Saving Money On HVAC Work

Leaky Water Heaters: Where Is The Water Coming From?

Finding a puddle of water on the floor by your hot water heater can be disheartening. Your first thought is probably that it’s time to replace the water heater. But while this is sometimes the case, there are many times when all you need is a quick repair. The key is to first determine where, exactly, the water is coming from. Here are the most likely culprits. The T&P Valve This valve is typically located on the side of the tank. It is designed to let some water out of the tank if the temperature and pressure become too high. If the water seems to be leaking from this valve, dry it up. See if any more leaks out in the days ahead. Chances are, the valve was just doing its job and nothing at all is wrong. But if the valve keeps on leaking, you’ll want to have your HVAC technician come look over the tank to find out why the temperature and pressure are high enough to cause the leak. The Water Inlets and Outlets At the top of the tank, there should be two pipes. One brings cold water into the tank, and the other sends hot water out. It’s not uncommon for the connection between the pipe and the tank to become a bit loose or for small cracks to form in these pipes. If the water seems to be coming from one of these pipes, your plumber may repair it by applying some epoxy to the crack, wrapping plumber’s tape around the pipe, or perhaps replacing the section of pipe leading into the tank. The Drain Valve At the bottom of the tank, there’s a valve that’s designed to allow you to drain the tank if need be. Sometimes, this valve can get jostled and accidentally opened a little. Check that this is not the case; if the valve is open a tiny bit, just have to turn it to the left a little to close it completely. If the valve keeps leaking after you close it, your HVAC tech can generally replace the valve without replacing the whole water tank. The Base of the Tank Is the water coming from a corroded spot on the bottom of the tank? Sadly, this means your tank really has reached the end of its serviceable period and needs to be replaced. Turn the water off to the […]

What Air Conditioning Maintenance Should Be Performed During Winter?

Although wintry weather can put your home’s central air conditioning system out of sight and out of mind, certain issues that tend to rear their heads during winter can cause major problems once the summer sun reappears. From frozen water in the coils to crushed leaves, twigs, and other debris clogging your air intake, you could find yourself dealing with a repair bill well before you’ve even been able to enjoy your air conditioning for the spring or summer. Read on to learn more about some of the maintenance you may want to perform on your air conditioning unit before the spring thaw.  What winter maintenance must be performed on a central air conditioning unit? In general, before retiring your air conditioner for the winter, you’ll want to perform a cleaning to ensure you’ve removed all leaves and other debris from the interior and around the exterior of the unit. After disconnecting the air conditioner from power, use a screwdriver to remove the fan cover so that you’ll be able to access the inside of the unit and remove any remaining litter. Having a clean unit before winter hits is key when it comes to preventing damage in the spring and summer. During this cleaning, you’ll want to carefully survey a number of your air conditioner’s parts — from the electrical cords traveling to the power supply to the fan blades and other visible elements. Frayed cords, exposed wires, or bent fan blades can all indicate issues that should be corrected before you attempt to operate your air conditioner again, while pooled water under the compressor unit could indicate a leak somewhere in the system. You’ll also want to cover your air conditioning unit with a custom-fitted tarp or canvas once you’ve finished the cleaning and inspection Doing so can prevent your unit from taking on debris during the winter and will shield it from the elements. What should you do if you notice problems with your air conditioner during the winter? If you notice visible issues or know that your a/c unit has taken a beating over the winter (for example, being pummeled with melting ice or falling icicles as it sits below a tree), it may be worthwhile to call in an a/c repair company just to give your unit a quick once-over and solve any issues that may have already developed. Because air conditioning repair isn’t generally […]

Keeping Pets Cool In Your Home When You’re Not Around

People who have pets really tend to care about them and want them to be as comfortable as possible. However, leaving on your air conditioning unit at full blast all day when you’re not home can really crank up your electric bills and increase your carbon footprint. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your pets cool during the summertime when you’re not home without upping your electric bill too much. 1. Pay Attention to Where Your Pet Hangs Out The first thing that you want to do is pay attention to where your pet is spending the majority of his or her time. The heat during the summer is not uniform, so it is smart to keep track of where your pet is to figure out if you truly need to leave the air conditioner on. If your pet is spending most of his or her time in front of the air conditioning unit, then that’s a good sign that you will need to keep it running, if at a slightly higher temperature, during the day. If your pet is chilling in various other parts of your home, simply having the air continue to circulate to increase the efficiency of his or her panting will be enough to keep your pet cool. 2. Make the Basement a Viable Option Next, if you have a basement, make it a viable option for your pet to hang out during the day because it tends to be cooler down there. The cool air from the air conditioner is going to sink to lower levels, so your pet will be able to enjoy the cool air longer if he or she is down the basement. Put your pet’s favorite blankets and toys down the basement during the summer and include a water dish so that he or she will be able to feel comfortable and welcomed down the basement. Once your pet has made the transition, you can reduce how intense your air conditioning is during the day. 3. Use a Dehumidifier If there is a separate dehumidifier on your air conditioning unit that you can leave on and turn the rest of it off, make sure that you do so. Your pet needs the air to not be saturated with moisture in order to make his or her panting effective for cooling him or her off. By leaving the dehumidifier on, […]

3 Key Facts About Heat Pumps That Can Determine If This Is The HVAC Unit For You

A heat pump is a handy HVAC unit that can replace your air conditioner, furnace, and even your water heater while reducing energy costs. The pump works by transferring heat from the air rather than creating heating or cooling. This type of setup has clear pros and cons that can help you determine if this is the type of HVAC unit that’s best for you.  Pro: Higher Energy Efficiency Energy efficiency is one of the main selling points of a heat pump. The efficiency comes from the fact that the pump moves rather than generates heat. What does that mean, exactly? The pump has some similarities to a central air conditioner unit that also contains a furnace: there is one part of the unit outside the house, an air handler inside, and refrigerant travels through both via compressor. But instead of generating the temperatures needed, the heat pump is designed to absorb ambient heat from either the inside or outside of your home. The pump absorbs ambient heat inside your home during the summer months to help cool things off then sends that air outside. During the cooler months, the heat pump absorbs the heat from the outside air and sends that inside to warm your home. Some electrical energy is still used in the transfer and circulation of the air, but not as much as a traditional HVAC unit. Pro: Can Replace Your Water Heater, Too A heat pump can be installed to also act as your water heater with the ambient temperatures applied to the water pipes as well as your vents. If you’re in need of a water heater at the same time as your HVAC system, a heat pump can offer financial advantages and even better energy efficiency. The heat pump water heater will apply the ambient air heat to the water pipes and your indoor temperatures. A heat pump system offers up to a 65 percent improvement on a traditional tank water heater. Add that to the approximately 5 percent of improvement over the most efficient traditional HVAC system, and you could end up with significant energy savings on your utility bills. Con: Only Works in Areas with Temperate Weather The main downside is that a heat pump only really works well in areas with temperate weather, which means the summers aren’t overly hot and are relatively short and followed by a long, mild “winter” […]

3 Ways to Improve Your Boiler’s Efficiency with the Addition of Solar Energy

The heating and cooling of your home is probably one of the biggest energy expenses you have. Energy improvements to your cooling or heating may be on the top of your list of improvements that need to be done for your home. With the winter cold right around the corner, now is a good time to start considering some of the ways you can save on heating when the weather starts to get cooler. One good way to do this is integrate solar energy into your boiler. Here are some of the ways that you can integrate solar energy into your boiler and home heating system. 1. Solar Water Heaters That Collect Energy from the Sun to Power Your Boiler Solar water heaters can be simple collectors—basically square panels full of pipes and covered with glass. This type of heater is one of the most affordable solar solutions that you can add to your home. This can be a simple solution to integrate solar energy into the design of your boiler. The collectors can heat water, which can go directly to your boiler, thus reducing the energy needed to heat water and providing your home with heating. 2. A Solar Panel to Produce Electricity and Power Components for Your Boiler Installing a solar panel can be something that you may want to do to reduce the electricity consumption of your boiler. The solar panels can be used to power different components of your heating, such as motors and heating elements. This may be an additional feature that you will want to consider adding to boilers that use alternative energy resources, such as a pellet. 3. More Efficient Solar Water Heaters and Storage Tanks to Give Your More Energy Some solar water heaters can be very efficient and even provide your home with all the hot water you need for sanitary use. One of these heaters can also be integrated with a boiler that is used for heating by adding a thermal storage tank, which can provide hot water for plumbing and the thermal energy needed to heat your home. This is best with an evaporated tube collector, which consists of pipes sealed in glass tubes for better thermal conductivity and energy efficiency. These are some of the ways that you can improve the heating in your home with solar energy. If you are ready to have solar energy integrated with […]

Common Causes Of The Compressor-Destroying Liquid Slugging Problem

The air conditioning process is dependent on the ability of the air conditioning system to convert liquid refrigerant to a gas and then back to a liquid. To cool air, the liquid refrigerant absorbs heat from the passing air. This usually causes it to evaporate. But since the system needs to reuse this refrigerant, the system has to convert it back into a liquid. Part of the conversion process involves compressing the refrigerant gas and this is what a compressor does. However, a problem usually arises when liquid refrigerant finds its way into the compressor. This is because parts of the compressor are designed to specifically deal with a gas. The presence of a liquid in this area is therefore something that they are not prepared to handle. As a result, parts of the compressor such as the piston, rotary vane pump and scroll spirals may end up getting damaged. This is what liquid slugging can do to your system. Here is what you should know about how this problem can arise. Refrigerant overcharge Under normal operations, the heat of the air passing over the evaporator coil is usually enough to convert all of the liquid refrigerant that is available in the evaporator coil into a gas. However, when there is too much of the refrigerant in the system, this heat is likely not to be enough to cause all the refrigerant to turn into a gas. As a result, some of the refrigerant may then enter into the air conditioner’s compressor while still in liquid form, something that may then cause extensive compressor damage. Malfunctioning thermostatic expansion valve The thermostatic expansion valve acts as a gatekeeper. It is tasked with the role of ensuring that only a given amount of liquid refrigerant finds its way into the evaporator coil. This is important as it ensures that the evaporator coil area is only fed with as much refrigerant as is necessary to cause cooling. This also helps to maintain the low-pressure-area quality of the evaporator coil. However, if your system has a defective thermostatic expansion valve, it may allow an excessive amount of liquid refrigerant to enter into the evaporator coil area. This is a problem since the warm air passing over the evaporator coil at any given time is limited. As a result, the heat available in the area will not be enough to convert all of the liquid […]

Thinking About Radiant Heating? 3 Things You Should Know

Building a custom home is great. You get to make sure that everything that goes into the home is exactly what you want. This includes all the operating systems, including your heating. When it comes to choosing the heating system for your home, it’s important that you take the time to understand everything you can about each option. Here are three things to think about if your considering radiant floor heating for your new home. Why You Should Choose It One of the problems with ducted heating systems is that they work against the fact that heat rises. This is particularly true if your vents are located on the walls or ceilings in your home. Warm air comes out of the vents over your head and immediately rises to the ceiling. With radiant floor heating, the heat radiates from the floors and slowly rises throughout the room. This allows the warmth to remain in the room long enough to provide maximum heating benefits. Another benefit is that it will keep your feet nice and warm during those cold winter months. Where You Should Use It Because the warm air has to radiate up through the floor, it shouldn’t be used in any room that is going to be carpeted. The padding and carpeting make it difficult for the warmth to radiate into the room. Instead, radiant heating should be used in rooms that are going to have either hardwood flooring or tile. If your main living quarters are going to be carpeted, you should install radiant floor heating in your bathrooms, mudrooms and kitchen. It’s important to note that you can install radiant floor heating in carpeted areas, but it will require a higher output, which may increase your heating bills during the winter. How It’s Installed There are two basic ways to install radiant floor heating. One way is to place the heating elements directly into the concrete subfloor. The other way is to install the heating elements on top of the concrete subfloor and then placing a plywood subfloor above that, which will create a sandwich effect for your radiant heating. Both types of installation will allow you to enjoy the maximum benefits of radiant floor heating. If you’re trying to decide on heating options for your new home, don’t forget about radiant floor heating. Use the information provided above to help you decide if floor heating is […]

Two Reasons Why Your Home Needs a Tankless Water Heater

If you’re in the market for a new water heater, you have a number of options at your disposal: a traditional, fully-tanked model; a hybrid water heater; a solar water heater; and a condensed version. But if you’re looking for the model that will operate as energy-efficient as possible, you should look no further than the tankless water heater. Instead of storing a supply of hot water, the tankless water heater uses hot coils to heat the water up on an on-demand basis. Learning more about the benefits of tankless water heaters can help you see why it’s the right choice for you. Tankless Water Heaters Save You Space One of the most compelling reasons why you should opt for a tankless water heater is because it is a space saver. If you live in a smaller home or apartment where every square foot of space is precious, the tankless water heater is the way to go. Instead of having to set aside a generous area to house a tank that may be holding several gallons of water, you’ll have a compact water heater model that can even be posted up on the wall so it takes up virtually no floor space. Keep in mind that poorly insulated, traditional water heaters are often quite hot to the touch. This means that you must keep everything a certain amount of space away from the hot surface. You can avoid this by hanging your tankless water heater on the wall away in a utility closet. Tankless Water Heaters Stand the Test of Time Another reason why it’s such a good idea for you to go with a tankless water heater model is because you want to make an investment that will last for as long as possible. The tankless water heater can help you achieve this. Tankless water heaters can last as long as 20 years, which is longer than conventional alternatives. Also, since they don’t have a holding tank for hot water, they are least likely to spring a leak, which could be quite costly should you need to repair or replace it. When you weigh the options, it’s easy to see why the tankless water heater comes out on top. Contact a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) specialist, such as Smedley & Associates, Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, as soon as possible so you can discuss your options for having a tankless water heater […]

What Areas To Check When Your Air Conditioner Is Not Working Properly

When your air conditioner is not working properly, you need to determine the cause of the problem. By checking a few areas first, you can try to determine which portion is not working so you can get it repaired in a timely fashion. Leaking Expansion Valve If you are noticing that the air coming into your home is not cold, you want to check the expansion valve. This valve removes the pressure from the refrigerant so that it can change from a liquid to a vapor. The vapor is then sent through the system to cool the air before it enters your home. When the valve fails to work, the refrigerant leaks out and the air going into your home does not cool down. When a leak happens, the exterior of the valve will have a frosty appearance from the excess refrigerant touching the metal of the valve. In this situation, you need an HVAC technician to repair your outside unit with a new expansion valve. Clogged Drainage Line Another issue that can stop your air conditioner from working is a clogged drainage line. The interior unit generates condensation during each cycle and it collects this moisture inside a drainage pan.  A problem occurs when the water inside this pan cannot leave through the drainage line. If this line clogs up, your air conditioning system will turn off to protect itself from the excess moisture. This type of clog is generally due to excess dust or debris that builds up around the opening of the drainage line. To see if this is your problem, you need to check the moisture collection pan that is attached to the furnace inside your home. If you find standing water in the pan, then you are most likely dealing with a clogged drain line. To handle this problem, an HVAC technician can use a hose to push air into the line. This will force the clog out of the line so the moisture collection pan can empty. Once the pan is empty, your system will turn back on. When your air conditioner is not working the way it should, there could be a few of reasons for the problem. By taking the opportunity to inspect these areas, you could potentially find the cause of your problem. With this information, you can then consult a local HVAC company, such as HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and […]

When Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

Many homeowners have heard of duct cleaning but are not sure when duct cleaning is appropriate and whether or not they need this service. Knowing when you should get this done and how you can benefit from this type of service can help you decide if air duct cleaning is right for your home. When should you clean your air ducts? Air duct cleaning doesn’t need to happen on a regular basis, but instead should happen when it becomes necessary. You should clean your ducts when: You suspect there is mold in your HVAC system. One of the greatest indicators that there’s mold in your system is a musty odor that’s most noticeable when the HVAC system is running. Your air ducts are visibly dusty. If shining a flashlight into your air ducts reveals a blanket of dust coating the inside, it’s probably a good time for duct cleaning. Your home seems to need dusting more frequently when your HVAC system is turned on. Your HVAC system should work for you, not against you. If running your air conditioner or furnace means that you have to clean your house more often, then it’s time to clean your ducts. Your HVAC’s air filters aren’t lasting as long. If air filters in your HVAC system are getting very dirty very quickly, this means that a lot of dust is circulating through your ducts as well as your home. What are the benefits of cleaning your air ducts? The most obvious benefit of cleaning your air ducts is the reduced amount of dust that your HVAC system will circulate around your home. Cleaning your air ducts may mean that you don’t have to clean as frequently when the furnace or air conditioner is turned on. If you or members of your household have allergies, duct cleaning may reduce the number of allergens and mold spores in the air, which can result in a better night’s sleep and better quality of living. Duct cleaning can also have a positive impact on the efficiency of your HVAC system. When the ducts are dirty and the air filter is dirty, this can contribute to the build up of dirt on the coils of the air conditioner and in other parts of the HVAC system. Dirt build up can cut efficiency and lead to break downs, so keeping your ducts clean can help extend the life of […]