ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Greenacres’

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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Understanding the Heat Pump Defrost Cycle: A Guide from Greenacres

Friday, February 10th, 2012

If your Greenacres home has a heat pump, you’ll want to understand the defrost cycle to help you maintain your heat pump and troubleshoot repairs. While this is a basic guide, you should call a qualified HVAC technician if you experience major issues with your heat pump.

During the winter when a heat pump is heating your home, the cooler outdoor air that’s pumped in and heated may have excess moisture. The outdoor coil evaporates this moisture, but under certain weather conditions, frost can accumulate on the coil and decrease the overall efficiency of the heat pump.  To help reduce the potential for damage from the frost, heat pumps are manufactured with a defrost cycle to melt the frost from the outdoor coil. The defrost cycle occurs often during heavy frost conditions, so check weather reports if your defrost cycle seems to be running often.

At the beginning of the defrost cycle, the heat pump switches to the cooling mode and temporarily warms up the outdoor coil until it reaches somewhere around 60° F to melt the frost from the coil. To increase the temperature of the coil, the outdoor fan is prevented from turning on until the outdoor coil reaches the desired temperature. Weather conditions and the timing device both affect the amount of time it takes for the heat pump to move through the entire defrost cycle.

In older homes, electric heating pumps are sometimes installed to prevent cool air from being distributed throughout the home. This element will turn on with the defrost cycle and shut down the blower fan inside the house. If you have an older heat pump, you may want to consider upgrading to a more efficient model.

Call ACI NW any time if you have questions about the defrost cycle for the heat pump in your Greenacres home.

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Greenacres Heating Installation Question: How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

If you’re in the market for a new home heating and cooling system in Greenacres, a heat pump is definitely an option worth considering. However, while the popularity of these systems is growing rapidly, many people still don’t understand what they’re all about. Before you go out and get yourself a new home comfort system, you should make sure you really know what you’re looking at.

As their name suggests, heat pumps move heat from one location to another. However, their name can be misleading as well. Heat pumps are able to both heat your home in the winter and keep it cool in the summer by taking heat from the air in one place and sending it to another.

For example, your heat pump will remove the heat from your indoor air in the summer and pump it outside to keep your home cool. In the winter, the process is reversed, and the heat pump gathers heat from the outdoor air and pumps it inside to keep you house warm.

Of course, it’s not hard to see how the air inside your home in the summer has heat in it. But the outdoor air in the winter is cold. So how does a heat pump heat your house with cold air? Well, the truth is that there is almost always some heat in the air, no matter how cold it seems to you and me.

In fact, the temperature would have to drop well into the negative range before there was absolutely no heat to be found in the air. And heat pumps are specially designed to find that heat and collect it.

Basically all heat pumps work on this principle. However, they can’t keep your house comfortable all on their own. Heat pumps are usually installed as part of a complete home heating and cooling system. This means they’ll be paired with an air handler that can circulate the temperature controlled air throughout your Greenacres house.

There are also some heat pumps that supplement the amount of heat they’re able to pull out of the air by heating it as it passes through. These types of heat pumps are often more effective in cooler areas, but because they require more energy to actually generate heat, they’re not typically as energy efficient as models that rely on their ability to get heat only out of the air.

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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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Greenacres Heating System Preventative Maintenance

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” His famous quotation can apply to many things in life, including the heating system in your Greenacres home. While heating systems in Ben Franklin’s time consisted of wood burning stove and fireplaces requiring little maintenance, today’s sophisticated furnaces and building controls require a good dose of preventative maintenance in order to avoid mechanical failures and inefficient operation.

For example, a furnace runs better and lasts longer when you maintain a regular schedule of filter cleaning or replacing. A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow from the furnace into your home’s ventilation system and cause the furnace to work harder, putting more wear and tear on it and taking months, if not years, off of its useful life. If your furnace uses disposable filters, check them every month and replace them if necessary. If your furnace uses an electronic filter that requires cleaning, check it on a monthly or semi-monthly basis and clean it with soapy water and a hose. Be aware of the change of seasons which could add extra pollutants into the air like pollens, ragweed, and cottonwood. This debris easily finds its way into the filters and creates an unhealthy indoor environment.

You can also perform a simple visual inspection of working components inside your furnace by removing the access cover and checking – with a flashlight – for loose fan belts, frayed electrical wires, or a build-up of dirt and dust. Simple solutions include tightening or replacing belts, repairing wiring, and vacuuming out dirt and dust with a hose attachment. All of these actions will keep your furnace working better and prevent future failures.

You can also do a visual check of your home’s ventilation system, paying close attention to any cracks in duct seams or holes in flex ductwork. Using sealing cement or duct tape can usually fix these problems and allow for better, unrestricted air flow. Again, these actions will help your furnace work more efficiently and avoid premature failures.

Maybe the best advice for preventing heating system breakdowns is to have a regular maintenance schedule with a local qualified heating contractor. Most contractors can set you up with annual furnace and ventilation system inspections. Having a service agreement – as a rule – gives you priority emergency repairs and discounts on parts and services. Besides that, planned maintenance is also preventative maintenance, something that will give you peace of mind in the long run.

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When Should You Replace Your Existing Heat Pump? A Guide from Latah

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Nobody wants to think about having to replace a home heating and cooling system in Latah. It’s a big job and a new system probably won’t come cheap – not if it’s worth buying anyway. But in the end, you’ll be better off replacing your heat pump sooner rather than later if you start noticing signs that it may be on its way out.

So what are these signs? Well, they’re actually pretty easy to recognize if you know what to look for. For instance, if your heat pump is suddenly making more noise than it used to, there’s a good chance that something’s going wrong inside. This may only require a minor repair, but if minor repairs like this become a regular occurrence, you should start seriously thinking about looking around for a new system.

The cost of even minor repairs will certainly add up quickly over time, and you’ll have to seriously think about whether it makes financial sense to continue to repair an older system rather than simply replacing it with a new one. Chances are that you’ll have to invest in a new one anyway, and the sooner you do it, the less you’ll have paid for repairs to a system you were just going to get rid of anyway.

Also, if you’re starting to notice humidity problems in your home or if some parts of your house are being kept warmer than others, it may very well be a sign that you heat pump isn’t working like it should. Again, this can sometimes be rectified with repair work, but especially if your heat pump is 10 years old or more, it probably makes more sense to replace it.

Another item to keep an eye on when you’re worried about how well your heat pump is working is your monthly energy bill. If you notice a sudden or even a gradual but steady increase over time that you know isn’t a result of an increase in energy prices in your area, you should suspect that your heat pump isn’t working like it should.

Even if it’s still keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, the fact that your heat pump is using more energy to do it is a sign that there’s something wrong with your system. Plus, newer systems are generally more energy efficient anyway, so you’ll be making up for the initial investment of purchasing a new system when you start paying even less on your monthly energy bills.

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How Often Should I Have My Geothermal System Checked? A Question from Greenacres

Monday, October 10th, 2011

The beauty of a geothermal system for your Greenacres home is that is requires very little maintenance. They have fewer mechanical components are than other heating systems – and most of these components are underground or inside, shielded from the outdoor elements. The underground tubing usually is guaranteed to last 25-50 years and inside components are easily accessible for servicing.

Nonetheless, keeping a geothermal system working at peak efficiency is very important. If the geothermal system loses some of its efficiency, it will cost home and building owners money in energy costs, which makes little sense since geothermal system installation costs are higher than most other heating systems.

Its key component is the ground loop system, polyethelene tubing which carries refrigerant from below the Earth’s surface and back to an above-ground compressor. When installed correctly, the buried ground loop can last for decades. A leak in the metal tubing is usually the only problem if the ground loop is not installed correctly. In the case of a leak, it may be necessary to dig up the tubing – often installed at least ten feet below the surface – and repair the leak.

Other geothermal system components include its air handling unit, compressor, and pump. These components require periodic system checks by qualified professional heating and cooling technicians. Maintenance normally requires filter changes and component lubrication, to name the most common. In some cases, building owners can perform their own filter replacement and refill of lubricants. However, it is recommended that an experienced technician perform a multiple-point inspection of the geothermal system components, usually during regularly scheduled annual or bi-annual service calls.

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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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Simple Household Cleaning Tips to Maintain Good Indoor Air Quality in Airway Heights

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

There are a lot of reasons to clean in Airway Heights. Guests, children, pets, simple peace of mind – without the right amount of cleaning, a messy house can quickly get out of control. But, don’t forget the health benefits of removing excess dust and sediment from your home with regular cleaning. To ensure your indoor air quality doesn’t take an unnecessary hit, here are a few basic cleaning tips you can implement right away.

  • Regular Vacuuming  – Most people vacuum occasionally when it’s obvious that carpets are getting a little messy. Consider increasing the frequency of your vacuuming to at least 3-4 times per week, possibly more, especially if you have pets. Regular vacuuming removes a lot of the airborne particles that can get into your lungs and cause allergies or asthma flare ups.
  • Remove Junk from Floor Spaces – Toys, garbage, clothes, and other random junk sitting on the floor can create air quality problems, especially if they are near or around vents.
  • Bathe and Brush Pets – Pet dander is a top contributor to indoor air quality problems. Bathe and brush your pets once a week to reduce hair loss and get rid of all that excess dander that builds up over time. Consider it an investment in the cleanliness of your home.
  • Shoes Outside – Shoes bring in pollen and other outdoor pollutants. Take them off outside and you will reduce the number of contaminants that make it inside.
  • Remove Moisture from Bathrooms – Bathroom moisture results in mold growth and the development of other allergens. Wipe down the walls of your shower and mop the floor daily to remove excess moisture after showers.
  • Food Waste – Throw away food waste immediately. Food in the sink or garbage can attracts bacteria and bugs and can result in mold growth very quickly. Consider a compost bucket or pile outside where food waste can be disposed or purchase a garbage disposal to get rid of it immediately after eating.

There are dozens more little things you can do that will reduce the amount of allergens and pollutants that build up in and around your home. Consider creating a simple calendar schedule you can follow from day to day to keep your indoor environment clean and healthy.

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What Is the Energy Star Label? A Question From Greenacres

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Any time you go out and buy any type of appliance in Greenacres, like an air conditioner, you probably notice that some have a distinct mark that signifies them as Energy Star appliances. That sounds like a good thing, of course, but what does it actually mean? Should you always buy an Energy Star model over another type?

The Energy Star label was originally developed to help consumers more easily recognize appliances that are more energy efficient than the average. In order to obtain an Energy Star seal of approval, any device must meet very strict guidelines when it comes to energy efficiency.

What that translates into for you as a consumer is a lower monthly energy bill when you buy Energy Star appliances. Of course, once they have obtained an Energy Star labels, manufacturers can charge whatever they want for their product, and it is not unusual to pay more for a model that is certified an Energy Star.

However, as long as the potential savings over time that you will get by using the Energy Star model as opposed to one that is not as energy efficient outweigh the difference in initial purchase price, it is worth it to spend a bit more on the Energy Star model.

Keep in mind, though, that just because a produce meets the Energy Star guidelines for energy efficiency does not necessarily mean that it is a superior product in terms of quality or overall effectiveness. Plus, not all Energy Star appliances are created equal. You should still do your research and pick out the product that will both save you the most money and has the best chance of getting the job done right.

Another benefit to Energy Star products is that, because they use less energy when they run, they also have a smaller impact on the environment than a model that uses a greater amount of energy to perform the same tasks.

Overall, it is definitely worth taking a closer look at all of the Energy Star options out there when you are purchasing an air conditioning system or any other type of appliance. Using less energy is always a good thing both for your bank account and for the planet. But you also want to make sure you are actually getting the best product for your money.

If you need more information about energy saving HVAC products, contact your local HVAC professionals.

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