ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Heating’

Boost Your Heating Efficiency and Spend Less

Monday, February 18th, 2019

gas-powered-furnace-systemWhen it comes to heating in Spokane, WA, you need a system that will perform as effectively and efficiently as possible. Considering that most of our year is cool, you don’t want to be stuck without a fully functioning heating system in place. You also don’t want to be stuck paying for much higher energy bills than you should be. One way to ensure this isn’t the case is by scheduling annual maintenance for your heater, which we hope you did in the fall. Another way is by following up on repair needs ASAP.

We have some good news, too. Boosting your heating efficiency doesn’t just require you to invest in what can be costly HVAC services. There are simple things you can do around the house to boost that efficiency (and therefore, the cost effectiveness) of your heater. Keep reading to learn more!

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When Is It Time to Replace Your Heater?

Monday, February 19th, 2018

cute dog under the warm grey blanketIf it were up to you, your Spokane, WA heating system would last forever. You’d be able to get by with repair after repair and never need to replace it. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Sooner or later, you will need a new heater. But how do you know when that time has come? You certainly don’t want to wait until it just shuts down on you all together, in the middle of one of our coldest winter days.

Fortunately, our team is here to help you make an educated decision on the matter. You can contact us any time when you think your furnace or heating system is reaching the end of its lifecycle. Our team will look at a variety of factors, help you decide if you can get by with another repair for now or if replacement would be more economical, and suggest system models that fit your lifestyle and needs.

Without further ado, some signs that it is, in fact, time to replace that old heater:

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Don’t Skip This Step When Selecting a New Heater

Monday, November 9th, 2015

When you are shopping around for a new appliance, like a dishwasher or a clothes dryer, you have some criteria in mind for the system you want. You need something within your price range. But you also need the system to perform well. It is also a good idea to look for a system with a high efficiency rating or the ENERGY STAR seal. But when it comes to selecting a new heating system, there’s one thing you must know before you select a new unit.

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5 Easy Ways to Save Electricity Around the Home

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Looking for ways to save money on your energy bills without sacrificing your home comfort? Follow these 5 simply tips that can help you to cut down your bills. Contact our friendly helpful technicians for more information!

  • Replace your lightbulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Check the labels at the store and make sure you’ve chosen efficient CFL bulbs that are the right size for the fixture you are using. They may be more costly than other bulbs at first, but they can last decades and will use much less electricity over the years.
  • Wash with cold water. Cold water can get your laundry and dishes clean just as well as hot water, and you can save money on your water heating bills—up to 40 cents per load of laundry.
  • Use a power strip. Plug in your electronics to a power strip, and shut off the power button on the power strip when you are done using them.
  • Learn to use your programmable thermostat. Many homeowners are unsure of how to use their homes’ programmable thermostats for maximum energy savings. Locate the manual for your thermostat (try searching online!), or call a technician for help understanding the settings. In the summer, find the warmest temperature that is the most comfortable for everyone in your family—experts recommend 78° F—and keep it at this setting most of the time. Program the thermostat 10° higher for when you are away or asleep. Keep it at 68° F in the winter.
  • Change or clean your air filter. The air filter in your heating and air conditioning system helps to keep your air clean and stops debris from interfering with system operation. When it’s too dirty, air may be unable to flow into the system, which means it will have to use a lot of energy in an attempt to cool or heat your home. Change or clean the filter (if it is reusable) once a month for better efficiency.

ACI Northwest is here to help with your home comfort needs or concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us for helpful advice or service in Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding areas.

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When Should I Replace My Heating System?

Friday, November 28th, 2014

As a homeowner, you know a time will come when you will have to replace your heating system. Though you may have an approximate estimation of when that time will be, however, it is sometimes difficult to be sure. How can you tell whether you need to replace your heater, or simply repair it? Let’s take a look at some of the most obvious signs.


Any time something goes wrong with your heater, the easiest way to tell if it needs repair or replacement is to consider its age. Generally speaking, heating systems that are younger than 15 years old can probably last for a few more years. Systems over 15 years old can likely be replaced for the same amount of money it would cost to keep repairing them, which brings us to our next point.

Frequency of Repairs

All heating systems experience the need for repairs every once in a while. However, one thing you’ll need to pay attention to is the frequency with which your system breaks down. One or two repairs a year is a fairly common occurrence for most heating systems. Any more than that is a good indication that your heating system is, quite frankly, wearing out. This is especially true when taken with the advanced age of the system.

Increase in Heating Cost

As wear and tear begins to accumulate in your heating system, you will experience a gradual decline in your heater’s ability to do its job. Before parts actually start to break in your system, you will likely experience an increase in your monthly heating bill. Of course, wear and tear occurs any time you start your heating system, regardless of its age or condition. The older your heater is, however, the more likely that the burden of years of use will have a greater effect on the various parts in your system.

If you think you might need to replace your heating system, call ACI Northwest. Our HVAC technicians provide professional heating services throughout the entire Spokane area.

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What Is the Difference Between a Furnace and a Boiler?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

The most common types of heating systems—both of which have warmed homes and businesses for well over a century and a half—are furnaces and boilers. Chances are high that you have one or the other working to keep your home cozy during the winter. The two systems have little in common, however, except that they can use similar energy sources. Otherwise, they have completely different methods of providing heat for a building, and each requires specialists to install, repair, and maintain it.

If you are looking to have new heating system in installation, your choice may come down to a boiler or furnace. The one that will work best for your home heating will depend on many factors, and you should always rely on professionals to handle the installation so you end up with the right heater for your needs. Call ACI Northwest and put your trust in our many years of experience finding heating solutions for the greater Coeur d’Alene and Spokane area.

Furnace: Forced-Air Heating

The principle of a furnace is “forced-air heating,” which means that the system heats up air and then distributes it with a blower through a ventilation system. How the furnace heats up the air in its cabinet depends on its fuel source. The most common furnace type uses natural gas piped into the home. The furnace burns the natural gas to create a hot combustion gas. This gas enters a metal heat exchanger, which then heats the air blown past it and into the ductwork. The cooled-down combustion gas safely vents outside through a flue.

A popular alternative to gas is electricity. In these units, electric coils in a series of heating elements glow hot as current runs through them. The heating elements raise the temperature of the air through resistance heating, and the blower sends the air into the ventilation system.

Boiler: Hydronic Radiant Heating

Boilers do not use forced air or ductwork to provide warmth. Instead, they use heated water—and in some cases, steam—distributed through pipes to various terminal points in a home that then radiate heat waves into rooms. Boilers often use natural gas to create the heat to raise the temperature of the water in their water tanks, although some rely on electrical heating elements within the tank itself. Radiant heating in general is cleaner than forced-air heating because it does not require ductwork that can contain dust and dirt that will mix into the air stream.

Which One Is Best For My Home?

Both systems have advantages and disadvantages: furnaces can achieve high levels of heating, while boilers tend to use energy more efficiently and can last longer. If your home already has a set of ducts, it’s probably easiest to install a furnace. For a newer home without ducts, a boiler is an attractive possibility. The best way to know for certain is to work with a heating professional, who can measure the best way to efficiently and effectively provide comfort for your home.

ACI Northwest has a team ready to help with your needs for heating services in Coeur d’Alene, WA. Call us today to help choose between a furnace and a boiler.

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How Does a Gas Furnace Work?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

One of the most popular and common types of heating systems is the furnace. If you use a gas furnace for your heating, you are in good company: approximately 60% of homes have a gas furnace heating system. Understanding how your system works is important, so our ACI Northwest technicians have taken some time to explain below how your gas furnace brings warm air into your home.

How Does a Gas Furnace Work?

In a gas furnace, air is heated and blown into your home through ductwork. The process starts with ignition: the thermostat senses that the temperature in your home has dropped and cues the furnace to begin the ignition cycle. A component called the draft fan inducer motor draws air into the burner assembly; the burners are ignited and the heat from the burners warms the heat exchanger. The air from inside the burner assembly is exhausted to the outside while a second fan, known as the blower fan, turns on. The blower fan is attached to the return duct, and as such, brings in the return air from your living spaces and blows it over the hot heat exchanger. This blown air is warmed, and continues its way into the supply ducts where it is delivered, warmed up, back into your living spaces. This process continues until the set temperature has been achieved.

What Are the Benefits of a Gas Furnace?

Here are some benefits of gas furnaces worth considering:

  • Convenience – natural gas is piped into homes, eliminating the management of deliveries.
  • Clean burning – natural gas burns cleanly, unlike other fossil fuels.
  • Gas heat is very warm – the heat given off by gas-fueled heating systems is anywhere between 25 and 35 degrees warmer than other systems. This means your home will heat up quickly.
  • Good energy efficiency – the average gas furnace has an efficiency rating of 90% , and can go as high as 98%.

If you have questions about your gas furnace heating system, or need repair, call ACI Northwest today and schedule heating service in Coeur d’Alene with one of our HVAC experts.

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Common Causes of Heating Problems

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Our temperatures are starting to cool, which brings our attention to heating in Coeur d’Alene. Fall is a great time to test your heating system for problems and repair them before the cold weather sets in. There can be a number of reasons your heater experiences problems, and knowing what to look for can help expedite repairs to your system. It’s important to always call a trained specialist for your heating repairs, as a heating system shouldn’t be handled by anyone who doesn’t have training. ACI Northwest has helped customers in Coeur d’Alene with heating repair for over two decades, so if you need heating repair, call us today!

Common Causes of Heating Problems

Here are some common causes of heating problems:

  • Clogged/dirty components – clogged and/or dirty components do not work as they should. Parts that commonly become dirty in a heating system are the burner, the air filter, the coils (in a heat pump system), etc.
  • Faulty ductwork (in forced-air systems) – faulty ductwork can account for uneven heating or hot and cold spots. Common problems with ductwork are obstructions, holes and cracks, broken seals and damaged sections.
  • Ignition problems (for combustible systems) – when your combustible heating system doesn’t light, it can’t provide heat. Several things can require repair with a burner assembly, including a faulty igniter, a malfunctioning or cracked thermocouple or dirt in the burner or pilot area.
  • Thermostat issues – your thermostat controls when your heating system cycles on and off, so if it is malfunctioning, it can cause problems with your whole system. Thermostats can get dirty, wires can loosen or corrode, or the unit can be mounted in a poor location. Thermostat problems can be tricky, so it’s best to call for a professional’s help.

If you are concerned about your heating system, now is a great time to test your system for problems. Even if your system appears to be running fine, fall offers a great time to schedule maintenance, which can help reduce the incidence of repairs. No matter your heating needs, ACI Northwest has the technicians who can help, so call us today and schedule your heating service in Coeur d’Alene!

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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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How Air Handlers Work in Your Heating System

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

If you used a forced-air system to heat your home, such as a furnace or a heat pump, one of the essential components of the unit is the air handler. The air handler performs the crucial task of air distribution through the ventilation system and into the rooms of your house. Without the air handler, the heat from the burners or heating elements in the furnace, or the coils in the heat pump, would go nowhere and you would receive no comfort from your system.

Care and maintenance of an air handler is a major part of the job of heating repair technicians. Contemporary air handlers are too complex and intricate devices for amateur work. When you need repairs for the air handler to restore your heating in Coeur d’Alene, WA, you must call up experienced heating contractors. ACI Northwest has the training and years of experience to help you with any trouble you may have in your air handlers or any other part of your heater.

The operation of the air handler

The main component of an air handler unit is a large blower fan inside a durable casing connected to a blower fan motor. Some air handlers have variable speed motors that can run at lower power to reduce noise and to assist with even air distribution. The blower sends out air into the ventilation system; sometimes this is air from the outside or sometimes from the return vents that re-circulate air. Blower fans can sometimes require repairs if the blades become bent from debris that enters the air handler. A filter rack or filter chambers in the blower help keep dust and debris picked up from the re-circulated or outside air from entering into the ductwork. Sound attenuators help reduce the noise from the blower.

For heat pumps, air handlers also contain the coils necessary for conditioning the air in heating and cooling mode, making it not only essential for air distribution, but also for providing a comfortable temperature. (With a furnace, the air handler usually plays no role in generating heat.) For ductless mini split heat pumps, the air handlers are often referred to as terminal units, and contain fewer components: usually an air filter, coil, and blower.

Keep your air handler working

Because an air handler is a major mechanical part of your heating system, it needs regular maintenance and prompt repairs to make sure it does not wear down and threaten you with a loss of heat. Should you hear loud banging sounds from the air handler, or if the airflow from your vents drops, you should call for professional repairs as soon as you can.

ACI Northwest has many years of experience handling heating system services in Coeur d’Alene, WA. Contact us any time of the day or night when you need help.

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