ACI Northwest Blog : Archive for April, 2013

Electrical Home Improvement: On the Benefits of an Attic Fan

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

If you’ve ever had to retrieve an old box from the attic during the peak heat of the summer, then you know how hot it can get in the summer. Up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in some cases. You may think that this is ok, so long as you don’t have to live up there. Yet, a hot attic space can actually begin to impinge upon your cooling system and home comfort unless you take action. The radiant energy of the sun is powerful, and as your roofing heats up, so does the rest of your home, even with attic insulation. So if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to improve your air conditioning performance and efficiency, then consider an attic fan. In this post, we’d like to review some of the potential benefits. For more information about Spokane, WA electrical services, call ACI Northwest today!

An attic fan works by ventilating the hot air outside and bringing the cooler air inside. They work best in combination with adequate insulation and ventilation. If air can freely move from your home into your attic without having to pass through a thermal barrier, then it may actually be counter-productive.  Speak to your electrician about whether an attic fan works for your home. Let’s review some of their benefits.

  • Reduce heat in the home. Ventilation is an important passive cooling tactic for the entire home, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. A professionally installed attic fan can reduce stifling temperatures in the attic to just over the ambient outdoor temperature. This can be a dramatic temperature reduction, sometimes up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Decrease need for cooling. Your air conditioning system works hard during the dog days of summer to keep your home full of crisp, cool air. An attic fan can help to reduce the amount of cooling it needs, and therefore the amount of energy it uses.

To learn more about attic fans and what they can do for your home, speak to a local professional. Call ACI Northwest for excellent electrical services.

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Electrical Tip: Benefits of Whole Home Surge Protection

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

We rely on electricity now more than ever before. We need it to eat fresh food, to listen to music, to watch our favorite movies, to check our email, and to keep ourselves clean. While mostly invisible and hidden within our walls, our electrical system is increasingly important to our well-being and the comfort of our home. It’s no wonder, then, that many homeowners are looking to protect their appliances and electronic equipment with whole home surge protection. While small portable strips come in handy sometimes, they do little to protect the whole home. In this post, we’d like to share with you some benefits of whole home surge protection. For more information, or to schedule Hayden, ID electrical services, call ACI Northwest today!

  • Comprehensiveness. Because the whole home surge protection device is installed at the electrical panel, it protects not just one receptacle, or even one room, but every receptacle and wired appliance in the home. This gives it a comprehensiveness unmatched by any portable unit. While many of us use portable units to protect our computers or expensive stereo equipment from surges causes by storms or circuit imbalances within our home, only comprehensive whole home surge protection covers appliances that are directly wired and do not use standard receptacles, such as central air or a furnace.
  • Improved protection. Small power stripes cannot match the surge protection of a whole home system. Most surge damage comes not from catastrophic lightning damage close to the home, but from the slow deterioration of sensitive electronic equipment by small surges within the circuit of the home. When you use a high-powered appliance in one room, your stereo in another may be at risk of a surge, depending on the layout of your home, and the condition of the electrical system.
  • Convenience. Imagine having to use a portable surge protector on every single electrical receptacle in the home. Not only would it be tedious to ensure that every single one was working properly at all times, but it still would not provide your wired appliances with enough protection. The fact is that whole home surge protection is incredibly convenient. It allows you to feel good about plugging directly into your wall receptacles without having to deal with lots of visible and entangled wiring.

Contact ACI Northwest today to learn more about Hayden, ID electrical services, such as whole home surge protection.

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Electrical FAQ: What Type of Generator Should I Get?

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Making sure that your home is supported by an electrical generator in the event of a natural disaster is critical to your home safety and comfort. However, with today’s plethora of generator options, it can be difficult to figure out what type of system to install in your home. If you’ve already started to do a bit of research on this topic, then you may already know the importance of professional installation by a qualified Spokane electrician. In this post, the electrical experts at ACI Northwest would like to assist you with your new generator installation. Call us today!

Let’s take a look at your generator options:

  • Engine generator. This is the standard type of generator. It combines an electrical generation system with a mounted engine that runs on a fuel. Piston, hybrid diesel-gas, dual-fuel, and gas turbine engines are the available mechanical types, and they vary in size. On the one hand, you probably know or have used a small portable generator before. They are small, but come in handy in a pinch. Unfortunately, they often put our homes at risk of carbon monoxide if not properly used or ventilated.
  • Backup generator. This is the standard whole-home system. It allows you to restore power to your home by relying on a fuel supply. When you lose power, the backup generator is available so that you don’t have to let your food go to waste, or your home go cold or hot. You’ll be able to alleviate the effects of a power outage so that you can remain safe and comfortable.
  • Automatic standby generator. This is a comprehensive emergency power system that integrates directly with your utility power source to offer automatic standby for when your home loses power. Its main distinction is that it monitors and detects any drop in voltage between your utility supply and your electrical box. When it shuts off in the event of a storm or flooding, then your generator automatically switches on, giving you power. This type of system typically runs on natural gas or propane, and integrates directly with your fuel supply.

For comprehensive Spokane, WA electrical services, call ACI Northwest today!

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Furnace FAQ: How does a furnace Qualify as an Energy Star Furnace?

Monday, April 8th, 2013

You rely on your furnace to provide warmth and comfort throughout the heating season. Whether you’re in the market for a new furnace or furnace replacement, or are just curious, you probably have come across the Energy Star rating system. If a furnace has the Energy Star logo somewhere on its surface, then it meets the energy efficiency standards as determined by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of Energy Star is to reduce the impact of our heating and cooling systems on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While it seems like a good thing (and it is), you might also be wondering how your furnace qualifies as an Energy Star furnace. In this post, we’d like to explain the rating. For a furnace service, call ACI Northwest today!

While different residential furnace efficiency standards exist throughout the country, the current standard for Energy Star furnaces in the Spokane area is 95% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). This percentage measures the amount of heating output against the amount of energy input over the course of an entire year. It is the standard measurement for most heating systems. Energy Star gas furnaces must possess this standard (or higher), although oil-based furnaces currently require only 85% AFUE to be rated.

The EPA chooses products according to several principles. For example, qualifying furnaces must not only be energy efficient, but must also fulfil the consumer demand for performance and features. Thus, it is not energy efficiency for its own sake, but in order to make sure that performance and efficiency go hand-in-hand. Moreover, the Energy Star program believes that product testing is an important part of sustaining environmentally friendly manufacturing, and that the technology behind energy efficiency should be widely available and non-proprietary. The labelling system is intended to create easy targets for energy-conscious consumers. The purpose of Energy Star is to promote the production of energy-efficient products.

If you’re in the market for a new furnace, consider selecting an Energy Star rated furnace, so you know it will perform efficiently and effectively for years to come. For heating service, call the experts at ACI Northwest today!

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Heating FAQ: Should I Get Heating Maintenance Before Switching to AC?

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Even for those of us that like the cold weather, the end of the heating season is usually a welcome change of pace. Before you switch over to running your air conditioning system, though, you should give some serious thought to scheduling routine heating maintenance. While it may seem counter-intuitive to schedule heating maintenance at the end of the Spokane heating season, it can actually help you protect your comfort come the start of the next one. If you have any questions about end-of-the-season heating maintenance, contact the heating professionals at ACI Northwest. Our Spokane heating technicians have the knowledge and experience to answer any questions you may have.

It should be fairly obvious that most of the strain put on your heating system is during the heating season. If you had just run a marathon, you would probably make a point of stretching and hydrating, right? Over the course of the heating season it is likely that your home heating system has incurred some damage. If you simply shut it down for the last time and allow it to sit there, untouched, throughout the entire cooling season, then there is a good chance it will have some issues when the time comes to power it up again. Any strange noises, operational issues or wear and tear are not going to simply be resolved by giving the system a rest.

Plus, there is a very practical matter to consider here. Come the end of the heating season, your maintenance and heating repair provider is much less likely to be booked up than when the cold is starting to get in again. Schedule routine heating maintenance, have your system thoroughly inspected and tuned up, and reduce the risk of an unpleasant surprise at the start of the next heating season.

For more information about heating maintenance, contact the Spokane heating pros at ACI Northwest. We can be trusted with your comfort. Our technicians are highly skilled and extensively trained to ensure that you are able to keep your home warm and comfortable with consistency throughout the heating season. Contact ACI Northwest today!

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