Posts Tagged ‘Liberty Lake’

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

When Should You Replace Your Existing Heat Pump? A Guide from Latah

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Nobody wants to think about having to replace a home heating and cooling system in Latah. It’s a big job and a new system probably won’t come cheap – not if it’s worth buying anyway. But in the end, you’ll be better off replacing your heat pump sooner rather than later if you start noticing signs that it may be on its way out.

So what are these signs? Well, they’re actually pretty easy to recognize if you know what to look for. For instance, if your heat pump is suddenly making more noise than it used to, there’s a good chance that something’s going wrong inside. This may only require a minor repair, but if minor repairs like this become a regular occurrence, you should start seriously thinking about looking around for a new system.

The cost of even minor repairs will certainly add up quickly over time, and you’ll have to seriously think about whether it makes financial sense to continue to repair an older system rather than simply replacing it with a new one. Chances are that you’ll have to invest in a new one anyway, and the sooner you do it, the less you’ll have paid for repairs to a system you were just going to get rid of anyway.

Also, if you’re starting to notice humidity problems in your home or if some parts of your house are being kept warmer than others, it may very well be a sign that you heat pump isn’t working like it should. Again, this can sometimes be rectified with repair work, but especially if your heat pump is 10 years old or more, it probably makes more sense to replace it.

Another item to keep an eye on when you’re worried about how well your heat pump is working is your monthly energy bill. If you notice a sudden or even a gradual but steady increase over time that you know isn’t a result of an increase in energy prices in your area, you should suspect that your heat pump isn’t working like it should.

Even if it’s still keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, the fact that your heat pump is using more energy to do it is a sign that there’s something wrong with your system. Plus, newer systems are generally more energy efficient anyway, so you’ll be making up for the initial investment of purchasing a new system when you start paying even less on your monthly energy bills.

Energy Efficient Home Cooling Tips From Otis Orchards

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Having an energy efficient air conditioning system in place is a great way to keep cool in the summer for less in Otis Orchards. But that is far from the only thing you can do to help reduce your energy bills throughout the hottest months of the year. In fact, there are several simple steps you can take to start cutting down on your cooling costs right now and lighten the cooling load that your air conditioning system has to bear.

One of the main things to remember when you are trying to keep your house cool is that every door and window is potentially letting in warmer air from outside and letting the cooler indoor air escape. You can cut down on this considerably if you simply take the time to seal up these access points and any others you are able to find.

Putting up plastic over unused doors and windows and checking all areas of the house for drafts and adequate insulation will dramatically reduce the cost of keeping your house cool in the summer. Also, you can keep the sun from warming up your indoor air by drawing the blinds, particularly on those windows that let in the hot afternoon sun.

Putting up light colored siding and reflective roofing will also do a great deal to keep your overall cooling costs down. That is because these materials are able to direct the heat of the sun away from your house rather than letting it be absorbed so that it can heat up the inside. The vast majority of the heat that your air conditioning system has to remove from your house comes in through your roof and walls, so blocking this access point is extremely helpful in keeping your overall cooling costs down.

All of these are steps you can take to reduce the total cooling load that your air conditioning system has to deal with. But if you want your system to continue to function at peak energy efficiency, you will have to take care of it as well.

This typically means having someone come in once a year to perform a thorough maintenance on your air conditioning system and to clean out any debris that may have accumulated over time. Having this done will make it possible for your air conditioner to continue to function at the highest possible levels of energy efficiency for years to come.

What Is New in Air Conditioning?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

There are developments being made in air conditioning just about every day. This is a huge business, and so manufacturers are constantly trying to outdo each other as it is their only way to compete for customers. What this means for you as a consumer is that you will always have an excellent selection of products from which to choose.

Energy efficiency is one of the main selling points for any air conditioning system. For that reason, manufacturers are constantly working to come up with new and better models. The most advanced air conditioning systems on the market have energy efficiency ratings that by far surpass what was available even ten years ago and it is only going to keep getting better.

Another type of air conditioning system that is relatively new but is rapidly gaining in popularity is the ductless mini-split system. These and other compact air conditioners are popular because they can be installed virtually anywhere and do not take up much space. They also do not require the duct system that many other central air conditioners do.

In this way, ductless mini-splits combine the best of central air conditioning and more conventional window or wall mounted units. They keep individual rooms of your house cool and comfortable and can be controlled independently of one another, but they are also very quiet and energy efficient. In fact, ductless mini-splits are among some of the most energy efficient options available in the air conditioning world today.

For many years, enjoying the comfort that air conditioning provides has meant putting up with the noise of the compressor as well. Now, however, you can get the best of both worlds. Many air conditioning companies, in response to customer requests, have been working to curtail the noise and vibrations that air conditioners make.

This has affected models all up and down the line. Whether it is a window mounted unit you are after or a large central air conditioning system, you can rest assured that the model you buy today will be much quieter and produce a great deal fewer vibrations than your old system.

This is not only good news for you. It can also help to make your relationship with your neighbors a bit friendlier. The outside component of most air conditioning systems is usually where all the noise and vibrations come from anyway, and so your neighbors are likely to hear and feel it as well.