Premier Indoor Comfort Systems Blog

How Capacitors Work in an Air Conditioner

April 21st, 2014

In towns like Atlanta, air conditioning systems are as important as running water. Hot muggy summers can turn your house into a steam bath without a reliable air conditioning system to help you through it. When repairs are needed, a good service can be your best friend, though it helps to understand some of the basics of air conditioner operation so that you have a better idea of why things go wrong. Take the capacitor, for instance. It’s a vital part of the air conditioning system and when it runs into trouble, it usually requires the services of a professional to repair or replace.

How Capacitors Run Your Air Conditioner

The capacitor works in conjunction with the compressor and the fan motor. It’s used to store an electrical charge, though the exact purpose of the charge varies depending upon the capacitor.  Run capacitors work to maintain a regular voltage for the components to which they are connected, as well as increasing the torque (the force of rotation) when the motor or compressor first starts up. Start capacitors are more limited, and are just used to provide torque for the start up. They shut down once the air conditioner is running.

In both cases, a faulty capacitor means that your air conditioner won’t start up, or at best will start up under extreme strain and duress. Without the compressor, the refrigerant gas can’t create cool air and without the fan motor, that cool air won’t be blown into your home. The good news is that a trained technician can usually repair or replace the capacitor without a whole lot of fuss. He or she needs to test the voltage and find the correct rating, as well as the proper microfarad rating for the part. Once he or she has that information, electricity can be turned off for the unit and the capacitor can be repaired or replaced.

Here in Atlanta, air conditioning repair can’t afford to fall down on the job. We pride ourselves on our reliability, for your capacitor or any other problem your air conditioner might have. Call us today and let us show you what we can do!

For more on how capacitors work in an air conditioner, or to schedule an appointment to get yours repaired, call the experts at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems.

Air Conditioning Repair Issues: Fan Problems

April 11th, 2014

A central air conditioning unit is a complex piece of machinery, but it helps to understand it if viewed as two larger operations working together. First is the refrigeration operation, the part of the AC that handles removing heat from one place (indoors) and then placing it elsewhere (outdoors). The second is the distribution operation, which takes the product of refrigeration (cooled air) and sends it out into the rooms of your house.

Fans are an important part of both operations: they draw air across coils to allow for heat absorption and release, and they send air through the ductwork toward the vents that open onto your living spaces. Without correct fan operation, an air conditioner faces trouble on two fronts. You can lose your cooling power, airflow, or both because of fan issues.

Malfunctions in fans need professional repairs, as do most issues in an air conditioner. For excellent air conditioning repair in Atlanta, GA from a company that always aims for 100% customer satisfaction, call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems.

AC Fan Troubles

A basic problem an AC fan can encounter is having its blades bent because of debris (gravel, stones, etc.) that enters the cabinet. A bent blade will begin to strike its casing, causing more damage—but at least it will create a loud clanging noise to alert you of the trouble.

Older air conditioners have fan belts connecting the blower motors to the fans. These belts will eventually suffer enough wear and tear (especially without regular maintenance) that they will fray and break. Not only will this stop the fan from working, but the belt will snap around the air handler and injure other components. Don’t try to change this belt yourself: it isn’t like fixing the engine belt in a car.

A fan can freeze and stop working because of heavy dirt and dust contamination. You will need a repair technician to open up the cabinet and dismantle the fan to clean it thoroughly. In some cases, the fan’s engine may also need replacement. (To avoid problems like this in the future, regularly change the air filter and schedule annual maintenance to clean the unit.)

Call Repair Technicians to Investigate Fan Problems

Not all fan failures stem from the fan itself: the system may have electrical problems or thermostat issues. When you detect trouble with an AC fan, call for experts to analyze the problem and find a proper solution.

Turn to Premier Indoor Comfort Systems for air conditioning repair in Atlanta, GA that will protect your home’s comfort. We have an excellent track record with heating and cooling homes since 1999.

Does Discolored Water Mean I Must Replace the Water Heater?

April 4th, 2014

When you turn on a hot water tap on your sink, or perhaps in your bathtub, and you notice a rusty-brown coloration in the water that flows out, it usually means there is trouble inside your home’s water heater, possibly because of corrosion. You may have heard that at the first sign of rust inside a water heater, you need to have the whole unit replaced.

However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Before you call up for water heater replacement, look over these possibilities. Then call a trusted water heater technician to inspect your system and see what he or she can do to repair the system; if it needs replacement, the tech can assist you with finding the right unit.

Premier Indoor Comfort Systems has been a trusted name in water heater installation in Bryson City, NC since 1999. Call us for fast, effective, and honest service.

Causes of Discolored Water

If your water heater isn’t old (under 10 years) and you’ve kept up regular maintenance on it, it’s doubtful that it needs replacement because of brownish water. The water discoloration may come from your plumbing if you have old steel pipes, and not from the water heater at all. The discoloration may also come from the municipal supply, so run cold water from the faucet as well for a stretch to see if it also comes out with thatr rusty hue. If it does, then there’s trouble with your water supply and you should contact the local water utility company.

Problems that could come from the water heater itself are often due to lack of maintenance. (You should have maintenance scheduled once a year from a trusted company.) The anode rod that keeps away corrosion from the tank can have rusted all the way through and start allowing rust to enter; you’ll need repairs fast to prevent the corrosion from spreading. The discoloration can also occur because of a build-up of sediment inside the tank. During regular maintenance, technicians will flush out the tank to stop this accumulation of particles from the water gathering too thickly. Flushing the tank often eliminates the issue of water discoloration—and gives your heater a longer lifespan.

However, it’s sometimes true that your water heater will need to have a complete replacement. If the unit is older than 15 years, then it might have reached the replacement stage already. Call a water heater specialist for a professional verdict, and follow the specialist’s advice.

For excellent water heater installation in Bryson City, NC, contact Premier Indoor Comfort Systems. We aim for 100% customer satisfaction on every job we do. Don’t guess when it comes to your water heater: call us!

Some Contaminants That Duct Cleaning Will Remove

March 28th, 2014

You should schedule cleaning for the ductwork in your house every one or two years, depending on how much dirt, dust, and other pollutants build up in it. Cleaning will help your HVAC system work at its most efficient and make your home much cleaner.

Most important, however, is that duct work will prevent the contaminants that gather inside ducts from escaping to pollute the air in your home and lower its quality.

With proper cleaning from professionals with the best equipment, you will have the majority of the contaminants inside your home’s ventilation system eliminated. But you do need to hire professionals, since accessing the extensive set of ducts in a house on your own is impossible without the right training and equipment. For complete duct cleaning in Atlanta, GA, call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems today.

What Duct Cleaning Will Remove

  • Dust and dirt: The most common contamination that enters a ventilation system is old-fashioned dust and dirt, which the return vents of the HVAC system draw in as it gathers in a house. Even a thin coat of dust is enough to restrict the airflow from your forced-air heater and air conditioner, and you don’t want to have dust constantly circulating through the air you breathe.
  • Animal hair: If you have pets in your home, their hair and dander will start to gather in your ductwork, and make life more difficult for people with allergies to airborne pollutants.
  • Pollen and other allergens: Another problem for people with allergies—but which can affect anyone in large enough quantities—are allergens such as pollen. These are a leading cause for people developing flu- and cold-like symptoms because of low indoor air quality. Cleansing the ducts is a major help in eliminating these irritants from your house.Pest infestations: Insects and small animals will hide or make nests inside the protected dark of ducts, leaving behind hair as well as droppings. Among the smallest of animal pollutants are dust mites, microscopic creatures that live off biological components inside dust.

Indoor Air Quality Experts

Duct cleaning is one step towards healthier air inside your home. Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems and speak to our air quality experts to find out what else we can do to improve your quality of life with better air in your home. Along with our Atlanta, GA duct cleaning services, we offer installation of air filters, electronic air cleaners, air purifiers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and special UV germicidal lights that will destroy any bacterial infections inside your ventilation. We can start with duct testing to determine what exactly needs remedy inside your home’s air circulation.

You don’t have to live with contaminated air… call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems today.

What Sort of Heating Repair Do Geothermal Systems Need?

March 19th, 2014

Geothermal heating has started to spread to residential use, and homeowners across the country are discovering the advantages of using the stable, natural power of the earth’s heat to bring comfort to their living spaces. Geothermal heat pumps offer reliable, quiet performance that saves money and reduces the impact on the environment.

People still hesitate about geothermal installation, however, because of worries about initial costs and the problems from repairs. Geothermal heat pumps work using underground pipe loops that carry heat from the ground into a unit inside a home, and it takes a great deal of work to dig the trenches for those pipes. However, repairing a geothermal heat pump isn’t as difficult as people think, as we’ll explain.

For assistance with geothermal heating repair in Bryson City, GA, contact our specialists at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems. We offer comprehensive installation, repair, and maintenance services.

Geothermal heat pump repairs

The repair problem that most people think will afflict a geothermal system is leaking in the ground loops. But this is an uncommon issue, and the underground pipes can often last 50 years without needing replacement. Even when they do develop a leak, it isn’t as arduous a problem to fix as people imagine. A technician inserts a colored dye into underground loops, and then traces the dye’s appearance on the surface to target the leaks. This way, it requires only a small amount of excavation to fix the leaks.

Most of the other repairs that a geothermal system can require are the ones that any heat pump can encounter. Burned out motors, stuck compressors, and broken reversing valves need to be replaced. Leaking compressors lead to a drop in refrigerant, and the refrigerant must be recharged. Start and run capacitors malfunction and must be swapped out. All of these are basic repairs little different from standard air-source heat pump repair and don’t require any excavation.

Is geothermal worth the cost?

It’s true that a geothermal system requires a larger upfront installation cost than most other home comfort systems, but their efficiency means they will pay back their price tag in 5–10 years, and with their longevity they will have many more years of saving you money. If you have a home and property suited for geothermal, you should definitely give it serious consideration.

Call up Premier Indoor Comfort Systems today to schedule an appointment to find out if your home will benefit from geothermal. Call us for any installation or heating repair in Bryson City, GA that you need.

Ways to Tell You Need Duct Cleaning

March 12th, 2014

You should have regular duct cleaning done every one or two years to make sure you have high indoor air quality, as well as a clean, efficient heating and cooling system. However, sometimes your ducts can get especially congested with dust and dirt and you’ll need to schedule cleaning earlier.

Here are some tips from our Peachtree City, GA duct cleaning specialists at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems on how you can detect the need for cleaning:

  • Make a physical check: Take a small mirror or a digital camera and go to one of the more easily accessible vents in your home. Unscrew the grill from the vent. Reach down inside the vent with the mirror or camera. Look into the mirror or snap a flash picture with the camera. The image you get back will give you a good idea of what the interior of most of your ductwork looks like. If see something that looks like the lint catcher of a dryer after a load, then you have ducts that need cleaning… soon.
  • Your heating/cooling bills increase: Even a thin layer of dust on the interior of your ductwork will create friction against the passage of air from your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump. This will make the system work harder and drain power. If you’ve seen a rise in your utility bills that you can’t account for because of malfunctions, breakdowns, or increased use, you may have dirty ducts.
  • Noticeable flu- or cold-like symptoms: If you notice that people in your home are experiencing symptoms that resemble allergies, the flu, or the common cold, contamination in the ductwork could be lowering the quality of your air. Look for headaches, nausea, runny nose, eye irritation, skin dryness, breathing problems, and difficulty sleeping. People in your house who have allergies will experience worse symptoms.
  • The house is always dusty: If a dirt-clogged ventilation system is constantly circulating dust through your home, you will have a hard time keeping it clean no matter how much sweeping and vacuuming you do. A consistent layer of dust over everything could mean you need to hit the source: the ducts.

This is a job for professionals

Sticking the hose of a vacuum cleaner into an open vent won’t get your ductwork clean. You need experts with agitation equipment and power vacuums to access your whole network and eliminate the ground-in dirt. If you think you have a dust contamination in your ductwork, contact Premier Indoor Comfort Systems and speak to our indoor air quality experts. They will help you schedule duct testing and cleaning in Peachtree City, GA that will give you clean air, a cleaner house, and efficient heating and cooling.

Ways to Avoid Heating Repair at the End of the Season

March 3rd, 2014

We’re coming to close of winter and end of the heating season. The furnaces and boilers will settle into summer hibernation, and the heat pumps will switch over to air conditioning mode. Or at least, this will all happen in theory. March and April can still send come cold shocks through us, and you need to make sure your heater is prepared so you can avoid heating repair in Atlanta, GA during the tail-end of the season.

At Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, we’re familiar with the sort of problems that can affect heating after a few months of colder weather. We have some suggestions for how you can avoid needing to call for repairs for your heater:

Have regular maintenance done (if you haven’t already)

We recommend that you schedule your annual maintenance visit for your heating system in the fall to prepare it for the colder weather. If you didn’t have it done in the fall, it’s never too late. You heating system will have experienced a large amount of wear and tear during the winter, so it’s imperative to have it adjusted, cleaned, and tuned-up so it won’t experience malfunctions.

Change the air filter

We hope you’ve regularly changed the air filter for your furnace or heat pump—once a month, preferably—during its periods of greatest use. If you haven’t changed it, do so now: a clogged air filter can lead to contamination in the cabinet and serious airflow problems.

Don’t overwork the heater

Since we’re moving into the warmer season and you will need the heater on less, keep it off as much as you can to reduce the stress, or keep it at a lower level and put on an extra layer of clothing.

We need to stress something: if you do end up needing repairs this late in the season, don’t put them off because of the arrival of warmer weather. The last thing you want when you need to activate your system once again in late fall is to have the heater break down because of a neglected repair. Call for heating repair in Atlanta, GA as soon as you know you need it!

Premier Indoor Comfort Systems is here to assist you with all your heating needs. And soon, we can assist you with all your cooling needs as well! We’re ready to help you no matter the season.

Solar vs. Geothermal: Which One Is Better?

February 26th, 2014

Here in Atlanta, there are many different ways to heat your home, including some environmentally friendly options. Geothermal systems utilize the constant temperature beneath the earth to warm you home, while solar panels can collect the energy in sunlight to provide energy for heating. Both have considerable advantages, including low monthly costs, durability and environmental friendliness. But does one have a tangible advantage of the other? Solar vs. geothermal: which one is better?

Certainly solar panels don’t provide as much energy as geothermal systems do, at least at this point in time. They need a great deal of square footage and the power supply is obviously less effective on cloudy days. However, you can tie most systems into the grid as a backup for days when you need more energy. Solar heating does well if your home’s square footage is small and your winters are mild. Solar panels also benefit from being comparatively easy to access, making it easier to maintain and repair them over time.

Geothermal systems, on the other hand,  draw on the ambient temperature of the earth, they aren’t affected by seasonal conditions, and once they’re set up, they provide regular heating with a minimal of effort. They work by running tubes of liquid underneath the ground, which circulate and facilitate a heat exchange with the surrounding earth. That makes them very efficient. Unlike solar panels, however, they require a huge amount of effort to set up, and repairs to the tubes can be very costly since they require excavation in order to treat.

Again, when pondering solar vs. geothermal, you have to keep your individual circumstances in mind. Here in Atlanta, heating options of all sorts are available, but one size does not fit all. The experts at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems have experience with a large number of heating options, and can discuss them all with you before performing a high quality installation. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

Why Won’t My Gas Furnace Work When the Power Is Out?

February 17th, 2014

When a power outage occurs, we can rely on a few systems to continue running, such as phones. However, modern gas furnaces won’t provide you with heat when the power shuts off because they contain a number of electrical components. Although this loss of heating is inconvenient, the electrical systems inside a gas furnace are important for the safe operation of the furnace: you wouldn’t want to be without them during times when the furnace is running.

We’ll explain in more detail why most gas furnaces will not work during a power outage. If you need help keeping your furnace in Swain County, NC running safely and effectively, call on Premier Indoor Comfort Systems and our trained and EPA-certified technicians.

The Electrical Side of a Gas Furnace

The main electrical system that will prevent a furnace from turning on if the power fails is the electrical igniter. These ignition systems have started to replace the old-fashioned pilot light as the method for starting the burners. They are safer and more reliable than pilot lights. (Please, please, do not try to use a match or a lighter to ignite the burners on your own if the electrical ignition goes out. This is extremely dangerous.)

A key electrical component in your gas furnace that monitors safety is the gas valve. This valve closes off the flow of gas in the main pipeline into the furnace so it will not flood the combustion chamber and risk an explosion. The valve is electrically charged when open, so if the power should go out, the valve will automatically close to prevent further gas flow. This is definitely a system you want protecting you should there be a power failure.

Two other important components that require electricity are the blower fan motor and the digital thermostat. Loss of the thermostat means you cannot control the furnace, and loss of the blower means no air will go anywhere.

What You Can Do About Your Furnace in a Power Outage

If the furnace is your only electrical concern during an outage, portable generators can hook up to the furnace to supply sufficient power to run the required electrical systems. You should consult with an HVAC technician to see how to make the connections, since generators can be fire hazards if used incorrectly.

Make certain that the electrical systems in your furnace are all working properly with regular maintenance. During an annual visit, a technician will test the electrical components in your furnace to make sure they are doing their job and keeping you safe. Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to schedule maintenance, or for any urgent repairs you need for your furnace in Swain County, NC.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems hope you have a wonderful February 14th!