ACI Northwest Blog : Archive for January, 2015

Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The electrical power flowing into your home from the main electrical line is controlled by your electrical panel.

Like a dam controls water dispersal, so, too, does your electrical panel, by using a system of pre-set circuit breakers that are equipped to distribute a specific amount of power to the various systems of your home.

As such, the electrical panel has a maximum limit to the amount of power it will provide to your home. This means that should you need to draw more power, you will most likely have to upgrade your electrical panel.

Any work involving the electrical system of your home in Coeur d’Alene should always be handled by an electrical services professional, and the experts at ACI Northwest have the training and certification necessary to handle any kind of electrical services you may need.

Reasons to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

Here are some reasons it’s important to upgrade your electrical panel:

  • You keep tripping breakers – if you keep tripping circuit breakers every time you have more than one major appliance operating, this is a good sign that you are drawing too much power from your electrical box.
  • You’ve expanded your home – your home’s electrical box was wired to accommodate the electrical power it needed when you purchased it; if you have expanded your home, your electrical panel should expand with it.
  • The panel has low amperage – the average household electrical draw per circuit is typically between 120 to 240 volts; if you don’t have enough amperage to support your systems, your panel should be upgraded as soon as possible.
  • You’re adding a major appliance or system – if you are adding a major appliance, such as a dryer, or a new whole-home system like air conditioning, your electrical panel has to be able to handle the power load.

Browning, dimming, flickering and tripping circuits are all signs that there may be a problem with your home’s electrical panel.

Don’t wait until a serious problem develops – call ACI Northwest and schedule an appointment for electrical services in your Coeur d’Alene home today.

Continue Reading

What Is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Have you ever wished you could give your heating system a boost without having to supplement it with a fireplace or woodstove?

If so, you may want to consider the installation of a heat recovery ventilator. Not only does this device help with heating, it also helps improve your home’s ventilation. Installation of a heat recovery ventilator should only be handled by a professional heating services company in Spokane, so call the people you can count on: ACI Northwest.

How It Works

A heat recovery ventilator is a pretty ingenious little device. What an HRV does is apply the thermal energy from your outgoing, stale, heated air to incoming fresh air. Applying this thermal energy to incoming fresh air pre-treats the new air, making it warmer while also keeping it fresh. The process is simple: the HRV exhausts your used indoor air to the outside, but the air doesn’t head straight outdoors; it goes through the core of the HRV, which contains a heat exchanger.

Inside the core of the HRV, the incoming fresh air stream and outgoing stale air stream exchange in the core, and the heat energy from the outgoing air is applied to the incoming fresh air. This pre-treated air then moves directly into your HVAC system, where it is warmed further and dispersed to your living spaces. The HRV is installed as part of your heating system, so the addition is seamless.

Benefit of an HRV

There are several benefits to installing an HRV that are worth considering:

  • Energy efficiency – the pre-treating action of the incoming air helps boost energy efficiency because it takes some of the work load off your heating system to do so.
  • Continuous fresh air – with an HRV, you won’t have to worry about poor ventilation as fresh air will come into your home continuously.
  • Less stress on your heating system – your heating system won’t have to work as hard to heat your home, which reduces the stress and wear and tear.
  • Increase comfort – the HRV helps balance the humidity level in your home and provides more even heating.

If you’ve been looking for a way to improve the energy efficiency of your heating system, call ACI Northwest and speak to one of our heating services experts in Spokane.

Continue Reading

Why It’s Important to Hire Professionals for Electrical Work

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Electricity is a huge part of our day-to-day lives. As we become more and more integrated with our technology, that role is only going to get larger.

This increasing dependence on electricity is reflected in the home, as well, with an increasing number of electrical appliances being installed. It may be tempting to a lot of people to attempt some of this installation and maintenance on their own. Many of us have an urge to try our own electrical work, in an effort to save money and become more self-sufficient. While this drive to learn new skills is admirable, it really should not be practiced on something like your home’s electrical system.

Read on to find out why it’s important to hire professionals for electrical work.

Safety

Above all else, hiring a professional electrician keeps you safe. There is an incredible amount of power running through the average home’s electrical grid, and one wrong move can result in severe injuries, death or fire. The savings you would get from trying to do your own electrical work instead of hiring an electrician will never be worth the potential for injury or death. Be safe, and hire a professional electrician any time you need electrical work done.

Efficiency

The primary reason that people try to do their own electrical work is because they believe it will save them money. On the surface, this seems to be true. If you can wire your own outlet or ceiling fan, why bother spending money on a professional? The problem is that a lot of people who try to do their own electrical work don’t do it correctly, and end up causing more problems for themselves later on. Often, after fruitlessly trying to correct the mistake and making things worse, people have to call an electrician anyway to make things right. If you call an electrician the first time, instead of trying to do it yourself, you’re ensuring that the job is done right. This will save you a ton of hassle.

If you need a professional electrician, call ACI Northwest. We provide electrical repair services throughout Spokane, WA and Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Continue Reading

3 Reasons to Consider a Boiler

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Sometimes homeowners hear the word “boiler” for heating and think of an outdated, clunky old heating system; this simply isn’t true. A boiler may not use the latest technology to heat your home, but that’s because it doesn’t have to: the way a boiler heats is fairly simple and straightforward, so it doesn’t need to be the trendiest system around. The heating from a boiler system is gentle and radiant, which is very comfortable for a lot of people, and the long-time use of boilers means that it isn’t hard to find parts for repairs. If you are looking at installing a new heating system in Spokane, you may want to consider a boiler for some of the following reasons:

Reason #1: They are great systems for allergy sufferers.

Having allergies is no picnic, and they can be as frustrating during the winter as they are during the summer. Forced air systems can be very challenging for allergy sufferers because the blowing air kicks up dust every time the system turns on. With a boiler, there is no blowing air, so allergy sufferers don’t have to worry about constantly swirling dust every time the heat turns on.

Reason #2: They are durable, reliable systems.

Boilers were the first whole-home heating systems and they have endured as such because they are reliable, durable systems. While today’s boilers are far more efficient than ones from just 10 years ago, the way a boiler heats your home is the same.

Reason #3: They can be used in several ways.

Boilers can be used with hydronic radiant heating, radiators and baseboard heating. They can be used in houses that are 100 years old or brand new. The piping can be easily zoned and you can even mix the outlets to maximize on heating the different areas of your home.

You can also use different kinds of fuels for a boiler, including natural gas, propane, oil and even solid fuels. Think a boiler may be a good fit for your home? Call ACI Northwest today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts!

Continue Reading

When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at ACI Northwest hopes you have a wonderful 2015!

Continue Reading