ACI Northwest Blog: Archive for April, 2014

Should I Install a New Air Conditioning System?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

If you have considered replacing your current air conditioning system during the last year, then the approaching summer should make the decision feel more urgent. Spring is a good time to have a new system installed: you can beat out the heat as well as have time to discover any malfunctions with the new air conditioner. Plus, installers have less busy schedules between winter and summer.

So… it’s time to get down to brass tacks and answer the question: Should you install a new air conditioning system?

Wait, wait, don’t panic… this isn’t a choice you need to make on your own. You can find professional assistance in Spokane, WA for air conditioning services from the skilled team at ACI Northwest. With more than 85 years of experience, we can zero in on the troubles with your current air conditioner and help you decide if the time has come to replace it.

Some Air Conditioning Replacement Considerations

  • System age: Central air conditioners have estimated lifespans between 10 to 15 years, depending on the model. Some can last longer than this if they receive regular maintenance. However, any air conditioner over 15 years is at high risk for becoming inefficient. If your air conditioner is this old, any sign of malfunction should warn you that it’s time to schedule new installation.
  • Repair costs: Air conditioners (as well as heaters) require the most amount of repairs during their last two years of operation. As your AC starts to rack up repairs in order to keep running, it’s usually a sign that The End Is Nigh. Here’s a simple metric to help: if you need to spend $500 per year on repairs for your air conditioning to keep it operational, than you are better off replacing it.
  • Better options are available: During the time your current air conditioner has cooled down your house, the technology of ACs has made major leaps. New air conditioners have superior efficiency to the ones manufactured only 10 years ago. Other advances include features like increased humidity control, better sound insulators, and more durable construction material. Even if your aging air conditioning system seems to work without major malfunctions, maybe it’s time to take advantage of new technology for superior comfort and energy efficiency.

Installation of a new central AC is a large job, but if you place the work in the hands of trained professionals, it will go smoothly and you will end up with the ideal new system keeping you cool. If you are ready to make the choice in time for summer, contact ACI Northwest and speak to our specialists in air conditioning in Spokane, WA today.

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These Signs May Warn That You Need Whole-House Surge Protection

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Power surge. When you hear these two words, what first comes to mind? A lightning strike, a downed power line, massive wind gusts… these are what most people associate with a sudden burst of electrical energy into a home that causes the power to go out and deals unfortunate damage to computer hard drives. (You didn’t save that novel you’ve worked on for three years in only one place, did you?)

However, power surges also come in smaller sizes, and these types are much more common. They often happen when a large appliance, like a refrigerator or an air conditioner, suddenly makes a large demand on the power supply. Standard power strips that protect computers and high-end equipment do little good against these pulses that run through your electrical system. Although less noticeable than major surges, the cumulative effect of the smaller surges can cause injury to your appliances. To defend against power surges, you’ll need a whole-house surge protector installed.

For this service, and for all types of electrical repairs in Spokane, WA, call ACI Northwest today.

Watch for these indicators that you need a whole-house surge protector

  • Flickering lights: If your lights occasional dim and flicker, usually when you hear a large appliance turn on, then the demands along the power lines are triggering surges. This visual sign is a strong warning that damage is already occurring around your house because of the surges.
  • Constantly tripped circuit breakers: If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows because you plugged in a powerful device, than you know the cause of the problem. But if breakers continue to trip for no obvious reason, then it’s probably the fault of multiple small power surges. (You might also have an outdated fuse box or circuit breaker panel.)
  • Charred or discolored outlets: Call for repairs immediately if you see any indication of fire damage on one of the outlets. Power surges are probably at fault, but you need to have an electrician check the safety of the wiring. While the electrician is there, ask about whole-house surge protection installation.

You shouldn’t toss out your local power strips when you decide to go with whole-house surge protection; they will still serve a purpose as an extra layer of defense. And you should have all the defense you can to protect your home from the damage these electrical pulses can cause.

You will need the work of professional electricians to find a whole-house surge protector that meets your home’s needs and keeps you safe. Call ACI Northwest and talk to our experts in electrical repair service in Spokane, WA today to get started.

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Experiencing One of These Common Heater Problems?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Heaters are an indispensable part of life in the Pacific Northwest. With our chilly winters and constant cloud cover, we rely heavily on heating units of all varieties to keep our homes comfortable and warm. A good heater can last you for many years, but like all appliances, it will need repairs from time to time. Here in Spokane, WA, heating service companies can usually correct the problems for you. Are you experiencing one of the common heater problems in Spokane? Don’t hesitate to call upon an expert.

Most heater problems boil down to one of three basic issues:

  1. The air isn’t blowing, or is blowing with insufficient speed. This is often caused by a blockage in the ducts or lines somewhere, though it also crops up if the fan or the fan motor is experiencing problems. It’s troublesome because it forces your heater to work harder and longer to do its job. Not only do you need to wait for a longer period of time for your home to warm up, but it will cost you more in monthly heating bills in the bargain.
  2.  The air is blowing, but there’s no heat. A lack of heat often means a problem with the burners, such as a clog or more substantial damage. It could also mean trouble with the blower or a breach in the ducts that pulls the heated air out. Again, the end result is the same: less heat means the heater must work harder, costing you more money with fewer overall results.
  3. Bills are going up. Sometimes, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong overtly, but a faulty component or general wear and tear will force the heater to work harder. That costs you money unnecessarily, as well as increasing further strain on the heater and making future repairs increasingly likely. If your heating bills are going up for no apparent reason, that’s usually cause for concern.

If you’re experiencing one of the common heater problems, call on ACI Northwest to help. Fast and effective heating services in Spokane, WA if one of our specialties, and we’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction at every step. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Why Would You Consider Installing a Geothermal Heating System?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Geothermal systems require extensive installation work and a solid parcel of land for their underground coils in order for them to operate properly. They also cost more to install than other heating systems like furnaces, air-source heat pumps, and boilers. So why would you put geothermal on your shopping list for home heating system in Coeur d’Alene, WA?

We can think of a few reasons that might sway you toward using the power of the earth to heat your home (and cool it). To find out more about installing a geothermal heat pump for your home, talk to our geothermal specialists at ACI Northwest. We offer a written unconditional one-year money-back satisfaction guarantee on all our residential installations.

Reasons to have a geothermal heat pump installed

  • Energy savings: Although installing a geothermal heat pump (a.k.a. a “ground source heat pump”) does cost more than other home comfort systems, their high energy-efficiency from using the earth’s natural heat means they will pay back their installation costs in a period of 5–10 years… and after that, it’s all savings.
  • Longevity: To help with those energy savings, geothermal systems have extremely long lifespans. The indoor heat pump unit will usually last 20+ years, while the coils—the most expensive part of installation—can last more than 50! A geothermal heat pump is a long-term investment in comfort and efficiency.
  • Reliability: Air-source heat pumps have one major drawback, which is that they will lose heating efficiency as the air temperature outdoors drops below freezing. Ground-source heat pumps never have to worry about this, since the temperature in the earth 6–10 feet below the surface remains stable around 55°F regardless of the temperature above ground. The geothermal system will also have ample heat to draw on for heat exchange.
  • Help the environment: Geothermal systems have reduced emissions, so they will not cause extra damage to the environment because of ozone-depleting or global warming gases.

Find out if geothermal will work for your home

Before you get too excited about having a geothermal system installed for your home, you need to know if your house and property will allow a geothermal heat pump to work. Hard rock ground, for example, makes it impossible to put in the underground loops. It will probably turn out that if you won’t benefit from a geothermal system, there is another option that’s ideal. Call a heating and cooling professional for an opinion.

ACI Northwest has more than 85 years of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining heating in Coeur d’Alene, WA. Give us a call when you want to find out if geothermal is the best option for your home comfort.

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