ACI Northwest Blog : Archive for June, 2013

How Does Air Conditioning Affect Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Is your home hot, stuffy, and uncomfortable? Do you have contaminants circulating throughout the air in your home? While many homeowners enjoy cool air flowing throughout their homes, some are unaware that cool air does not alone give them home comfort. Much of the comfort of the home depends on the relative humidity inside the house, as well as the levels of dust, dander, mold spores, pollen, and other contaminants moving around. To stay comfortable during the summer, as well as year-round, consider integrating an indoor air quality device with your existing HVAC system. In today’s post, we’d like to look at the relation between air conditioning and indoor air quality. Call ACI Northwest today for comprehensive air conditioning services in Spokane, WA.

While your air conditioner has an air filter, it is not intended for the purpose of those inside the house. Rather, the air filter is there to protect the equipment from accumulating excessive debris, and only has the side effect of removing some particles from the air that you breathe. Keeping the air filter clean is part of your duties as a homeowner (check it about once a month during the cooling season), but in order to reap the benefits of filtered air throughout the home, you may need something more comprehensive, such as a mechanical air filter, or an electronic air cleaner. Another important aspect is relative humidity. A whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier can give you another way to optimize your home comfort.

Ventilation is incredibly important, but the design of the modern home favors energy efficiency over the circulation of fresh air throughout the home. Homes with central air or a heat pump can often experience stale air that requires ventilation. Although fresh air is critical to your health and comfort, you probably want to avoid letting your conditioned airflow out of the window to keep energy costs low. When professionally installed, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) gives you excellent ventilation while reducing the energy inefficiency associated with fresh air coming into the home.

Call the air conditioning technicians at ACI Northwest today to learn more about our services.

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Common Air Conditioning Electrical Problems

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Does your AC fail to start up on cue? Do you find that your AC works only intermittently? If you have a problem with your air conditioner’s electrical system, the result can be a serious lack of cooling as well as high energy bills. It’s important that you take care of any such problems immediately so that they do not continue to disrupt your home comfort. Moreover, neglecting them can allow them to fester and can result in major repairs. There are some common air conditioning electrical problems worth keeping an eye out for. Call ACI Northwest today if you suspect that you might need professional air conditioning services in Hayden, ID.

  • AC won’t turn on. This can be truly disconcerting if it happens to you during the peak summer heat. There are numerous reasons why your AC fails to start, but it could be electrical. Before calling for professional help. Make sure to check your circuit breaker or fuse box to see if your AC hasn’t tripped a circuit or blown a fuse. Alternatively, make sure that your thermostat is working properly and calling for cool air.
  • AC won’t turn off. While you may never want your AC to turn off during the cooling season, it should by no means run continuously without stopping. If your AC fails to turn off even though it has apparently reached the designed temperature setpoint, then there could be a problem with the control board, or the thermostat. This may be driving up your energy costs and can cause your compressor to overheat.
  • Intermittent start-up. If it seems as though your AC lacks the reliability and consistency of starting up every time you need it to, there could be a problem with the capacitor. This small device is responsible for making sure that your AC has enough voltage to power up immediately, without hesitation. But if it is beginning to fail, then you may have intermittent start-up.

Get in touch with a friendly Hayden, ID air conditioning specialist at ACI Northwest immediately if you think your AC has an electrical problem. Call us today.

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How to Cool Your Home with Geothermal Air Conditioning

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

We all want to stay cool in our homes and we want our air conditioners to work as efficiently as possible. One of the most efficient AC systems on the market is geothermal air conditioning systems. These types of systems use the free and endless energy of the earth to provide cooling to your home. The air conditioning professionals at ACI Northwest have years of experience working on all different kinds of geothermal systems. We know that homeowners are looking for any way to reduce their energy usage and we wanted to share with you how geothermal systems are able to do that in an efficient and environmentally friendly way.

Types of Geothermal Systems

There are a few different types of geothermal systems available on the market. But the general idea behind them is that they are heat pumps: they move heat from one area to another. Their major differences are where the move that heat to.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Probably the most common geothermal air conditioning systems are ground-source. If you dig down about 10 feet into the ground the temperature there is around 55° F—and it stays that temperature all year long. Ground source heat pumps use that consistent temperature to provide cooling to your home. However, in order to take advantage of that temperature, ground-source heat pumps need to have a lot of space available for the installation of a long series of coils. The coils are filled with refrigerant which is what actually carries the heat from your home into the ground. The Spokane air conditioning professionals at ACI Northwest offer fast and accurate installation services for homeowners that are interested in this type of system.

Water Source Heat Pumps

Water source heat pumps operate in a similar fashion to ground-source heat pumps. But as their name implies, they use a body of water to provide cooling. This means that as a homeowner you will need to have consistent access to a body of water like a stream, pond or lake. Water source heat pump coils are submerged in the body of water where the refrigerant will be able to deposit heat from your home. If you would like to learn more about geothermal systems just call the Spokane air conditioning installation experts at ACI Northwest.

Here at ACI Northwest, we know that you’re looking to stay comfortable in your home and use as little energy as possible. Geothermal air conditioning systems are a great option for homeowners that have the capacity for them.

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How to Install a New Electric Water Heater

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Has your water heater tank simply become a water tank? If you need to install a new electric water heater on the fly, don’t panic. Even if you just need to replace an old tank, the process of getting a new water heater tank installed isn’t as difficult or draining as you may believe. Let’s discuss how to remove your old tank and install your new water heater.

Removing Your Old Heater

Before you can even think about installing a new heater, you have to dispose of the old tank. You probably aren’t looking forward to this, but luckily, a professional will have no issues removing your old water heater. By shutting the circuit off that powers your water heater, your service professional can drain the old heater tank, and open up the faucet for your hot water. This will allow air to enter the system and will drain tank rapidly.

Once drained, your handyman will remove the heater from its connections to your water pipes. While some heaters come with pipes which are connected with a removable and threaded fitting, others are not and will require a hacksaw to remove your pipes. Once they have undone your fittings or sawn your pipes, they will need to completely drain your pipes. At this point, feel free to take your old heater tank to your local recycling center.

Installing Your New Heater

With nothing but space to work with, you’re primed to install your new heater tank. Your technician will grab a dolly and carefully set your new tank next to the installation location. Then, they will place your tank near your piping to make it easier to connect them later.

Once your heater has been positioned in place, you’re ready for the hot and cold water connections. Most technicians will use flexible connectors – they’re easier to manipulate and make it much easier to connect when ready. You may need to a specialty fitting based upon the pipe which is fitted in your home, so make sure your technician knows what type of connection to grab ahead of time. No matter the material or pipe size, you will need to fit your heater tank with a cold water gate valve. This will be placed in your water pipe so as to prevent any debris from clogging your pipe.

If you have threaded pipes to attach to your heater tank, your service professional will use removable, threaded fitting atop your water lines – both hot and cold – and make sure to replace your old fittings. Next, they will install new nipples atop your tank, but the right nipple length will vary depending on the location of your fittings in regards to your water lines. So, if it seems like your technician is installing new nipples that are too small or too big, don’t worry; they know what they’re doing.

If you’re working with plastic piping, you’ll use transition fittings and place them between your pipes and the water heater threadings. It’s recommended that you use threaded steel nipples that are at least one foot long to connect between the water heater and transition fittings, as this will allow the heat to disperse more effectively. If your technician tries to use a shorter steel nipple, ask him about the nipples heat dispersion abilities compared to a longer alternative.

If you’re purchasing new piping, please take note that ABS, PE, and PVC plastic piping does not work with hot water, and these plastics will deteriorate, leaving you with another project to attend to when your pipes deteriorate.

Added Relief

Once your heater tank is securely in place, it’s equally important that your technician installs a temperature relief valve and another valve to release pressure in the tank. These relief systems will release heat and pressure from your system automatically once their respective indicators determine you’ve gone past their thresholds. After installing your plumbing for your new water heater, your technician will close the tank’s drain valve and turn open your cold water inlet valve – allowing your tank to fill with water. They will then turn open your hot water faucet to release any air remaining in the top of your tank, close the faucet, and inspect for leaks.

Powering Up

Now that your water heater and its system are installed properly, it’s time to connect the power to your tank. First, your technician needs to make certain that the wires that power your tank are the right size, while providing ample voltage and amperage to your heater. The electrical work involved is not an easy task that anyone can tackle. If you don’t have proper training or experience with electrical wiring, please do not attempt this on your own. You can cause serious damage to yourself and your home.

Lastly, turn on your circuit which powers your heater and make sure to inspect your electrical meter. If you see the dials spinning, this is a great indication that your heater is wired properly and that your technician completed a successful installation. Now, tell everyone in the family they can take a hot shower and enjoy hot water at every faucet in your home.

Rachael Jones is a blogger for DIYMother, where women aren’t afraid to use power tools in a dress.

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Electrical Tip: Why Use an Attic Fan?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

When the heat of summer really sets in, your home can heat up fast. No matter how hot it may get in your home, though, the rest of the house probably pales in comparison to the heat level in your attic. Heat rises naturally, so it only makes sense that your attic is going to be extremely hot during the summer months. The problem, though, is that this pent up heat in your attic can radiate throughout your home, driving up temperatures in other areas. With an attic fan installation from the electrical pros at ACI Northwest, you can help keep this problem to a minimum.

Attic fans are a great, effective way to reduce energy costs in your home. An attic fan uses a thermostat to monitor the temperature in your attic, and when the temperature exceeds the target temperature your attic fan will vent heat out of your home. This will help to reduce the risk of heat in your attic heating up the rest of your home, which will cause your air conditioning system to work harder in order to keep you cool and comfortable. The harder that your air conditioner has to work, the more energy it will consume and the more money it will cost to operate.

Additionally, an attic fan may actually be able to help prolong the life and protect the condition of your air conditioner. If your AC has to run with increased frequency due to heat radiating from your attic, it is possible that it will lead to increased wear and tear on your system. The more wear and tear that your air conditioner suffers, the more likely damage to your system becomes. This means that an attic fan can help reduce the risk of problems with your air conditioner that will require costly air conditioning repairs.

For more information about why you may want to consider an attic fan installation, contact the Spokane Electrical technicians at ACI Northwest. We have the answers you need to decide if an attic fan is right for you. Call now to speak with one of our attic fan technicians.

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