ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Sandpoint’

Should Your Smoke Detectors be Hardwired?

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Common plastic white home smoke detector alarm, preventing an abnormal smoke in the room from perhaps a fire with a sound very loud. In the image, there is a big fire in the room and there is smoke that rises to the ceiling where is placed the equipement. This one is mounted on wooden ceiling. For example in France country, those smoke detector are required since march 2015. On the sensor is written that we should not paint it, and direction to open or close it, there is the test button because we need to check it regularly, and a red led indicating that the battery inside is always good.Hopefully, you already understand how important it is to have a functional smoke detector, a.k.a fire alarm, in each room of your house. This isn’t just one of those “good idea to have” kind of things—it is absolutely essential to the safety of your family and the protection of your valuables.

What many homeowners often don’t realize, however, is that they can and should have their smoke detectors hardwired into their electrical system, too. When it comes time to schedule this service, be sure to get in touch with expert electricians in Sandpoint, ID.

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How a Clogged Air Filter can Cause Furnace Problems

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The air filter is a relatively small part of the overall structure of a furnace. It is basically just a woven mesh, stretched over a frame and installed in the air return duct. Despite its small and simple construction, however, the air filter plays a very important role. Let’s take a look at how the air filter works, and why neglecting yours could lead to problems with your furnace.

The Role of the Air Filter

There is a lot of dust and other debris that is frequently circulated through the ductwork of a home. If that debris is allowed to infiltrate the furnace, it can cause all sorts of havoc with the system. The air filter is there to prevent that from happening. As the air from the ducts flows into the furnace, any airborne debris is captured in the fibers of the filter. The air itself passes through the filter and into the furnace, now free of harmful debris.

There is one problem with these air filters, however: they have no way to rid themselves of the particles they capture. This means that if they are not cleaned or replaced every few months, they can become so clogged that they restrict the flow of air into the furnace. That’s where things start becoming problematic.

Furnace Issues

There’s one very big problem resulting from clogged air filters that you should be aware of: short-cycling. This is when your furnace keeps turning itself on and off over and over again throughout the day. When the air filter restricts airflow into the furnace, heat becomes trapped inside the unit. When that happens, the internal temperature of the furnace rises to dangerous levels. This activates the limit switch, a safety device that monitors the temperature of the furnace. The limit switch shuts down the system to prevent it from damaging itself by overheating.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve the original problem. When the furnace cools off enough to start again, the clogged air filter causes it to overheat again and the short-cycling repeats indefinitely. This puts the entire system under a lot more strain than it is designed to handle, increasing the likelihood of a breakdown. If allowed to continue for a long enough period of time, short-cycling may damage the furnace beyond repair.

If you notice your furnace short-cycling, call ACI Northwest immediately. We provide furnace repair services throughout Sandpoint.

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Electrical Question: How Often Should I Check and/or Replace My Smoke Detectors?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The smoke detectors in your home are immensely important. They are the first and oftentimes only line of defense you have against a fire in your home. You need to know they will work at all times so it is important to check them regularly and have them replaced on a rotating schedule.

 When to Check Your Smoke Detectors

You should check the batteries in your smoke detectors once every 6 months – often daylight savings time is a good day on which to do this because it occurs roughly every 6 months. You can also check them more often if they do not have an electrical backup source and are therefore using battery power constantly. The packaging instructions will likely recommend a time at which to have them checked.

It is also recommended to have backup smoke detectors (as well as CO detectors) that are on a slightly different schedule so that if a malfunction occurs, you know you will still have protection.

 When Is It Time to Replace Your Smoke Detectors?

Most smoke detectors have a natural lifespan of 3-6 years. At the end of that lifespan, the device will beep in a certain configuration that means it no longer works. If this happens, you should replace yours right away. To avoid a situation in which the system doesn’t warn you before it breaks down, consider having your smoke detectors replaced even more often – upwards of once every 2-3 years.

Whatever your Spokane home’s smoke detectors’ specifications, it is vital to have them properly maintained and swiftly replaced according to their manufacturer designated schedules. This is a device that will keep you alive in the event of a fire so be prepared. If you need any help with your home’s smoke detectors, give ACI Northwest a call!

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Generator Tip: Common Problems

Monday, August 27th, 2012

When it comes to having a generator in your Spokane home for those unexpected power outages, it is important to be aware of some common problems that might come up.

Back Feed into Grid

Backfeeding into the power grid is dangerous and should never be attempted.  Most power grids are designed on the basis that power will flow in a single direction, out of the power grid.  If your generator is not set up properly it can accidentally back-feed into the grid, causing safety concerns.  That is why it is important to have a professional generator technician install your whole house generator.

Overpowered Generator

An overpowered generator that takes up too much propane or gas to run it can be pricey to run. It will give you power to most of your home, but that is often unnecessary, and most of the time what is needed during a power outage is only enough electricity to keep essential devices running.

Not Properly Ventilated

Emergency generators are designed to be in places where proper venting can occur, and many times this means installing it outside.  When a gasoline, diesel or propane generator is not properly ventilated it can cause build-up of dangerous gases.  Having professional installation of your generator will ensure that it is well-ventilated and will not cause problems in your building.

Improper Generator Maintenance

Like any other appliance or piece of wired hardware, generators must be properly maintained.  This includes periodic oil changes and filter changes so that when the generator is needed, it doesn’t seize up instead of properly powering a building.  With proper generator maintenance, you can expect your generator to provide worry-free back-up electrical power during a power outage for years to come.

ACI Northwest can help you with all of your generator needs in Spokane and the surrounding area. Contact us today!

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Electrical Question: What Size Generator Do I Need?

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Electricity has become so integrated with our day to day lives that it is easy to overlook the importance of a functioning electrical system. Like most other things, though, when your electricity isn’t working it becomes very clear very quickly just how much you rely on it. When your electricity goes out, whether from a storm, blackout or any other cause, a good generator can be a big comfort. Just as with a heating or cooling system, you should have a properly sized generator in order to get the best performance from it. Here are some tips to make sure you get the right generator for your Rathdrum home.

First of all, you must decide what exactly you’ll want to power when you lose electricity. What do you consider essential? This is important, so take your time and make a list. Any medical equipment is clearly a priority, but what about a full refrigerator? Your septic pump certainly needs to be powered, but does your climate demand heating and cooling power in your home? Once you have decided on the necessities you’re ready to get started.

It is important to remember that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to a generator for your home. Larger generators are obviously more expensive, and if you’re never going to approach its capacity then you’re just paying for potential, not performance. Even the biggest generator will not provide enough power to service every electrical device in your home, so some restraint is necessary. Whole home generators do not require you to decide what appliances are necessities, but they will not power everything all at once. The best way to ensure that you’re covered in the event of an energy loss is to calculate the amount of energy that the appliances in your home use, and find a generator with the capacity to provide at least that much energy. Remember that some appliances have different starting energy requirements than running loads, and that some appliances are always running.

There are numerous energy calculators available online that can help you decide what size generator you need. To eliminate as much guess work as possible, though, we at ACI Northwest suggest having a Rathdrum electrician come to evaluate your home. We’ll help you decide exactly which generator best suits your needs, in addition to providing expert installation, maintenance and repairs for your device. Call today with any further questions you may have.

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Air Conditioning Question: Why Is AC Air Flow Important?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Your Coeur d’Alene central air conditioning system is a pretty complicated piece of equipment; one that needs a lot of components working together seamless to efficiently cool your home. While keeping your compressor in good repair and your evaporator coil clean might seem obvious, many people don’t know how important air flow is for their air conditioning system to work effectively.

Air flow affects the speed of the air going over the evaporator coil. If the air speed is too fast, either because of blower that is too fast or incorrectly designed ducts, the air will not be cooled to the right temperature and it won’t be properly dehumidified. If the air flow is too slow, it can make their air too cold and might cause ice to form on the coil. Reduced air flow can be caused by a dirty air filter or by bent fins, both of which are relatively easy to fixes for an air conditioning contractor.

Duct problems might also cause issues with the air flow out of your air vents. Even if the rest of your system is functioning perfectly, leaky or broken ducts can prevent the conditioned air from reaching the right parts of your home. A professional can examine your duct system to see if it is the cause of the problem, and determine if you need duct repair to fix the air flow.

Whatever your air flow problem, ACI Northwest is here to help. We are available 24 hour s a day for any AC repair in the Coeur d’Alene area!

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Air Conditioning Guide: Quick Tips to Save Energy

Monday, June 18th, 2012

You’ve probably heard once or twice that the cost of running your Coeur d’Alene air conditioner is more than that of any other single electrical device in your house. That means you’re spending hundreds of dollars each and every year to stay cool. It’s well worth the investment as the risk of not having air conditioning is much too high, but there must be ways to cut the costs, right? With careful attention to how your AC operates and when you use, there are some things you can do to slash those costs. Here are a few of the easiest:

  • SEER Matters – What is this magical acronym you hear so much? SEER refers to how many BTUs your air conditioner can produce with a single watt of electricity. A low SEER device therefore uses a LOT more electricity to produce the same volume of cooling as a high SEER device. Since current devices offer SEER of 13 or higher (some are up to 20+), just about any upgrade will save you money relatively quickly if your current air conditioner has a rating of 8 or lower.
  • Program Your AC – If you have a single point analog thermostat, you’re wasting a LOT of electricity. You’re either paying to cool your house while it’s empty or you’re coming home to a roasting hot living space. Purchase a programmable unit and set the system to 85 degrees when you’re not home. With timers in most digital units, you can tell it when you’ll be home so that you walk into a cool, comfortable space without having to keep it cool all day long.
  • Use the Landscape to Your Advantage – Instead of relying solely on your air conditioner to keep the house cool in the summer, plant some trees and shrubs around the house to block the sunlight. Simply adding some shade to your property can directly reduce how much heat your home absorbs throughout the day and reduce how much your AC unit needs to work to keep you cool.
  • Ventilate Your Roof – A good third of the heat in your home is absorbed directly through the roof. To keep this heat from affecting the rest of your home, install a roof fan that ventilates the excess energy and keeps the attic at a steady temperature. Less heat up top means less cooling needed down low.

A good Coeur d’Alene air conditioning system is effective no matter what the temperature does, so it’s easy to forget how big your bill will soon be. To avoid an overblown bill, keep an eye on your cooling and follow these simple tips to cut back on use. For more information about how to efficiently cool your home this summer, give ACI Northwest a call!

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Heating Q/A: Why is my Air Handler Squealing?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

As a Sandpoint resident, do unusual noises ever come from your expensive heating system?  Do they make you worry that something is wrong?

It’s true that an unusual noise does often mean that you need heating system maintenance; however, a noise emanating from your HVAC system does not necessarily mean a major repair. You should always have a technician check out if you suspect a problem with your system, but not all problems are going to be expensive to fix.

One common noise that homeowners notice and complain about is a squealing noise originating in the air handler. Usually, this noise is coming from the fan belt that connects the blower fan and the motor. Over time, the belt can stretch out and become worn or misaligned, which makes it slip and generate that aggravating squealing noise.

So, while the squealing can be annoying and unpleasant, a slipping belt is by no means major. A belt is an inexpensive part and a technician can install it in just a matter of minutes.

As long as the noise is a squealing and not a grinding, this simple fix wil often take care of the problem. If you hear a grinding noise, however, immediately shut the unit down and call a technician. This may mean that your motor bearings are worn out and need to be replaced ASAP before further damage is inflicted on the motor itself.  Call ACI Northwest with any questions about your heating system.

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Getting a Heating Upgrade? Consider an Energy Audit First for Your Bayview Home

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Are you considering a heating system replacement for your Bayview home?

Good for you! After all, it’s usually a sound investment that generates savings both in heating costs and repair bills, plus it keeps your family happy and comfortable.

Before you take the plunge on new equipment, though, you may want to get a home energy audit. What you find may help you choose the right system or even decide you don’t need to make the leap after all.

A home energy audit is essentially an inspection by a professional of the materials used to insulate your home. This includes not just the insulation in the walls, but also the walls themselves, along with windows, doors and so on. The idea is to figure out how much heat is escaping your home to the outside, so an audit may also include looking at ducts, vents or anywhere else where air could flow through.

So what does an energy audit have to do with a heating upgrade?

Think about it like this. There are two ways to make your home warmer: increase heat gain (e.g., get a more efficient heating system) or decrease heat loss. If you are able to do the latter, you may find that the former is unnecessary.

For example, you may get an energy audit and discover that by installing new windows and resealing your doors, you can increase heating efficiency by 10%. This could have big implications for your decision to get a new heating system, as you may decide that you can save money by getting a smaller capacity furnace.

You may even realize that you no longer need a new furnace at all!

Of course, you may still need a new heating system regardless. This is possible, but if it happens, so what? You have lost nothing by getting the audit — and you may have learned something about your home’s efficiency — and you wind up with the new system you were going to buy anyway.

Either way, a home energy audit is a diligent first step in upgrading your home’s heating efficiency.  To lean more call ACI Northwest

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Common Air Conditioner Problems in Airway Heights

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Air conditioners are an important part of our lives here in Airway Heights. They keep us comfortable despite overbearing heat and humidity outside all summer, but because they run constantly for months and because they are such complicated pieces of machinery, they are prone to a number of problems. Here are some of the most common problems you’re likely to run into with an air conditioner and how to solve them:

Leaks

A common problem that many people ignore or are unaware of is refrigerant leakage. It is possible that when the system was installed, it wasn’t properly charged, but most of the time if your system is low on refrigerant, it is because of a leak. You can’t just pour more refrigerant in and call it good, though.

The leak needs to be fixed, both for health and environmental reasons. If you notice that your system is low on refrigerant or you smell something off – often like acetone, call a professional immediately for inspection and repair.

Sensors

An air conditioner doesn’t do you any good if the sensors don’t work properly. Improperly working sensors will fail to properly read the temperature in the home or from your thermostat. So, it might be 80+ degrees in your home but if the thermostat reads it as 72, the system won’t turn on. The air conditioner itself probably still works fine, but unless it can successfully read the temperature, you won’t get the cooling you need to stay comfortable.

Check first to see if the sensor was moved or knocked toward the evaporator coil (which will keep the temperature reading low).

Drainage problems

Your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier as well, producing a liquid known as condensate. This liquid usually drains from the air conditioner into a designated area away from your home. However, if the condensate drain gets clogged or if the system wasn’t properly installed, that condensate can start to build up in your home. If you notice leakage around the coils, you may need a pump to remove the condensate properly.

Properly maintaining your air conditioner can usually be done with regular maintenance each year, but if one of these problems pops up, call a professional and get them fixed right away.  If you have any questions about this please contact ACI NW.

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