Preventative AC Maintenance

air conditioningWithout question, the key to keeping your air conditioning system working right is preventative maintenance. Not only does it ensure all the parts are working well, but it helps you avoid spending money on costly repairs. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to perform preventative maintenance. Luckily, learning what you need to know isn’t difficult. If you’re dedicated to ensuring your air conditioning system works well and will keep working well for years to come, keep these things in mind.

1. Learn How Your System Functions

Every central air conditioning unit has two primary components – the evaporator and the condenser. The condenser unit tends to be mounted outside the house. Usually it’s placed at the back of the house, but sometimes it’s placed on the side. The evaporator coil is the part that sits above the furnace. The unit is attached to a forced-air distribution system. The ductwork that goes through your home is used to both heat, and cool. The A/C unit and the heater use some of the same parts to get this done.

Preventative Maintenance Concerns

If we’re being honest, no one wants to spend money repairing their A/C unit. There are simply so many other things that a person would rather spend money on. That said, refusing to perform the proper preventative care will result in paying money for that exact thing.

First, be gentle on your air conditioning system. In other words, make sure your air conditioning system doesn’t have to work too hard. This will help keep the motor and the other parts in good health, since they won’t have to work as hard to do their jobs. Check your home carefully. Make absolute certain that there aren’t any areas where cool air can easily escape. This ensures the A/C unit can properly cool the home.

Make certain you deal with the air filters. Change or clean them when necessary. Getting into the practice of changing your air filters is one of the simplest things you can do for preventative maintenance. It’s a simple task, but it can easily add years to the life of your HVAC system. Dirty filters can cause the fan to get clogged. When the fan gets clogged with dust and dirt, it begins to get weighted down. This results in your fan having to work that much harder to move, which in turn causes it to burn out its gears more quickly. Once the gears are burnt out, you’ll have to pay for repair or replacement.

Clean your air ducts. When dirt and dust clog up the air ducts, the flow of air gets restricted. As discussed with the fan, this causes the system to work harder than it should be working. In the more serious cases, it could cause motor burnout. If you want to avoid those problems, cleaning your air ducts on a regular basis is the way to go. And of course, this applies to fans and other moving parts, as well.

Preventative Maintenance Schedule Advantages

Most HVAC repair and installation companies offer maintenance schedules or programs. Many people pass on the idea, presuming they can save some money. Yet the moment there’s any problem, they’re quick to blame the installation company. If you’re not going to allow the HVAC company to perform maintenance, then you have to do it yourself. Otherwise, all you’re doing is putting your unit in unnecessary danger.

If you’re worried about money, consider how much it will cost to get your unit fixed. Then consider the fact that emergency services tend to cost double the normal cost. When you figure in that factor, preventative maintenance can save you far more than skipping it.

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Four Tips and Pointers On Hiring an HVAC Contractor

HVAC contractorDuring the summer heat nothing can be more frustrating than an A/C that is not properly working therefore the home is not being cooled off as it should be. Oddly enough by having simply performed some preventative maintenance this frustrating situation could have been completely avoided. It is however best to solicit the assistance of a professional HVAC repair specialist for the more complicated maintenance issues, this way your heating and cooling systems are working at their best and everything is running smoothly. Simple jobs such as the airflow clogging up, which is generally due to air filters being overly dirty can be done by you. If you are experiencing weak air flow and the filters are not dirty there could be an issue with the ducts or blower. If that is the case than a technician or an HVAC contractor should be hired to remedy those problems.

If you are considering hiring a technician or contractor, here are four things to be careful with:

Too Good to Be True

There is a saying which states if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”, if a deal seems too good to be true; beware. Through the year it is normal for HVAC companies to run seasonal and special deals. The companies that you want to be leery of are those offering service call at a far less expensive price then the other companies or those offering service calls free of charge. These companies are likely to have hidden fees which will be in various replacement or repair situations.

Low Price Estimates

It is a fact that we would all like to save money and not have to spend on expensive HVAC repairs, however if a price is too cheap it is likely an indicator or a technician or contractor who is cutting corners and not adhering to the manufacturing specs.

Not Much History

Statistically one out of every five HVAC business fail yearly, the longer a company has been in business the better their services will be. Look for a contractor or company who has been around for awhile, who has experienced the economic ups and downs for some time and is still standing, all this should be investigated prior to getting in touch with them.

Steer Clear of the Yellow Pages

Similar to rolling a dice at the casino, picking a HVAC repair technician or contractor from the yellow pages is a gamble. The end result is not guaranteed to be good. Many ads can be quite deceiving; it is best to thoroughly research any company you are considering hiring before giving them a call to talk business.

An Ounce of Prevention Is Better Than a Pound of Cure

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you should never wait to call in a HVAC repair technician or contractor until there is an actual issue with your heating and cooling systems. As with any other mechanical device the right amount of maintenance and care is needed for it to properly work and avoid failing or breaking down.

A qualified repair technician or contractor can provide routine maintenance services on your HVAC system which is highly beneficial. This guarantees not only a longer life span of your equipment, it will also provide better safety and higher levels of performance. This also guarantees that you will avoid expensive breakdowns and that your energy bill will be reduced as time goes by. When you invest in the services of a repair technician or a contractor you are saving money in the long run.

That contractor or repair technician will routinely service your HVAC system so that you benefit in the long run. This insures a number of benefits including better safety, extending the lifespan of your equipment, and improved performance of your system. Additionally, it ensures that costly breakdowns will be avoided and that your energy costs are significantly reduced in the long run. The investment you make when hiring an HVAC contractor or repair technician will more than pay for itself in the long run.

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Most Important Summer Plumbing Tips
  • Summertime means more dirty clothes. Make sure you check the washing machine hose for leaks, bulges or cracks. Remove the dryer lint on a regular basis. The hose should be replaced every three years.

  • The washing machine should be placed at least 04-inches from the wall in order to prevent hose kinks and damage. Make sure you don’t leave your home while the machine is running.
  • plumbingThe ductwork can sweat from condensation during the humid weather. It may cause backups if your drains are not clear. On the other hand, leaks in the seams also can cause condensation. Make sure there is no water in the drain pan if you have an attic installation. If you find water in the drain pan, call ARS / Rescue Rooter right now. It will help save your ceiling.
  • Look out for what you put down the kitchen disposal after cooking. Most of them are not equipped to handle celery, banana peels, corn husks, and other fibrous foodstuffs. Fats and cooking oil should also be kept away from the kitchen disposal system. They can form clogs in the pipes. Make sure you run cold water for at least 15-seconds (at full pressure) after you put down the disposal. This will help flush the disposal through. Never put potato mixes down the drain. They will create an immediate clog when water is added. Eggshells, rice, and pasta should also be avoided.
  • Save money and energy while on your vacation by turning down the temperature of your water heater as well as turning up the temperature of the refrigerator. Make sure you remove all the highly perishable stuff like meat and dairy foods first.
  • Schedule an annual maintenance inspection to prolong the lifespan of your plumbing system. It will help prevent any expensive repairs and replacements in the long run.
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Comparing Gas Absorption Heat Pump and Electric Heat Pump

heat pumpBefore we start with the comparison, let us define what a heat pump is.  It’s a device or an equipment that transfers heat from a low-temperature fluid to another that has higher temperature.  It got its name from that ability – carrying heat to higher temperature level from a lower temperature, which inverts the natural process of heat flow since it usually starts from a higher temperature and goes to a lower temperature.  This process can be related to a water pump that is positioned between 2 connected water basins placed at different elevation.  Naturally, water will flow to the lower part.  However, with the help of a pump, the water can be returned to the higher basin.

For every heat pump, there is a closed circuit which is where the refrigerant flows.  This refrigerant, according to pressure and temperature conditions, can take on a gaseous or liquid state.  What this circuit comprises differs from gas to electric heat pump.

Electric Gas Absorption
  1. Compressor
  2. Condenser
  3. Expansion valve
  4. Evaporator
  1. Generator
  2. Absorber
  3. Condenser
  4. Series of restrictors
  5. Evaporator

Both the evaporator and the condenser include heat exchangers.  These heat exchangers are special tubes where the refrigerant will flow.  The heat will be transferred from the evaporator which has the lower temperature to the condenser which has the higher temperature.

The refrigerant will undergo these transformations:

Electric Gas Absorption
  • Condensation: from the compressor, the refrigerant will turn to liquid from gas which will give off heat to the outside.
  • Expansion: once the refrigerant passes through the expansion valve, it will cool and will be partially transformed into vapor.
  • Evaporation: the refrigerant will evaporate completely as it absorbs heat.
  • Compression: refrigerant that is currently in gaseous state and has low temperature will be taken a higher temperature; it’ll undergo compression which allows it to absorb heat.
  • These are the transformations that happen in an electric heat pump. The compressor will provide energy to the refrigerant, the refrigerant will then absorb the heat in the evaporator from its surrounding medium, and will then be transferred to the medium (through the condenser) to be heated.
  • Condensation: from the generator, the refrigerant will turn to liquid from gas, which will give off heat to its external fluid.
  • Expansion: the refrigerant will be cooled as it passes through the restrictors.
  • Evaporation: the heat from the external fluid will be absorbed by the refrigerant and will turn to gas.
  • Absorber: an absorbing liquid will absorb the refrigerant which will turn it to liquid.
  • Generator: with the help of a gas burner in the generator, the refrigerant will be heated, evaporating it and increasing the pressure and the temperature.
  • These are the transformations that happen in a gas heat pump. The gas burner will supply energy to the refrigerant and as it passes through the evaporator, it’ll absorb heat from its external fluid, and it will then be transferred to the medium (through the condenser) to be heated.

These are what the heat pump does during operation:

Electric Gas Absorption
  1. It will consume electrical energy for its compressor.
  2. It will absorb heat in the evaporator from its surrounding medium (either air or water)
  3. It will give off heat to its medium so it can be heated in the condenser (water or air).
  1. It will consume LPG/natural gas in its generator.
  2. It will absorb heat in the evaporator from its surrounding medium (either air or water)
  3. It will give off heat to its medium so it can be heated in the condenser (water or air).


Electric Gas Absorption
  • For an electric heat pump, the efficiency is measured by its coefficient of performance or COP which is the energy it supplies divided by its consumption of electrical energy. Generally, it has an approximate value of 2.5, but the COP varied according to its type and operating conditions. This means that it will supply approximately 2.5 kWh of heat energy to the medium, for each kWh of electrical energy that is being consumed.
  • The higher the temperature (source) and the lower the temperature (in the condenser), the greater the efficiency will be.
  • Remember that the heat output is dependent on the temperature at which the pump absorbs heat itself.
  • The heat pump will be deactivated and the performance will be significantly reduced if the temperature of the cold source is within -2 degrees C and 2 degrees C.
  • For a gas heat pump, the efficiency is measured by its Gas Utilization Efficiency or GUE which is the energy it supplies divided by the energy the burner consumes.
  • The rate varies according to type and operating conditions and its general value is approximately 1.5. This means that it will supply 1.5 kWh of heat energy to the medium, for each kWh of electrical energy that is being consumed.
  • A gas heat pump is able to operate even at a temperature of -20 degrees C, which provides an efficiency of around 1. This is comparable to a condensation boiler.

These are the differences and similarities of a gas heat pump and an electric heat pump.  Knowing each would be able to help you identify the best heat pump for you and your home

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Types of Garage Heaters and How Much They Cost

Homeowners living in cold places, who likewise experience even colder winters, can benefit the most from garage heaters. It can save you from having frozen pipes and equipment, can provide warmth to cars over the night, and allow you to socialize or finish workshop tasks during the coldest months of the year.

Do you want to find out more about a garage heater installation? Read on and learn the essentials such as types and costs especially if you are planning on buying one for your garage

garage heaters

Types of Garage Heaters

Electric – Electric garage heaters effectively converts electricity to provide warmth in your garage. A lot of gadgets come with a thermostat and gauges to assist you in easily establishing and regulating the temperature.

You can mount most electric garage heaters on top of a garage wall or the ceiling. Most of them have a detailed manual that will teach you how to install it with ease.

The usual cost of an electric garage heater is anywhere in between $100 to $400. You can even install several of these units manually. Keep in mind, though, that using them can increase your monthly energy bill by $20 up to $100 each month.

Natural – Pilot igniters in natural gas garage heaters utilize the gas flowing through a valve to produce a flame within the heat exchanger. The fan distributes the warm air in the confined space. This type of garage heater can quickly heat up so you can use it to heat even larger areas. You won’t also need electricity when using this kind of heating equipment.

You need to link the gadget to your home’s natural gas line. Many products likewise include a comprehensive owner’s manual to teach you how to install the unit the right way, and then link it to a good ventilation system to get rid of deadly combustion chemicals emanating from your garage.

It is also an excellent idea to hire a professional technician, in HVAC or plumbing, to do the installation for you.

Take into account the cost of installation priced anywhere in between $500 to $2,000, depending on certain factors. The equipment itself costs from $400 to $800. A lot of these garage heaters have its own ventilation equipment. However, several companies sell these systems separately. You have to shell out extra $150 to $300 if the ventilation is sold separately.

Propane Gas – a propane gas garage heater produces a flame within the heat exchanger. Then, the fan distributes warm air into the garage. A propane heater is a powerful choice and very effective too.

Since this type of garage heater is highly flammable, you need to make sure that kids cannot easily access it and is likewise away from other flammable items.

Expect to spend about $150 to $450 for a propane gas garage heater. However, if the unit does not include its own ventilation system, you might need to spend some more.

Garage heaters come in handy for places no longer reached by a furnace, but you still frequent at times. If you can afford it, it is a great addition to your garage, so you stay comfortably warm while tinkering with your vehicle or doing a project in the winter.

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Essential HVAC Services HVAC Contractors Should Offer

Heating and cooling systems are prone to wear and tear over time and continued use. If you want to maximize its efficiency and extend its lifespan, regular maintenance such as changing of the filters and replacing worn parts can help you save money too. There are other essential HVAC services your contractor can do, so ask them what these HVAC services are that can be done to ensure your HVAC system will keep on heating cold winter nights and cool down scorching summer days for a long time.

HVAC services

If you fail to do these essential HVAC services in the maintenance of your system, it can lead to your system’s gradual deterioration, inefficiency, and high energy use.

Hire a professional HVAC contractor to conduct yearly pre-season inspections to make sure your HVAC system is ready for the challenge of working nonstop in maintaining home comfort. Homeowners should bear in mind that most HVAC contractors have a full schedule once the heating and cooling season commences, so schedule an AC inspection and maintenance during spring and the fall for your heating system. Take advantage of HVAC companies that offer rebates and packages at a discounted rate if they do maintenance for both your home cooling and heating system. And like any other sensible and practical homeowner, secure at least three quotes and make a comparison before deciding which one to hire.

Licensed and seasoned technicians can identify and repair problems with your HVAC system. But unfortunately, there are countless incompetent and unscrupulous contractors out there. Be very wary since incompetent HVAC technicians won’t be able to give you the right diagnosis and only do band aid solutions. So, learn to recognize which ones to trust and allowed entry into your home. Insist that they do the following HVAC services:

  • Make sure to fill-up the right amount of the refrigerant.
  • Use a leak detector when checking for refrigerant leaks.
  • Get all the refrigerant that needs to be removed from the system, rather than discard it into the atmosphere, which is considered illegal.
  • Check a central system’s ductwork and seal any leaks found.
  • Measure the air flow through the unit’s evaporator coil.
  • Make sure the electric control sequence is right to ensure that your heating and cooling system does not work at the same time.
  • Inspect, clean and tighten connections at electrical terminals and put a non-conductive coating when needed.
  • Check belts and oil motors for wear and tightness.
  • Check your thermostat’s accuracy.
  • Lubricate all parts that are moving. If there isn’t sufficient lubrication, it can result in
    friction in motor parts and consume more energy than necessary.
  • Inspect your central AC, furnace or heat pump’s condensate drain. Clogs can lead to costly water damage as well as affect the levels of indoor humidity.
  • Check system controls to guarantee safe and proper operation. Check the equipment’s starting cycle to make sure that the system starts, works, and shuts off correctly.

Cooling Specific

  • Clean your AC’s evaporator and condensing coils. Dirt buildup decreases your system’s efficiency making it run longer, use up more energy and shorten its lifespan.
  • Check your AC’s refrigerant level and make adjustments if needed.
  • Clean blower compartments and make adjustments to achieve the right system airflow for ultimate home comfort.

Heating Specific

  • Check all the oil and gas connections, burner combustion, gas pressure, and the heat exchanger.

These important HVAC services can help you make the most of your system. After all, you paid thousands in buying one and having it installed. Remember everything that was mentioned above and you’ll be just fine regardless of the changing of the seasons.

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