ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Colburn’

What is Involved in Replacing an Old System in Colburn?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

When your HVAC system starts to fail in Colburn — or if it already has — your options essentially come down to two: replace or repair heating the system. There are a lot of factors that go into making such a decision, but in general, if it is a newer system with a small problem and you haven’t had much trouble with it, then a simple repair clearly makes sense.

For older systems, or ones that have been repaired all to often lately, or ones that seem to be on their last legs, repair may be the only reasonable course of action.

Surely you know that a total heating system replacement would be a big job, but have you ever thought about just how big? Sure, you know you will have to swap out the failing furnace, and you may as well replace the air conditioning unit while you’re in there, but that’s it, right?

Wrong. There is a lot more to an HVAC system than just those two machines. Think about all the behind-the-scenes components and the little components that are often overlooked, such as:

  • Ducts – Keep in mind that your ducts are probably as old as that furnace you are replacing, and that a new, efficient unit cannot operate at nearly its full potential with faulty duct work.
  • Thermostats – Your old ones may not even be compatible with a new furnace or air conditioner.
  • Wiring – For the thermostat, among other things.
  • Insulation – Many homeowners forget that insulation is part of an HVAC system, too. Just like we said about duct work, old insulation does not help a new system achieve maximum performance.
  • Piping – Such as refrigerant piping on a geothermal system or a ductless air conditioning system.
  • Furnace registers or ductless mini A/C units.

You can see that the job starts to get pretty complex pretty fast. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from a necessary replacement, just make sure that you fully consider the scope of what you need done, as well as the budget and time frame you have to work with.  Please call ACI NW with any questions.

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Tankless Water Heater Tip: How to Get the Right Size

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Tankless water heaters are gaining popularity among Cheney homeowners because of their on demand hot water supply and space-saving design. Although they are more expensive than traditional tank water heaters, on demand water heaters are more efficient, reliable, and easier to install and maintain. Before choosing to install a tankless water heater, however, you will have to decide which size will meet your hot water needs.

Rather than storing hot water in a tank, the tankless models heat the water with individual units located near the application where hot water is needed, such as a shower or washing machine. For larger homes, some of these smaller units cannot heat enough water for several applications running at the same time. You can also install a single tankless water heater for the entire house, or separate ones for appliances that use more hot water.

Finding the proper size and type will depend on the flow rate—measured  by a GPM (gallons per minute) number—that each fixture needs. Every application has a standard flow rate that must be added up in order to calculate the hot water demands for your entire home. For instance, if someone is using a sink with a 1.5 GPM at the same time another person is running a shower with a 2.0 GPM, the flow rate for the tankless unit would need to be at least 3.5 gallons per minute. You will have to add up the flow rate for all the applications in the house to get the minimum GPM figure for your tankless water heater.

In addition to flow rates, tankless hot water heaters are also measured by how much the water temperature needs to rise as it moves through the heating unit. You can determine the temperature rise for each application by subtracting the temperature of water coming in from the desired temperature going out. Once you add those together with the overall flow rates, you will know which tankless water heater can handle your overall hot water needs.

Before you buy an on demand hot water heater, it is best to talk to a professional installer. While the flow rates and temperature rise for most household appliances are fairly standard, these numbers can vary because of several factors that professionals are trained to calculate. Size is not the only factor to consider when shopping for a tankless water heater. Fuel type and efficiency should also be factored in to your purchase.

If you aren’t sure what type or size of tankless water heater is right for your Cheney home, call ACI Northwest to speak with one of our professional technicians. We are always glad to offer our expert advice so that you can meet all of your hot water needs in the most efficient way possible.

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Colburn Heat Pump Repairs: Common Problems

Friday, January 6th, 2012

In a perfect world, you would never have to worry about things like malfunctions or repairs of your Colburn home’s equipment. Everything would just work without ever needing to be maintained or fixed, and you could spend your time on energy on more enjoyable pursuits.

Unfortunately, no such perfect world exists. Things wear out and break down, often at the least opportune time. And of course, your heat pump is not immune. Despite being a great all around machine, a heat pump can malfunction, just like anything else.

But how can you know whether your heat pump is not working right? Here are some signs and symptoms that are often indicative of common heat pump problems:

  1. Too Much Noise – Whether emanating from your car or your usually quiet heat pump, noises are often the first sign that something is amiss. You should expect your heat pump to make some noise; the compressor and air handler are two culprits. However, if it starts making more noise than it did before, something may be up. Sometimes this is as simple as some loose fittings, but it’s still something that should be checked out.
  2. The House Is Too Cold – Obviously, if you get a heat pump to heat your house, you expect it to do just that. So, if your home is too chilly, you know something is amiss. If it’s way too cold, the heat pump may not be running at all, which can be the result of a serious malfunction. If it is only a few degrees below where you set it, it may be a different problem. It could be that something is malfunctioning in the heat pump, but it could also be that the outside air is too cold for the heat pump to keep the house warm. In that case, the best solution is supplemental heating.
  3. The Heat Pump Turns Off Too Soon – If your heat pump seems to be shutting off too quickly, it may be short cycling. That means that it is turning off before getting through its entire heating or cooling cycle. Frequently this is simply caused by dirt or debris around the outdoor coil, in the air handler or in the filter. Check these areas out and clean them. In general, you will want to keep the various components of your heat pump clean in order to ensure the best performance.

These are just some of the main symptoms of common problems. Other things can go wrong with your heat pump, although it is not very likely. As a general rule, if you notice your heat pump performing strangely or doing something it hasn’t done before, it’s best to get it checked out by a professional.

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Why You Should Have Your Furnace Serviced Every Heating Season in Colburn

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Particularly if you’ve just purchased a new furnace for your Colburn home, maintenance is  probably not something you think about all that much. As long as it works when you need it to, that is. Unfortunately you usually find out that something is wrong with your furnace just when you need it most. However, there is a way to avoid that kind of problem, and many others, and that’s to have regular maintenance service performed on your furnace by a home heating professional every year.

One of the main reasons to have your furnace serviced is that it allows technicians to catch small problems before they become large ones. During a typical maintenance visit, a technician will examine all parts of your furnace to ensure that they are still in good working order. He’ll also thoroughly clean out the unit to make sure there are no buildups of debris that could cause problems or impede the furnace’s energy efficiency.

And if they do find something wrong like a part that’s beginning to wear out or something that just isn’t working properly, the technician can make the necessary repairs right away. You can get the problem taken care of ahead of time and you won’t have to worry about going without heat during the coldest part of the winter.

That’s not the only reason that annual maintenance is important and beneficial, however. It can also help you save money, both on your monthly energy bills and in the long term. That’s because annual maintenance tune ups keep your furnace functioning at peak efficiency levels longer than they would be able to otherwise.

A typical furnace will lose a small percentage of its energy efficiency every year, and while it won’t seem like a lot at first, that can really add up over the course of a couple of years. With regular maintenance, though, you can often maintain up to 95% of your furnace’s original efficiency for the life of the furnace.

Plus, when the proper maintenance and service is performed on a regular basis, your furnace will simply last longer. Most furnaces purchased now will last between 10 and 15 years, and with proper care, you can help to ensure that your furnace reaches the upper limit of this span or even beyond.

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It’s Time for a New Furnace: Some Advice From Colburn

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Replacing the furnace in your Colburn home is probably not something you want to think about. After all, a new furnace is a big investment and not something you probably have too much experience with. And sometimes having your current system fixed or tuned up is all you need to get your home heating situation back on track. But there are certain situations in which it makes more sense to just go ahead and get a new furnace rather than simply patching up the old one.

For instance, if you have to call for either minor or major repairs to your furnace on a regular basis, it’s probably time to consider investing in a replacement. All of those repairs cost money and chances are that the furnace you’re paying repeatedly to replace isn’t going to last that much longer anyway.

Rather than continuing to dump money into a furnace that just isn’t cutting it anymore, you’ll be better off making the investment in a new unit. The truth is, you’re going to have to do it sooner or later and by buying a new furnace now, you’re actually saving all of the money you would have spent on repairing the old one for another year or so.

Also, a furnace that requires such frequent repairs is probably not functioning all that efficiently either. When you replace it with a newer model, you won’t just save money on repairs. You’ll also likely notice a considerable savings on your monthly energy bills because of how much more efficient your new model is.

Even if you haven’t been repairing your furnace often, you may be able to notice some signs that the old unit isn’t quite up to the task anymore. If you’re suddenly having some significant humidity problems in your house or if your home isn’t being heated evenly, there’s a good chance your furnace is on its way out.

And, in fact, even if your furnace is functioning just fine but is more than 10 years old or so, it’s very likely you’d benefit by replacing it. That’s because the newer furnaces available now are so much more energy efficient than their predecessors that the savings you’ll incur monthly will quickly make up for the initial installation investment.

Of course, you don’t want to get rid of a good furnace if you don’t have to. But if your furnace is getting close to the end of its expected lifespan, you may very well benefit by putting out the money for a new one now so you can start saving right away on your monthly energy bills.

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Old Equipment You Really Shouldn’t Keep in Greenacres

Friday, September 30th, 2011

When you move into an existing Greenacres home, there are many pieces of equipment that you may not want to keep. Some of them are just old and poor quality, while others cost you a lot of money and others still may be dangerous to you or your children. Before you settle into your space, make sure you have every one of your systems checked thoroughly for potential problems including inefficient heating, dangerous parts or environmentally unfriendly components.

Energy Cost

Number one on your list should be the cost of the energy needed to run your HVAC equipment. Furnaces and air conditioners in particular have become much more energy efficient in the last 10 years so older systems routinely cost much more money to operate than new ones. That doesn’t mean you should immediately rush out to replace your old furnace, but if it isn’t working properly or it’s costing you more money than you’d like, the cost benefit of a new system is often worth checking into.

Ozone Depleting Refrigerants

Older appliances like air conditioners may still use ozone depleting refrigerants that are no longer considered safe (or in some cases legal) for home use. If this is the case, not only does your system probably have a very low SEER rating, it likely isn’t good for the environment or your own health. So, have your system replaced as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative side effects.

Dangerous Equipment

Finally, there are those pieces of equipment that are dangerous. If you find that your furnace has rust around the edges, or you have a dangerously out of date heat pump in your backyard, it may be time for some replacements. In general, these systems will last for years longer than they are considered safe and while you probably cannot buy a house without a working and safe furnace and air conditioner, you should still have them inspected carefully and replaced as soon as possible if you suspect problems.

Good HVAC equipment is hard to come by – if your home has it already, you’re in luck, but if you happen to move into a place with poor quality materials and equipment, have it replaced as soon as possible. Your health and wallet will both benefit greatly.

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HVAC Maintenance Really Does Save Money

Monday, September 19th, 2011

When it comes to your Deer Park home’s heating and cooling systems, you really cannot go wrong with proper annual maintenance. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially if your systems are relatively new, you will save a lot in the long run if you pay that small fee once a year for each system.

During a maintenance visit, a technician can thoroughly clean out your heating or cooling system and check all parts to make sure they are not showing signs of excessive wear and tear. If they do find a problem or a part that needs to be replaced, they will be able to make the necessary repairs quickly and you will not have to worry about calling someone out later for an emergency visit.

Also, catching problems early like this means that repairs will likely involve fewer parts and cost much less than they would if you let the problem go and it became more widespread. The truth is that your heating or cooling system can continue to work when one or another of its parts is not working correctly, but that means that other parts of the system have to work overtime to create the same result.

Your heating or cooling system will also be much more energy efficient if it receives regular tune ups and attention from a professional. Even the best new systems lose a small percentage of their efficiency each year that they are in operation. While this is not much from year to year, the cumulative effect will soon cause your energy bills to climb higher than necessary.

Paying for regular maintenance, then, can actually save you money because it will mean you pay less each month to run your system. And it is never too late to start. Even if your heating or cooling system is not new, it will benefit from a thorough cleaning and tune up. You may be quite surprised how much your energy bills go down after this type of service has been performed.

Annual maintenance can also help you to get more for your money by extending the useful life of the heating or cooling system. Many systems that are properly maintained can last even beyond their expected life span, meaning that you will not have to replace it as soon as you would have otherwise. For all of these reasons, the minimal cost of an annual maintenance visit is well worth paying over the long term.

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My HVAC System Has a 10 Year Warranty – Why Do I Need a Maintenance Agreement? A Question From Airway Heights

Friday, September 16th, 2011

While every new furnace sold comes with a limited 10 year warranty for the unit and parts, it is a good idea to supplement your warranty with a more complete maintenance agreement with your HVAC provider in Airway Heights. Why pay for a secondary maintenance plan when you already have a warranty?

For the most part, the limited warranty provided by the manufacturer is meant to cover things like faulty parts, abnormal breakdowns or recalls. If your system simply needs to get a checkup because you use it a lot or there is a clog that isn’t caused by the actual furnace or air conditioner, you will likely end up paying the maintenance cost. So, by paying for an upgraded service plan, you cover all potential breakdowns and you’ll never again need to worry about your system. It’s like getting the upgraded warranty for a new car that covers everything from a busted crankshaft to old windshield wipers.

Help Your System Last Longer

Another benefit of a maintenance agreement for your HVAC system is that the system lasts longer when it is regularly maintained. So, if you think your system is running poorly, call a professional in to check it out. The ability to do this will ensure your HVAC system lasts significantly longer than if you were forced to wait until you could afford an extra visit from your repair man.

So, not only do you ensure your system keeps working, you add a lot of valuable years to its lifespan. Imagine how much money you’ll save if your furnace or air conditioner lasts for 20+ years instead of just 10. Any breakdowns after the 10 year mark would require hefty repairs or replacement since your warranty is expired. So, it’s in your best interest to keep your system running smoothly throughout its lifespan.

Ultimately, an HVAC system is only as good as what you put into it. If you’re careful about your investments and are willing to spend a little extra now, you’ll stand to benefit far more in the future from a smoothly operating, efficient heating system.

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What Are Limit Switches and How Do They Work? A Pointer From Latah

Friday, August 19th, 2011

When you set the thermostat on your air conditioning system, you pretty take for granted that the system will maintain that temperature throughout your Latah home. But did you ever stop to think about how it’s actually accomplished? The truth is that there are many moving parts that all play a role in keeping your home cool and comfortable, and one of these is the limit switch.

What Is a Limit Switch?

Although you’re probably not aware of it, you’ve encountered plenty of limit switches over the years. A limit switch is anything that stops an electric appliance under certain circumstances. The little switch that turns the light on in the refrigerator when you open the door and then off again when you close it is the perfect example of a limit switch. Another common one is the switch that stops your washer or dryer from running when you open the door. Limit switches are used for a variety of appliances and gadgets to not only save electricity but to keep you and your device safe.

Limit Switches and Air Conditioning

The limit switch on your air conditioning system is the link between the blower on your air handler and the thermostat. When the thermostat senses that the desired indoor temperature has been reached, it stops the air conditioner from producing any more cold air. At that point, it’s important for the blower to stop functioning as well.

If it doesn’t, the blower will continue to move and warm air rather than cold will begin circulating throughout your home. However, if the blower shuts off too soon, the cold air that’s still being generated by the air conditioner won’t be able to circulate. So it’s essential that the blower be switched off at the same time the cold air stops arriving. That’s exactly what the limit switch does.

While it’s only one very small part of a large machine, the limit switch in your air conditioner plays a vital role in keeping your home comfortable and in allowing your air conditioning system to function as efficiently as possible.

If you notice that your air conditioner is shutting off too soon or not soon enough, it may be because of a broken limit switch. Sometimes, the system simply needs to be reset, something you can do with the help of your owner’s manual. However, if your limit switch is broken, you should contact a professional to take a look and determine if it needs to be replaced.

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Window and Through Wall Units – Benefits and Disadvantages in Colburn

Friday, August 5th, 2011

When you’re trying to decide what type of air conditioner to get for your Colburn home, you’ll first have to determine whether a central air conditioning system or smaller individual unit is best for you. These smaller air conditioners are generally installed either in a window or through the wall of your home, and they can provide excellent cooling under the proper conditions.

If you’re still on the fence about what type of air conditioner is right for your home, here are a few items to consider:

  • Ducts – If your home already has ductwork installed for a central forced air heating system, it should be relatively easy to hook up a central air conditioner. But if there are no ducts currently in place, your installation costs will be a lot lower with window or wall mounted units.
  • Portability – Most window units are designed to be removed and stored at the end of the summer, so you can have your windows back and not have to look at that unit all winter long. Through wall units aren’t generally removable, but because they don’t take up window space and provide a more thorough seal against the elements, that’s not as much of a concern.
  • Aesthetics – With both window and through wall units, you’ll have something protruding into your room at least a few inches. These types of units are hard to hide, particularly when compared to the simple air ducts that central air conditioning systems use.
  • Flexible Sizing – No matter how big or small your room is, you should have no trouble finding a window or through wall unit to match it. A central air conditioning system needs to be sized to fit the entire house. If you’re only inclined to use air conditioning in two or three rooms during the hottest months of the year, you may not want to pay to cool the entire house all of the time. Smaller units provide that type of flexibility.
  • Affordability – Installing a central air conditioning system, even if you already have ducts in place, is a large undertaking and likely to cost you several thousand dollars up front. On the other hand, small window and through wall air conditioners are available for as little as $200 and you can buy more whenever you’re ready to spend that extra money. You can also usually install a window unit yourself, and the cost of having a through wall unit installed is minimal compared to that of a central AC unit.

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