Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year’s Eve from Your Georgia Area Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Happy New Years! We hope you have a great time tonight welcoming in the New Year and saying goodbye to the old. Forty-five percent of people make New Year’s resolutions; ours is to serve our customers even better than we did last year! If one of your resolutions is to make your home more green, remember that improving your insulation, sealing up any air leaks, and upgrading your HVAC system can have a big impact on your energy usage. A makeover for your house is great way to start off the year; it will make your home more comfortable and more environmentally friendly!

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Sizing a Tankless Water Heater for Your Powder Springs Home

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Tankless water heaters are gaining popularity among Powder Springs 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 plumber. While the flow rates and temperature rise for most household appliances are fairly standard, these numbers can vary because of several factors that plumbers 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, which is another reason to talk to a licensed plumber.

If you aren’t sure what type or size of tankless water heater is right for your Powder Springs home, call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to speak with one of our professional plumbers. 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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Question from Alpharetta: Do I Need Battery Backup For My Solar Panels?

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Solar power is  a great way to get energy for your Alpharetta home – clean, cheap, readily available in near infinite supply. But what happens when the sun doesn’t shine? Sure, UV rays still reach the Earth and provide solar energy on a cloudy day, but not as efficiently as in bright sunshine. What if it rains for a few days? What about the winter months when sunlight is in shorter supply?

These are all logical questions for anyone considering switching to solar energy. After all, without sunlight, your home could be without power and then what do you do? There are a few solutions to these issues, including a battery backup system. Before deciding one way or the other on a battery backup, there are a few things to consider.

Are You Staying On The Grid?

If you plan to keep you home connected to the local utility grid and use the two energy sources to supplement one another, then there is no real reason to have a backup system. Effectively, the electric company serves as your backup system, so if your solar supply runs low, you can use “regular” electricity by buying power as you need it and selling back any excess. If you are getting off the grid, however, and using solar or other alternative energy sources for 100% of your energy needs, then you will need to have some kind of backup system in place.

Battery or Generator?

Aside from battery systems, using a generator as a backup is another option. Generators work well and can produce enough electricity to power a home, but they can also be rather noisy and require you to have a fuel supply (usually propane or gasoline) on hand. They are best suited to short periods of use.

If you want to get completely off the grid, and you plan on needing backup power more frequently that a generator would be convenient for, then a batter backup system may be for you. Such a system requires installation of additional components, including not just the batteries but also an inverter and extra wiring. This means extra cost to you, and extra maintenance down the road. The batteries will also need to be replaced as they become depleted and unable to hold a charge.

These are many issues to be aware of in deciding whether a battery backup system is right for you. Strictly speaking, most home solar energy won’t need a battery backup, but it may be appropriate or necessary depending on your needs.

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Merry Christmas Eve from Your Atlanta Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Merry Christmas everybody! Santa is delivering presents tonight and we hope you get everything you want under the Christmas tree. The holidays are all about spending time with your friends and family, we hope you have a great day full of love and laughter. To help make your Christmas as happy as it can be, here is a recipe for Whole Wheat Ginger Snaps:

Whole Wheat Ginger Snaps

“Spicy and chewy Ginger Snaps made with all whole wheat flour. Yummy!!”

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup molasses

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 cup white sugar for decoration

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar until smooth. Mix in the eggs, and then the molasses. Combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, heaping the measures if you like a lot of spice. Stir the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture just until blended.
  3. Roll the dough into small balls, and dip the top of each ball into the remaining white sugar. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are cracked. Bake longer for crispy cookies, less time for chewy cookies. Cool on wire racks.

For more details, visit allrecipes.com..

And if you haven’t done so yet, remember schedule the annual maintenance of your heating system. Maintenance will cut down on future repairs and keep your system working as efficiently as possible, saving you a lot of money in the long run. Don’t be left out in the cold this winter!

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Testimonial from Ed R.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

There are many reasons why you might like to have a new HVAC system installed in your house. Newer systems are much more energy efficient, so a new furnace and air conditioning system can help your cut down on your utility bills. New HVAC equipment also comes with some great features, like programmability and variable speed air handlers, that makes it much more convenient to use. A new heating and air conditioning set up can really make your whole house more comfortable.

At Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, we pride ourselves on our great service. Our installers are some of the best in the industry and we try our best to exceed all of your expectations. Here is what Ed R. in Atlanta wrote to us about his furnace and air conditioning installation:

They installed a new air condition and furnace. Install went great, workers were friendly and cleaned up after they were done. They did a great job.

– Ed R.

Thanks Ed! Don’t forget that even if you have a new system, regular maintenance is important to keep it functioning at peak efficiency. With a good maintenance plan your new system will last you for many years to come.

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Happy Hanukkah

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish friends! We hope you have an amazing Festival of Lights and enjoy spending time with your friends and family. The holidays are a great time to be thankful for all of the good things in life, and we thank you for helping our business prosper.  Since of one the traditions of Hanukkah is great food, here is a recipe for Potato Pancakes:

Potato Pancakes

“Keep this one in your recipe file because it ‘s perfect and simple Grated potatoes, a bit of onion, an egg, and enough flour to hold this masterpiece together. Shape into patties and fry to a crusty, brown crispness.”

INGREDIENTS:

4 large potatoes

1 yellow onion

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

ground black pepper to taste

2 cups vegetable oil for frying

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Finely grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid.
  2. Mix in egg, salt, and black pepper. Add enough flour to make mixture thick, about 2 to 4 tablespoons all together.
  3. Turn oven to low, about 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
  4. Heat 1/4 inch oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Drop two or three 1/4 cup mounds into hot oil, and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain, and keep warm in low oven until serving time. Repeat until all potato mixture is used.

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

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Furnace Maintenance in Union City

Monday, December 19th, 2011

There’s not much you can do to control higher utility bills from fuel price increases in Union City, they are like death and taxes. But there are some things you can do to make sure that your furnace runs efficiently all winter long.

You can’t go back in time but you may want to consider “summerizing” your furnace after you shut it down in preparation for the cooling season – or during the cooling season. Have a qualified heating and cooling technician give your furnace an inspection and cleaning.

A preseason inspection and cleaning will prevent some problems that may affect some of your senses later on. For example, a smell coming from your furnace may indicate a burning or smoldering electrical component. A noise may indicate a noisy fan or a loose belt, causing poor or no airflow. Touching your ventilation system and feeling for any vibration can indicate poor airflow. Visually checking your instruments like thermostats for verifying proper temperatures or a digital readout on our carbon monoxide alarm for any traces of harmful gas are also important to furnace start-up.

If something goes wrong, don’t blame it on your thermostat or the cold weather; blame it on a lack of preventive maintenance. Your best bet is to have a qualified service technician do a clean and inspection – to minimize any surprises and to keep you and the occupants of your home comfortable and safe while your furnace continues another season of hard work.

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Propane, Oil or Natural Gas: Which One Should I Choose in Peachtree City?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

In most cases, you’ll have a choice concerning what type of fuel you’d like your furnace to burn in your Peachtree City home. For most people, this choice comes down to propane, oil or natural gas. The one you choose could significantly impact the cost of heating your home for many years to come, but it’s usually a pretty clear cut decision.

One thing to remember is that most furnaces that burn natural gas can also burn propane. If you don’t yet have a propane tank but are considering getting one, you might not have to make a final decision just yet. Although it’s generally better to set up your furnace for one type of fuel and then leave it that way, you will likely still have the option of converting later on if you should choose to.

If you do have access to natural gas, though, that’s probably going to be your best option. Furnaces that burn natural gas or propane are generally much more efficient than any other type of furnace on the market. You can get them with annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings as low as 80% and as high as 97+%, so that ensures that you’ll be able to find the one to fit your specific situation.

If you’re facing particularly harsh and frigid winters, you’ll want to choose the most energy efficient option available to you and that’s pretty much always going to be a natural gas furnace. Of course, when you’re looking to decide between natural gas and propane as a fuel source, you’ll just want to compare the relative cost for each in your area. For some people natural gas is cheaper, while it’s propane for others. And since your furnace will operate at the same efficiency no matter which of these fuels you choose, you just need to choose the cheapest.

Oil is certainly an option as well, but if you’re looking for a very high efficiency furnace, you’re not going to find one that burns oil. That doesn’t mean that an oil burning furnace might not be a good investment for you. If you don’t have access to natural gas in your area and your heating load isn’t that high, oil might be a perfectly economical choice for you.

If you do opt for a super high efficiency furnace, but don’t have access to natural gas lines, propane is probably the way to go as opposed to oil.

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How to Fix a Faulty Furnace Blower

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The blower fan on your furnace is designed to distribute warm air through the ductwork in your Atlanta home evenly, ensuring you use all of the energy consumed by your furnace. If the blower doesn’t turn on when the furnace turns on or it continues to run when the furnace is off, it can cost you money and result in cold rooms. Here are some tips on how to fix a faulty furnace blower.

What is the Problem?

First, check to see what the problem is. If your furnace blower remains on all of the time, it may be a thermostat issue. Make sure the fan isn’t set to stay on continuously (a common setting for most air handlers). You should also check the limit control switch to make sure it is working properly. If this is broken, it needs to be replaced which is a relatively simple fix.

If the furnace blower isn’t turning on at all, you may have a belt problem. This can be fixed by you if you have the proper tools. To repair the belt problem, first turn off all electricity to the device. You’ll need to remove the old furnace blower belt, so release the tension in the pulleys before removing the belt.

Installing a new belt is not unlike doing so for your car. Make sure to check the blower or your user manual for proper tension when you install the new belt. Make sure you purchase the right size belt and set it to the right tension. If you cannot or you do not feel comfortable doing so, you should call a professional to inspect and repair the problem for you.

Getting the Blower Back Up and Running

Once your new belt is in place, test the system carefully, starting with the lowest setting (if there are variable settings). If it does not yet work or if something sounds strange, call a technician right away. You don’t want the motor to burn out or something else more substantial to go wrong with your furnace or air handler during the middle of the winter.

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Big Canoe Heating Service Tip: Why Does My Furnace’s Pilot Light Keep Going Off?

Monday, December 12th, 2011

If you have an older furnace with a gas pilot light and it keeps going out, heating your Big Canoe home can become a frustrating process. Not only are you forced to trudge downstairs to light it every time you need heat, but you’re probably starting to worry that there is something wrong – either with your furnace or with your gas supply. Here are some possible reasons for your pilot light shutting off and what you can do about them.

  • Thermocouple – The thermocouple is used to generate electricity from the gas being burned by the pilot light to power the sensor that keeps the pilot light running. So, if the thermocouple goes bad or gets blocked in some way, the sensor won’t work properly and your pilot light won’t remain lit. Even a small problem with the thermocouple can lead to the valve closing and the pilot light going out.
  • Gas Pressure – If the gas pressure going to your furnace is too low, due to a leak, pipe problem or another appliance, the pilot light may not have enough gas to stay lit. While it is possible that the problem is not related to gas pressure, anything that affects the flow of gas into your home should be inspected by a professional. If you smell gas, leave the house and call your gas company immediately.
  • Mercury Sensor – The sensor in your pilot light that maintains the flow of gas to keep it lit can go bad. Keep in mind that these sensors almost always used to contain mercury (and often still do), so you should be careful with them. It’s best to call a professional who can replace and dispose of it properly.
  • Dirty Burners – Excess dust, lint, rust or sulfur build up can result in blockage of the burner holes. When this happens, gas will flood into the chamber but not light right away. When it does finally light, it will create a small boom or banging sound that will often put out the pilot light. Not only is this inconvenient, it is very dangerous. Fortunately, it can be avoided with annual cleanings of your furnace.

The best way to keep your pilot light lit at all times is to have someone inspect it once a year. If something happens in between, you can usually rule out cleanliness issues and call in a heating contractor to check the thermocouple and sensor.

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