ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Spokane County’

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!

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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!

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Does Humid Air Affect How The AC Runs in My Home?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

As a Spokane County resident you’ve probably heard a dozen times that humidity is removed by air conditioning. Unfortunately, the common assumption is that there is no inherent cost in allowing humidity to persist in their home. But, did you know it costs significantly more to remove humidity from the air with air conditioning than with a dehumidifier? Here’s why.

Water Vapor in Your Air Conditioner

Consider the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of water by one degree – one BTU. However, to change water from liquid to steam, another 10 BTUs are required. So, imagine how much energy it takes to condense water vapor from the air (in the form of humidity) into a liquid. This is what your air conditioner does whenever it processes humid air. It takes about 1,050 BTUs to condense one pound of moisture in the air into liquid.

The cost of running your air conditioner strictly for dehumidification can be huge, especially considering the fact that humidity is heaviest in the morning and evening when you probably don’t need your air conditioner every day (at least not early and late in the summer). Imagine, the cost difference if you used a dehumidifier to remove 150 or more pounds of moisture per week and an air conditioner when needed just to remove 15-20.

Negative Impact on How it Runs

Another thing to consider is that humidity can actually put an extra burden on your air conditioner. While the system is designed to remove that liquid from the air and get rid of it through the cooling coil and condensate drain, every extra minute the system is running is a bigger burden on it. Of course it will do its job for a few years, but the extra running time will add up, not only on your electricity bill but eventually on the machine itself.

The added pressure will result in eventual breakdown of the system and a need for early air conditioner replacement. The easiest solution is to purchase a dehumidifier. These run at a fraction of the energy level of a full AC system and work extremely well to remove humidity from your home. In fact, most air conditioners will only remove humidity after 20-30 minutes of continuous operation. For short cooling cycles, you may not even dehumidify the house. So a dehumidifier ensures higher levels of comfort all at a lower cost.  Please contact ACI NW if you have questions about this.

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Heat pump maintenance, the right way

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Heating and cooling your Spokane County home is a priority. You need your home and family to be comfortable all year round, so you either got or are considering a heat pump. These machines are great because under the right circumstances, they are essentially all-inclusive and incredibly efficient solutions for all your home heating and cooling needs.

Notice the “under the right circumstances” part. A number of things have to be considered when choosing a heat pump, such as the climate and the size of your home. But these are not the only circumstances that influence how well your heat pump works for you. Proper heating system maintenance is a vital component of heat pump ownership, ensuring that you get the best performance out of your heat pump for the longest time possible.

A major part of properly maintaining any machine is to keep it clean. A heat pump is no exception. Dirt and dust can affect the efficiency of your heat pump, as well as speed up corrosion problems. Keep the compressor and coils clean. Check them monthly or so and remove any accumulated dirt. Also, consistently check and change filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Simple cleaning is an easy and effective first step to heat pump maintenance, but there are some things that you just won’t be able to do on your own. For more intensive maintenance, it is best to call in a professional for an annual inspection.

During a routine maintenance check of your heat pump, a technician will inspect the whole heat pump system for problems. He will clean the compressor and coils, tighten any connections that may have loosened up and change the filters as needed. In addition, a skilled technician will be able to detect any early signs of trouble and make necessary repairs to prevent break downs. These small repairs can prevent big problems later on, thereby preventing some serious discomfort and a possible big expense.

If you are considering a heat pump as a heating and cooling solution for your home, great. If you have already decided on one and had it installed, congratulations on making a smart decision. Now, make another smart decision to protect that investment by keeping your new heat pump properly maintained.

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0% Financing for 36 Months-Trane XLi Systems and Trane Comfort Controls

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Imagine coming home everyday to an environment that’s as fresh, clean and healthy as it is comfortable.  Now is the perfect time to make that a reality, with a Trane High Performance Heating and Cooling System.  And with 0% apr financing with equal payments for 36 months, it’s never been so easy to own one.

Maximum comfort, lower heating and cooling costs, clean indoor air, and affordable payment options – that’s the Trane difference.

Purchase a qualifying Trane XLi System and Trane Comfort Control and receive 36 months no interest 

ACI Northwest Heating to choose the system customized

to fit your family’s needs.

208-772-9571 or www.acinw.com

See your independent Trane dealer for complete program eligibility, dates, details and restrictions.  Special financing offers valid on qualifying systems only.  All sales must be to homeowners in the United States.  Void where prohibited.   The Home Projects Visa card is issued by Wells Fargo Financial National Bank. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit at participating merchants. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. 0%/12 Months: Regular minimum monthly payments are required during the special terms period.  Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date at the APR for Purchases if the purchase balance is not paid in full within the promotional period. 0% APR/48 Months: The minimum monthly payment will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the special terms period. For newly opened accounts, the regular APR is 27.99%. The APR will vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate. The regular APR is given as of 1/10/2012.  If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00.  The regular APR will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions.   If you use the card for cash advances, the cash advance fee is 5.0% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10.00.  Monthly payment if shown based on $xx purchase.

 

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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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Airway Heights Heating Guide: How to Make Your Heating System More Effective

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Everyone wants an effective heating system in Airway Heights– one that will provide steady, reliable heat without you having to spend hundreds of dollars each month on gas, oil or electricity. And while the best way to improve the efficiency of your heating system in most cases is to upgrade it, there are some simple things you can do around the house to boost its effectiveness. Here are some of the best:

  • Rearrange Furniture – Just having the heat on doesn’t necessarily ensure the heat entering your room is being distributed evenly. Move your furniture in such a way that there is a clear, unimpeded path from the registers and radiators to the rest of the room. Done properly, this will make it much easier to and faster to heat every room of your house.
  • Maximize Air Flow – Air flow can be maximized in a number of ways. Make sure you close any windows near a register or radiator and that you remove any large objects that might block air flow. You should also install things that can help move air like fans and always call someone in for changes to the arrangement of your vents or radiators.
  • Clean Registers or Radiators – The cleaner your radiators or dust registers are, the more efficiently they release their heat. Not only have that, but clean radiators and registers resulted in better indoor air quality. Weekly cleaning of each room’s heating source is highly recommended.
  • Install Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans switched to blow down are incredibly effective for distributing air throughout the room. This will keep push warm air down and keeps cold air up – in effect, reducing the need for constant running of your furnace or boiler.

Effective heating is important to keep your home comfortable, reduce the cost of heating and prolong the lifespan of your furnace or boiler. You should also make sure your heating system is properly maintained throughout the year. Skipping maintenance visits (which are highly recommended annually) will put unnecessary stress on your system and shorten its lifespan substantially, not to mention the decrease in efficiency when heating your home.

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Heating Installation Guide: What to Expect in a Low, Medium or High Efficiency Furnace

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

When buying a new furnace in Deer Park, you have many options. You can purchase a low end model to save money up front and you’ll still get exceptional fuel efficiency, but as you go up the scale, more innovative, money saving features become available. Here is a brief look at what you can expect based on which type of furnace you purchase.

Low Efficiency Furnace

This is a bit of a misnomer as even entry level furnaces have efficiency ratings of at least 80%. For comparison, if you’re still using an old gravity furnace, your efficiency rating could be lower than 50%. Modern furnaces are built to conserve, and while you won’t receive all of the bells and whistles that tend to accompany high efficiency models, you will get a durable, affordable furnace that will last a long time.

Medium Efficiency Furnaces

Furnaces in the mid-efficiency range have AFUE ratings of between 85% and 92% and are therefore significantly better than those in the entry level range. They also have some of the higher end features available in high efficiency models like programmability and the option for zone control. Because they are still mid-range, they are affordable without skimping too much on features too – a must for any homeowner wanting to save money on both ends.

High Efficiency Furnaces

The highest efficiency furnaces on the market are very different from those you would have purchased even just 10 years ago. Top end furnaces can carry AFUE ratings of up to 95% with a boat load of added features to conserve energy. These features include two stage gas valves so you can maintain a low BTU heating system for most of the year but crank up the heat when the temperature outside drops too low. They are also programmable, which allows you to easily change the temperature settings, fan speed and more from anywhere in the house.

And while they cost more to install, high efficiency furnaces use less energy over their lifespan, last longer and are more environmentally friendly than any other furnaces on the market in Deer Park today.

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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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