ACI Northwest Blog: Archive for January, 2014

Things to Expect from a New Heater

Monday, January 27th, 2014

We hope that you have had a pleasant and safe winter so far here in Washington State. But if your current heater hasn’t been living up to its former standards, and the winter has been a chillier one for you than usual, perhaps the time has come to toss out the old and welcome the new with heating installation in Spokane, WA.

ACI Northwest has Spokane heating installation technicians ready to assist you with installing a new heater for the rest of the winter season. Here are few things you should expect once we have set up your new heating system:

  • Popping/rumbling sounds from the ducts: Odd sounds from your heater are usually a sign of trouble. However, one sound you should expect when you first turn on your heater if it uses ductwork is a popping or rumbling noise that sounds like shaking metal. This is from the metal of the ducts, expanding and adjusting to the sudden first increase in temperature. Only worry about it if it persists.
  • A decrease in your energy bills: If this is the first new heating system you have gotten in many years, you can expect to see lower energy bills—and that will certainly make you feel even better about your investment. Home heating energy efficiency has increased immensely in only a decade, so your new heating system will have improved performance over your last one. In addition, your previous heater probably lost much of its efficiency near the end of its service.
  • Quieter operation: Another advance in heating technology over the years is the decrease of operating noise through more efficient engines and better sound-proofing on the cabinets. Don’t worry if you can hardly hear your new heating system operating—that’s exactly how it should sound.
  • Better thermostat controls: New heater installation should go hand-in-hand with new thermostat installation. A programmable thermostat will give you increased control over the heat in your home, and wireless models are even better.

You will only get the full benefits of your new heater if you have it installed professionally. Amateur installation frequently leads to malfunctions, poor heating, and full breakdowns. Let the experts take on this complex task and have it done for you fast and properly. At ACI Northwest, our expertise means we will get your heating installation in Spokane, WA done right the first time. You’ll have many years of trouble-free comfort ahead of you with ACI Northwest behind you.

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How Air Handlers Fit into Your Heating System

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The most common type of heating systems found in homes are “forced-air” systems. These include furnaces and all the varieties of heat pumps (air-source, geothermal, ductless). Forced-air systems use the distribution of heated air sent into your home to provide you with comfort.

A key component for a forced-air system to work is a device that, well, forces the air to move. These components are called air handlers, and we’ll explain in a bit more detail how they fit into your heating system.

For your heating system installation in Spokane, WA, contact a company with decades of experience and a solid reputation: ACI Northwest.

Air Handler Basics

Although one of the prime functions of an air handler is to send out conditioned air into a ventilation system (or straight into a room if it is a ductless system), they are far more complex than just a box with a fan. A standard air handler houses a blower motor and fan, filters, dampers, and (for heat pumps) heating and cooling elements. They can also contain extra options, depending on the system to which they are hooked. Some air handlers contain a heat recovery device that increases energy efficiency, and others can contain humidifiers, which help to alleviate the dryness that often comes from heating a home.

For a furnace or a standard heat pump, a heating system will have one large air handler connected to the cabinet of the system. For ductless mini split heat pumps, a series of smaller “terminal units” are positioned throughout the house, and usually contain a smaller number of components—enough to allow them to condition and send out the required amount of heating. These terminal units are linked back to the cabinet through refrigerant and power lines.

Professionals Must Install Air Handlers

An air handler is an essential part of a team, an important component in a larger system that can include ducts, venting, burners, motors, air filters, etc. In order for an air handler to correctly perform its job, it must have installation from professionals with the training to correctly connect it to the distribution system and the heating cabinet. This is not work to trust to amateurs.

ACI Northwest carries the top brands of air handlers, and we have extensive experience with heating system installation in Spokane, WA as well as repairs and maintenance to take care of the air handler that is taking care of you.

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What Are My Spokane Heating Options?

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Keeping your Spokane house warm during the winter is both easier and more complex because of today’s home comfort technology. It’s easier because you have more options to fit your needs, and they supply better comfort than older heaters. It’s more complex because—well, the more choices you have, the more difficult it is to make a choice.

To help you navigated the rocks and shoals of heating systems in Spokane, WA, we’ve put together a list of your main options for heating systems. ACI Northwest can install all of these, so give us a call for help in making the decision for your new heater installation.


Furnaces heat air and then distribute it through a ventilation system. Furnaces have the advantage of flexibility—they can use a variety of different fuels—and heating power. Furnaces reach high temperatures and are capable of combating the strongest winter cold. On the downside, furnaces can be costly to run (especially electric furnaces) and require more repairs than some other systems.

Heat pumps

The big plus of heat pumps is that they work as both heaters and air conditioners. They also use a small amount of energy to run and can provide large savings in heating bills. However, heat pumps sometimes struggle with providing sufficient heating during heavy cold weather.


Boiler use hot water to heat up a house, and therefore do not require any ductwork to operate. They provide cleaner heat than systems that use ducts (which can get dusty), operate quietly, and have long lifespans with few repairs. They do not heat up homes as fast as furnaces, however, and damage from water leaking can be a problem.


These systems are essentially heat pumps that use the natural heat of the earth as their exchange medium. Geothermal is incredibly efficient, safe, and beneficial for the environment. However, the installation process is extensive and often expensive, and not every property will benefit from geothermal.

If you still feel confused about the best heating for your home, don’t worry: you should have experts involved from early in the process to help you make the best decision. ACI Northwest can examine your home and perform a heat load calculation to determine what your best options are. Once we’ve done that, we’ll make sure you receive a great installation for your heating in Spokane, WA. We have more than 85 years of experience to put to work for you.

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Signs That You Need to Call for Heating Repairs

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Protecting your heating system during the winter is important to make sure the season is enjoyable and not a chore to slog through. No matter how new, durable, or well-maintained your heating system is, it can still malfunction and require repairs to get it back to providing your home with warmth. Furnaces, boilers, heat pump, and geothermal systems can all need professional repairs.

Fortunately, no matter what trouble you have with your heating system in Coeur d’Alene, WA, you can access help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from ACI Northwest. Don’t hesitate to make the call if you encounter any of these signs that heating repairs may be necessary:

Strange, unexpected noises

If you’ve lived for at least a year with your heating system, you will know the sorts of sounds it makes during regular operation. An interruption to this sound routine often indicates a repair need. A rumbling boiler; a groaning furnace; a loudly clicking heat pump. Since these odd noises can come from a number of different sources, call for professionals to diagnose the issue and find the best way to repair it.

Spikes in your heating bills

A heating system can begin to malfunction without showing any outward signs that anything is amiss: you’ll still get the same level of heat you expect. However, these malfunctions will make the heater work harder to provide this regular service—and this will show up on your power bills. Pay close attention to your bills so that a sudden leap will warn you when you need to call in professional heating repair.

Uneven heating

If you heater was properly sized during installation (and if you relied professional, licensed installers, it should be), then you can expect it to spread the warmth evenly through the rooms of your home. If you begin to discover cold rooms while the heater is running, it often means trouble developing in the ducts, the heating elements, the refrigerant coils, or the zone control thermostats. Call for help to find out what’s behind the poor heating.

The complexity of modern heating systems makes them difficult for amateurs to investigate (and occasionally dangerous). It’s often impossible to guess what is ailing a heater, so turn to licensed and trained experts from a company like ACI Northwest for your repairs. We work on many types and brands of heaters, and we can assist you with your heating in Coeur d’Alene, WA this winter.

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