changing the furnace efficiency is condensation. Specifically, acidic condensation droplets can build up in the chimney if not properly stopped. A new chimney liner must be placed in the chimney to avoid excessive corrosion due to the acid droplets. Keep in mind that the efficiency of your new furnace will determine whether you will use the traditional chimney for exhaust or if a new line will be installed to vent your furnace.

When to Take Action

If you have your furnace replaced, your technician will likely discuss the chimney situation in your home with you. Keep in mind that this might be necessary and that there might be an added cost involved because of it. Modern furnaces are not designed to accommodate aging chimneys and your safety and the integrity of your house are at risk if you don’t retrofit the chimney if necessary.

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Furnace Fan Doesn’t Run? Why Is That? What Should You Do? A Guide from an Elk Contactor

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

There are several reasons that a furnace fan might stop working at one point or another. While many of these do require an Elk professional’s attention, there are probably some things you can check on your own before you go and call in the pros. After all, if you can address the problem on your own, it will at least save you from having to pay a technician to come out.

The first thing to check when your furnace is running but the fan isn’t turning is whether or not the fan is actually switched on. Certain models of furnaces have a separate switch to turn the fan on and off. While there is probably no reason that you would want to turn off the fan by itself, it’s worth taking a look just in case. If that really is the problem, you’ll be up and running and back to dealing with better things in no time.

If that’s not the problem, you might try looking to see if any wires leading to the fan are loose or the fuse is blown. If the fan has no power, of course, it won’t be able to work but the rest of the furnace likely would work just fine as long as it doesn’t run on electricity as well.

Of course, the problem very well may be beyond your power to solve on your own. Don’t despair though. Even though you need to call in a professional, that doesn’t mean that the problem will be expensive to fix. In fact, it may be as simple as replacing your thermostat or the motor for the fan itself.

Just because a fan isn’t working doesn’t mean that you’re going to be paying an arm and a leg to have work done on your furnace. If you can’t easily discover the problem on your own, however, or if you’re not comfortable inspecting this type of equipment at all, you’re generally better off just calling in an expert and letting them do the dirty work for you. Paying for simple furnace fan repairs is definitely preferable to having to pay someone to fix the fan and the stuff you broke yourself while trying to fix the fan on your own.

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