ACI Northwest Blog : Archive for February, 2015

Common Causes of Boiler Repair

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Many homeowners and business owners prefer the comforting heat of their hydronic heating system (heating systems that circulate hot water from a boiler through a home) to the kind of heat you feel from a forced-air heating system like a furnace. Furnaces only heat up the air, while boilers have the ability to heat up an entire room, evenly distributing heat to the objects and people nearby using convective heat transfer.

Besides the all-around comfort a boiler delivers to a home, there are a couple of other benefits as well. Boilers do not contain many mechanical parts, meaning they may be more efficient than many other heating systems, and they should not break down very easily. If you own a boiler, you may be surprised when it does encounter trouble. The folks at ACI Northwest can diagnose the trouble and provide boiler repair in Post Falls, and we’ve put together a brief list of some of the most common boiler trouble.

  • Faulty Circulator Pump – The circulator pumps help to bring water to the rooms in your home, either circulating it through an endpoint like a radiator or through a set of pipes underneath your floorboards. Your circulator pump may run into mechanical trouble over time, and you may notice you don’t get enough heat in one or more rooms.
  • Broken Aquastat – The aquastat keeps the boiler tank from overheating, so it should shut off the system as soon as temperatures rise too high. Your system may shut off too soon if something is causing it to overheat, the aquastat is damaged, or if the temperature limit is set too low.
  • Oversized Unit – Unfortunately, sometimes the trouble with your boiler is beyond fixing. If you never seem to get enough heat in the home, it may be that the boiler is too small. But if the boiler is too large, it will use too much fuel, and will likely fail long before the end of its expected lifespan. Professional installation is key to having a unit that continues to live up to its potential.

Our trained technicians replace or repair faulty boiler parts to the best of their ability, ensuring that your boiler is in the best shape possible. Call ACI Northwest today for quality boiler repair in Post Falls.

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Common Home Electrical Problems

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Electrical problems have the potential to get really nasty no matter where they occur. They can be especially troubling, however, when they occur in your home. Not all electrical problems are equal, however. Some are fairly simple to fix, or not all that dangerous. Some, however, present a serious risk to your health and home. Let’s take a look at some of the more common electrical problems that homeowners deal with, and how to fix them.

Overlamping

This is a really common problem, which is also unique in that it is one of the only ones that is 100% user error. Overlamping is when a light socket has a bulb in it with a higher wattage than it can handle. Everyone has seen the warning signs on lightbulb sockets, stating what their maximum wattage is. Those warnings aren’t really guidelines so much as hard and fast safety rules. Overlamping can not only melt the socket, but the insulation in the wires leading to it. This is a huge fire risk, and not something you ever want to have to deal with. The solution for overlamping is simple: don’t use lightbulbs with higher wattage than the socket is rated for. If you don’t know what the socket is rated for, ask an electrician, just to be safe.

Flickering Lights

Another common problem, flickering lights indicates a short somewhere in the electrical circuit. Such short circuits are often caused by damaged insulation allowing wires arc electricity to each other, providing a different (and often dangerous) path for the current to travel down and interfering with the operation of the light. Just like overlamping, exposed wires that are allowed to arc to each other present a high risk of fire, and should be dealt with immediately by a professional electrician.

The most important thing to remember about your home electrical system is that electricity is inherently dangerous, especially in the amounts flowing through the walls of your house. A proper electrical system is designed to channel the current safely from place to place. However, any degradation in that system can drastically increase the risk of fire or electrocution. If you notice any issue that you suspect is related to your electrical system, call a professional immediately.

If your home is experiencing electrical issues, call ACI Northwest. We provide electrical repair services throughout the Coeur d’Alene area.

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Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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The Anode Rod and Water Heater Repair

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Your water heater is comprised of many different parts which must all work together in order to provide hot water to any tap in your home. Most of the important parts rely on natural processes in order to heat the water, although a burner or electric heating element is also necessary.

First, the cold water enters the top of the tank and goes straight down to the bottom of the tank through the dip tube. The heating element is located toward the bottom of the tank. Hot water naturally rises over the dense colder water. When you turn on a hot water tap in the home, the valve opens and pressure forces water to flow through a small tube at the top and into the hot water pipes.

The Water Heater Anode Rod

But one component in your water heater participates in an entirely different process. The water heater anode rod, a small rod made of either aluminum or magnesium, screws into the top of the tank. Some water heaters have two of these rods, in order to provide better protection against corrosion. In order for something to rust, iron, oxygen, and water must all be present. And since water heaters are usually made of steel, an iron alloy, you can expect rust to form over time, unless the right preventive measures are in place.

The anode rod, sometimes called the sacrificial anode rod, essentially sacrifices anodes for the good of the tank. Magnesium and aluminum are more reactive than steel, which means the rod should begin to corrode before the tank does.

Beware of Rust

When you turn on the hot water in your home and you notice flakes of rust at the bottom of the tub, you may begin to worry. Rust flakes could mean rusty pipes, but this is unlikely if it is only a problem with the hot water. On the other hand, it could indicate that your water heater tank has begun to corrode, in which case a replacement would be necessary.

However, it’s possible that only the anode rod has begun to rust through. In this case, you would only need to replace this part. In fact, the anode rod should be routinely replaced, which is why regular water heater maintenance comes highly recommended. During water heater maintenance, a technician cleans and adjusts parts of your unit and inspects all of the components in order to let you know whether a vital piece, like the anode rod, needs replacement.

Call the experts at ACI Northwest today for quality water heater repair or maintenance in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

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Why Is a Boiler System Good for Allergy Sufferers?

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

If you’re an allergy sufferer, the very air you breathe can seem hostile at times. Even when you’re inside, it can seem like your nose and eyes are going to swell shut from irritation.

Though it may seem like you just have to take allergy medication and deal with it, there are actually several ways to improve the air quality in your home. Let’s take a look at why a boiler system is one of the best heating systems available for allergy sufferers.

Airborne Contaminant Circulation

The reason that you seem to have just as many, or more, allergy attacks inside as outside is that the air inside your home is not as clean as you think. The air inside the average home is rife with millions of different airborne contaminants, including dust, pollen, dander, viruses, bacteria, and mold. These contaminants find a haven and transportation system in the form of the home’s ducts. When the heat is turned on, the contaminants are blown throughout the house and into the lungs of the home’s occupants.

Boiler Systems

Boiler systems are helpful to allergy sufferers primarily because they don’t make use of ductwork. A boiler heating system, often called a “radiant” heating system, involves the installation of a network of water pipes throughout the house. These pipes are installed either in the walls or the subfloor of each room that needs heating. The entire network is then connected to the central boiler.

When the heat is turned on, the boiler heats and distributes water through the pipe network. As the water flows through the pipes, it transfers its heat through the pipes, the floor, and out into the room. This method of heating has a number of advantages, but the biggest one for allergy sufferers is that it does not circulate air.

The lack of ductwork involved in boiler heating systems removes the biggest contributor to indoor air quality problems: dirty ducts. By utilizing a boiler system, you’ll be taking one big step towards better air quality and better quality of life.

If you’re suffering from severe allergies, call ACI Northwest. We provide boiler installation services throughout Hayden, ID.

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