ACI Northwest Blog: Archive for March, 2014

3 Ways Attic Fans Benefit Your Household

Monday, March 31st, 2014

If you’ve ever ventured into your home’s attic during a warm summer day, you know that this shaded, enclosed spot can turn into an oven. Attics can reach 120°F easily on hot days, and this turns the region into a massive heat sink that will affect the rest of your home.

One way to protect your house from the extra heat is with proper attic insulation. But you can go a step further with installation of attic fans that equalize the temperature between the inside and the outside of the attic. These fans are also effective at decreasing the moisture that rises into the attic year-round from kitchens and showers.

If you are interested in attic fan installation, contact ACI Northwest and ask about our electrical services in Coeur d’Alene, WA.

3 benefits from attic fans

  1. Increased comfort and energy efficiency: The basic function of an attic fan is to reduce the temperature in the attic, and subsequently keep it from seeping down to heat up your home even more during hot weather. With the fans in operation, the attic averages 50 degrees cooler, and this translates to a drop of 10 degrees inside the rest of your home—a significant difference. You will end up using your air conditioner less during the summer to combat extra heat, and this means a reduction on your utility bills.
  2. Extended roof life: The high levels of heat and trapped moisture inside the attic will shorten the lifespan of your roof, which is one of the most expensive parts of a home to repair or replace. Water moisture that becomes trapped inside the roof will encourage the growth of damaging molds. When the temperature drops in winter, the moisture will freeze, expanding and causing cracking to roofing material. Attic fans pull down the temperature and dissipate the moisture that can ruin your roof.
  3. Storage protection: Most households use the attic as a storage place for items only needed a few times a year, or for valuable keepsakes and heirlooms. The intense heat inside an attic during the summer can cause damage to many of these items, especially if they are exposed to it year after year. Moisture will also cause severe harm, particularly to wood and precision objects such as musical instruments. Attic fans regulate these problems, making the attic a safer place to store your important possessions.

Attic fan installation is a large project, but with the right Coeur d’Alene electrical service contractor on the job, you should have no difficulties. ACI Northwest provides excellent attic fan installation, as well as any repairs you might need. Don’t suffer from unnecessary heat in your home this summer: call ACI Northwest today.

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Why Proper Thermostat Placement Is Crucial for Your Heating System

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The thermostat does more than control when your heater’s blower motors and heating elements turn on and off. It also monitors the temperature in your home using sensors and uses the information to guide its programming. This is the main reason why having the thermostat in the proper place is crucial for receiving the correct level of comfort in your home; poor placement will mean a heater than runs too often, runs too little, or runs erratically.

If you received a poor heating installation, you may have an improperly located thermostat. In most cases, the only solution is to call up a skilled Hayden, ID heating service technician to move it to a better location. ACI Northwest can assist your with thermostat problems when they begin to affect your heater’s performance.

Here are three incorrect thermostat locations:

WRONG: In a place with too much direct sunlight

If a thermostat sits in too much direct sunlight, it will sense a temperature on average 10°F higher than the room’s temperature, a “ghost reading.” This will lead to a heating system failing to turn on when it should.

WRONG: Near to windows and doors that open to the outside

If a thermostat is near any spot that can receive outdoor drafts, it will register temperatures lower than the room’s actual temperature. This ghost reading will have the opposite effect of the sunlight problem: it will cause the heating to come on before it should, resulting in a stuffy, uncomfortable environment.

WRONG: Located too far from the center of the house

You want a thermostat to register a median temperature for a home so it supplies the right amount of heat to create even warmth. A thermostat located too far from the center of the house will detect outlier temperatures that inaccurately reflect the general temperature, and this will result in uneven heating.

(USUALLY) RIGHT: Outside the master bedroom

This is one of the theoretically ideal spots to install a thermostat, since the master bedroom is usually located at the center of a house, and is not near to drafty doors and windows or direct sunlight. If the master bedroom isn’t ideal, it will at least offer a starting point for finding a good spot.

Re-locating a thermostat takes technicians skilled with heating and electrical wiring. Make sure that you find an experienced company like ACI Northwest to locate the best place to move your thermostat. We have a combined 85 years of experience bringing our customers optimal heating in Hayden, ID.

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Heat Pump Repairs to Plan for this Spring

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Because heat pumps provide your home with both heating and cooling, they run throughout much of the year. The only periods when you can expect your heat pump to go inactive are during the temperate stretches during the spring and fall.

We’re only a few weeks away from the official start of spring, and you’ll soon transition your heat pump from heating to cooling. This is the ideal time to take care of repairs that will help your heat pump manage the upcoming summer weather with few operating glitches and without excess energy drain. Here are a few heat pump repairs to schedule for the spring so you’re ready for when the real heat starts.

Call ACI Northwest to repair your heating system in Spokane, WA. We have over eight decades of experience with home comfort systems, and our NATE-certified technicians are ready when you need them.

Heat pump repairs to watch for this spring:

  • Refrigerant leaks – Don’t start the summer with a lowered refrigerant charge inside your heat pump! If you noticed icing along the coils of the outside unit during heating season, you probably have a lowered refrigerant charge from leaking in coils or the compressor. A drop in heating power can also indicate leaking. Remember, the refrigerant level affects the efficiency of both heating and cooling, so you need to have a technician fix the leak and recharge the refrigerant to its proper level so you’ll have the cooling you need for summer.
  • Broken reversing valve – If you’ve kept your heat pump in heating mode for a while, try this test: change it over briefly to cooling mode. If it doesn’t start blowing cool air but still blows warm air, then the reversing valve has probably broken. This valve is what allows the heat pump to change between its two modes. A repair technician can fix this by changing the broken valve for a new one.
  • Worn down motors or compressors – You should always pay attention to strange sounds coming from either the indoor or outdoor cabinet of your heat pump, since they usually warn of impending mechanical failures. Shrieking and groaning noises are often omens of motors or compressors wearing down because of stress, and if either of these malfunctions, the heat pump will either lose power or stop working entirely. Let repair technicians find where the trouble is and fix it.

Make sure you have maintenance performed as well

Spring is when you should schedule professional maintenance on your heat pump to prep it for the summer. If the system has any hidden repair needs, the technician will catch them and know how to fix them. The technician will also clean, adjust, and fine-tune the unit.

ACI Northwest has the maintenance plans and the repair knowledge to keep your cooling and heating in Spokane, WA running with as few issues as possible. To enjoy the upcoming summer in cool comfort, call ACI Northwest.

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How Air Handlers Work in Your Heating System

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

If you used a forced-air system to heat your home, such as a furnace or a heat pump, one of the essential components of the unit is the air handler. The air handler performs the crucial task of air distribution through the ventilation system and into the rooms of your house. Without the air handler, the heat from the burners or heating elements in the furnace, or the coils in the heat pump, would go nowhere and you would receive no comfort from your system.

Care and maintenance of an air handler is a major part of the job of heating repair technicians. Contemporary air handlers are too complex and intricate devices for amateur work. When you need repairs for the air handler to restore your heating in Coeur d’Alene, WA, you must call up experienced heating contractors. ACI Northwest has the training and years of experience to help you with any trouble you may have in your air handlers or any other part of your heater.

The operation of the air handler

The main component of an air handler unit is a large blower fan inside a durable casing connected to a blower fan motor. Some air handlers have variable speed motors that can run at lower power to reduce noise and to assist with even air distribution. The blower sends out air into the ventilation system; sometimes this is air from the outside or sometimes from the return vents that re-circulate air. Blower fans can sometimes require repairs if the blades become bent from debris that enters the air handler. A filter rack or filter chambers in the blower help keep dust and debris picked up from the re-circulated or outside air from entering into the ductwork. Sound attenuators help reduce the noise from the blower.

For heat pumps, air handlers also contain the coils necessary for conditioning the air in heating and cooling mode, making it not only essential for air distribution, but also for providing a comfortable temperature. (With a furnace, the air handler usually plays no role in generating heat.) For ductless mini split heat pumps, the air handlers are often referred to as terminal units, and contain fewer components: usually an air filter, coil, and blower.

Keep your air handler working

Because an air handler is a major mechanical part of your heating system, it needs regular maintenance and prompt repairs to make sure it does not wear down and threaten you with a loss of heat. Should you hear loud banging sounds from the air handler, or if the airflow from your vents drops, you should call for professional repairs as soon as you can.

ACI Northwest has many years of experience handling heating system services in Coeur d’Alene, WA. Contact us any time of the day or night when you need help.

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