ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Medical Lake’

Hope Air Conditioning FAQs: How Do I Determine the Cooling Capacity of My Central AC or Heat Pump System?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

For any type of air conditioning system in Hope, the cooling capacity is measured in BTU’s. This is important to know if the system doesn’t seem to be adequately cooking your home, and there are many different ways to check the cooling capacity of your AC system.

1. Air Conditioning System’s Age and Serial Numbers

An air conditioner’s age will usually give you a general idea for its cooling capacity, and if you aren’t sure, you can always check the serial number. Because serial number formats vary by the year the equipment was made, you can check to see how old an air conditioner is from looking at the serial number.

The first four digits of every serial number is the week and year the unit was manufactured.  For example, the serial# 1188E53294 on a compressor unit tells us that it was made between 1980 and 1990, and to be more exact, week 11 in 1988.

2. Air Conditioner’s Model Number

You should also look at the model number for your specific model because some manufacturers also vary how they assign each number in the serial number; however, they usually stand for tonnage or MBTUH. You can always call us if you aren’t sure how to read the serial number or model number.

3. AC Equipment’s RLA Numbers

RLA stands for “Rated Load Amps,” which means that it’s the manufacturer’s rate of the cooling capacity (also known as the draw) or load while it’s operating (minus the draw when you start the system). Most air conditioning compressor or condenser units will draw 5 to 6 RLA per ton of cooling capacity. You can check the data tag on the compressor for the RLA rating; however, this will need to be translated into BTUH for the total cooling capacity.

Feel free to call one of the Hope air conditioning experts at ACI Northwest if you have any questions how to calculate your AC system’s cooling capacity.

Continue Reading

Your HVAC System and Ventilation

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The vent system in your home is vital to the operation of your HVAC system. Without successful ventilation, your home won’t have the necessary clean air to keep you and your family healthy. So, what does proper ventilation require and how can you ensure your home has it? Here are some quick tips.

Install the Right Parts from the Start

Proper ventilation should result in even air pressure in your home to avoid problems with gas pilot lights. It should also be as energy efficient as possible and provide clean air through proper filtration and cleaning of the air that comes in. The best way to ensure your home has the ventilation needed to stay comfortable and safe for your entire family is to check the total size of the home and then measure the concentrations of certain pollutants like dander, pollen and smoke. A contractor can provide these services for you.

Energy Loss

Another major ventilation issue to keep in mind is energy loss. Ventilation tends to remove heated or cooled air from your home, forcing your furnace or air conditioner to work harder to replace it. As a result, you pay more for energy and it’s never quite comfortable inside.

To avoid this problem, ask about an energy recovery ventilator. These devices are designed to transfer heat from one environment into another. So, in the winter, heated air inside is kept inside and in the summer, cooled air is kept inside. The result is a much lower energy bill without a disruption to your ventilation sources.

Supplements to Ventilation

Proper ventilation should not only provide fresh air, but it should also ensure your home has clean air. The air outside may be fresher, but it can be filled with pollutants like pollen, dander and smoke. These should be removed before they get inside and into the lungs of your loved ones. To do this, you need a full sized air cleaning system that removes particles from the air down to 0.3 microns.

HEPA filters can do this, as will electronic air cleaners which can ionize and remove smoke and gas particles. Make sure you discuss filtration and cleaning with your HVAC contractor when they visit your home. To learn more ways to improve your home’s ventilation, give ACI Northwest a call!

Continue Reading

Things to Consider When Installing Geothermal Heating

Monday, May 21st, 2012

With energy costs rising and supplies dwindling, people are taking much more serious looks at alternatives that in the past have seemed unfeasible and too “weird” to realistically contemplate.  Available since the formation of the Earth, geothermal heating is one such resource.

Plentiful beyond imagination just ten feet below the surface, geothermal is being used to provide more than 30% of Iceland’s electrical needs and it is fast becoming a viable option to provide heat and electricity for your home as well.  Before digging straight down, however, it is important to look around and consider some important points.

Geothermal 101

Thermal energy is a force that is produced from the movement of warm temperature to cooler.  The term “geo” is from the Greek word for Earth.  Geothermal energy is the unlimited resource of power that is the result of the formation of the Earth billions of years ago (20%) and the on-going process of melting rocks nearing the core of that heat (80%).

From harnessing the energy of hot springs in ancient times to technological advances to create electricity today, geothermal has long been considered, but often was ruled out as an expensive and unnecessary alternative to other cheaper forms of energy.  Now that those are harming the environment, more expensive and harder to get, geothermal has grown attractive.

Location, Location, Location

Difficult to retrieve from deep within the Earth, geothermal is most often considered for large production where natural breaks in the crust such as volcanoes, hot springs and faults are close to the surface.  Just ten feet below the surface, however, there is enough temperature difference to make available enough to efficiently supply a home.

Still, it’s not a guarantee of success, however.  The density of the bedrock, the water table and the balance between extreme hot and cold temperatures with the temperatures of the thermal energy are all factors to be considered.

Dollar for Dollar

For new construction, geothermal is a great alternative because after the more expensive installation, the cost from month to month can produce enough savings to quickly pay for the system.  The savings are potentially so significant, there are situations where the cost of replacing an old inefficient conventional heating system can be neutralized by the savings in just two to ten years.

Beyond cost and feasibility, the comfort level is a major consideration.  One of geothermal energy’s major attractions is that to help save the Earth, it offers a better way to tap into the Earth.

Continue Reading

Adding a Circuit: Why You Should Hire a Professional Electrician

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

There are many repairs that a savvy homeowner can handle alone. Things like fixing a running toilet, draining and cleaning the water heater annually and even replacing a bathroom vanity are all projects that can reasonably be done yourself.

When it comes to electrical work, however, the job is best left to a skilled electrician. One such project that homeowners are not advised to tackle is adding a circuit to your home electrical system. This is for several reasons, including the complexity of the job at hand, the legal components of local building codes and ultimately, your safety.

 Not an Easy Job

Leaving aside for a moment the dangers of delving into your home’s wiring, adding a circuit is a difficult job to accomplish. Wiring a circuit is a job that requires some skill and training. There are lots of ways to do it wrong, but only one way to do it right.

There may be other challenges, too. For one, your breaker box may not accept another circuit, which means you would have to upgrade to one with a higher capacity. Right away, this project has gotten way more complicated than you would have liked.

 Knowing the Code

Building codes are often complex and difficult to follow, which is why electrical contractors have to spend hours in training learning about changes and modifications to local codes. If you were to inadvertently add a new circuit in a way that violated local codes, you could have a big mess on your hands.

In addition, many local codes prohibit anyone other than a licensed contractor from even performing electrical work– including the homeowner.

 Safety First

Lastly, but clearly most importantly, consider the safety issues involved. Electrical wiring can be a serious hazard, and not working with it safely can result in serious injury or even death.

Professional electricians are trained in how to properly and safely do electrical work so that no on gets hurt or worse.

The urge to do it yourself can be strong, and in many cases it’s OK to follow that urge, but adding a circuit is not one of those times. It’s not worth it. Call in ACI Northwest!

Continue Reading

Troubleshooting Thermostat Issues: Is it the Thermostat or Something Else?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

If the temperature in your Cheney home is too hot or cold, what is the first thing you check? Probably the thermostat. If you are a homeowner, you probably have played around with the setting on a thermostat, much to the chagrin of other occupants who don’t share your same comfort level. And if you try and adjust a thermostat at work – well forget about it. Most companies now have locking thermostats or “false” ones that don’t actually connect to the heating and cooling system.

So if you have a temperature problem, is it really the thermostat that causes it? Maybe yes and maybe no. One physical characteristic to check is the location of the thermostat. If it is in a drafty hallway or near a heat source, it only reads the temperature for that area and other parts of the building are neglected. You will often find more than one thermostat in a home that is tied into more than one furnace or air conditioner.

The older more popular round thermostats are manually controlled and do not adjust to any conditions in the home. They simply control the heating and cooling functions based on a human turning a dial. It’s as simple as that. So if you use this method to adjust the temperatures, blame yourself and not the thermostat. You might want to consider installing a digital, programmable thermostat.

With that in mind, let’s look at some typical ways to troubleshoot a thermostat.

  • Check the anticipator, which is a small metal tab on the front of the printed scale. Give it a light push in either direction. It may be stuck.
  • Clean the interior of the thermostat housing and clean the contacts (small metal plates)
  • Check loose wires or wires that may be corroded.
  • Read the thermostat manual (if not available, look online) for other tips such as ensuring there is voltage to the terminals.

If you have checked everything and the thermostat seems to be in working order, look for other things within the heating & cooling system. These include blocked or restricted registers and vents, leaks or cracks in ductwork, and dirty air handling filters.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading