Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Archive for April, 2012

Outdoor Air Conditioning Components

Monday, April 30th, 2012

As long as all the parts are working well, your Canton air conditioning is a modern convenience we can easily take for granted and overlook. Cool air makes our lives simply better, but is a complicated process based on an old theory and modern technology.

No matter the size, in every unit, the basic purpose is one of extracting heat from the conditioned space and moving it to the outside, leaving cool air in its place. This process easily divides into indoor and outdoor components.

Air Conditioning 101

Utilizing the basic principal of thermal energy that heat gravitates toward cooler temperatures, compounds known as refrigerants travel through a closed looped system, repeatedly transforming between liquid and gas forms. Chosen for their ability to rapidly change at low temperatures, they alternately absorb and release heat along the way.

Having expanded to a vacuous state with plenty of room between molecules to absorb heat, the refrigerant is compressed tightly, condenses back into liquid form and releases the heat to the outdoors.

In the Box Outside

Placed on a small slab on the ground alongside many homes or on the roof of large buildings, air conditioning units contain the compressor and condensing coils that enable the main (and noisiest) function of the process.

The refrigerant is contained within a closed loop, entering the compressor as an expanded gas full of heat.  Under pressure, that heat is released when the molecules are squeezed so tightly together the refrigerant returns to its liquid state.

Then passing into the condensing coils, a series of delicate fins, the released heat is allowed to dissipate through the fins into the air where a small fan blows it away.  Water is also a by-product of the condensation and drains into a pan and eventually into the ground.

The condensing coil ends at the exchange valve where it is held to create just the right pressure for the evaporating coil indoors to operate at its maximum efficiency.

AC Maintenance

When maintained on a regular basis, the your Canton air conditioning system requires little attention and over sight beyond scheduled appointments with a company like Premier Indoor Comfort Systems.

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Common Causes of AC Short Cycling

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Air conditioning short cycling is a common problem wherein an air conditioning unit will have either short run times or short off times.  This type of quick movement back and forth between being on and off–or rather starting and stopping rapidly–can be detrimental to the overall life of your Atlanta AC unit, and is also not energy efficient.

AC short cycling can have many causes, and many fixes.  Below are the main causes for air conditioning short cycling, which can be checked, diagnosed, and fixed quite easily.

  • AC Refrigerant Leak:  There could be a refrigerant leak somewhere within the AC unit.  A temporary fix might be to add refrigerant and recharge the air conditioning unit, but long-term, an HVAC specialist will need to be contacted in order to find and fix the leak properly, ensuring excess money is not paid to continually add an unnecessary amount of refrigerant.
  • AC Coil Icing: This means that the evaporator coil or cooling coil has become encrusted with ice or frost and is causing the unit to malfunction by turning on and off in short bursts.  Turning off the unit completely and letting the ice melt, then checking and replacing dirty filters can oftentimes fix this problem.
  • AC is Oversized:  The amount of power needed (or the BTUs needed) to cool a space is directly proportional to the size of the space or room which is being cooled.
    • If AC short cycling has been a constant problem since day one of an AC system installation, it is entirely possible that the A/C unit is too large for the space which it is cooling.  This could mean contacting an HVAC technician to have the unit analyzed and a new, smaller unit put in.
    • If A/C short cycling is a relatively new problem, some possible causes could be: closing or opening doors which previously were not closed or opened frequently, or the addition of partitions within rooms which effectively makes the room size smaller.  This could mean simply adjusting the thermostat, or the blower fan to a lower speed to compensate for the change, or opening interior doors to increase the size of the space which is being cooled by the AC unit.
  • AC Control Board Problem:  While less likely, the problem could be in a control board or control switch which has been damaged, thus causing erratic and rapid starting and stopping cycles.  In this case an HVAC technician would need to be contacted in order to replace the broken control switch.
  • AC Compressor Damage or Start-Up Issues:  Some AC systems have hard-starting compressors which take time to re-pressurize properly after shutting down.  If the AC system is being turned on or off manually on a frequent basis, the compressor might have a hard time restarting because the high pressure which had built up on the previous on-cycle had not had a chance to come down to normal levels again.  An easy way to diagnose this problem is if after leaving the AC unit shut off for thirty minutes, the unit works properly after being turned on again.  To help this compressor issue, an HVAC service technician can add a starter capacitor to the AC unit.

These and other AC short cycling causes can be checked, diagnosed, and fixed quite easily by an experienced Atlanta HVAC professional. If you are experiencing any AC  problems, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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Atlanta Events: 42nd Annual Decorators’ Show House & Gardens

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Decorator’s Show House & Gardens will be open from April 21 through May 13, 2012. This nationally recognized event will support the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s (ASO) Education and Community Engagement programs, including the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Talent Development Program. Talented designers will take on various rooms and areas of the estate to showcase their esthetic. Support the Symphony and get inspired for your own decorating and home renovation projects.

Looking to install, repair, or service you home comfort system? Call Premier Indoor Comfort! We service all of North, South, East, and West Georgia, and Western North Carolina. Save now with up to $1,375 in rebates when purchasing a qualifying Lennox home comfort system, or get 18 months no interest equal monthly payment when you purchase a new home comfort system from Lennox.

Atlanta | Trane Rebate | Premier Indoor Comfort

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What You Need Know Before Installing Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Plentiful beyond imagination just ten feet below the surface, geothermal is being used to provide more than 30% of Iceland’s electrical needs and it is fast becoming a viable option to provide heat  for your Atlanta home as well.  Before digging straight down, however, it is important to look around and consider some important points.

Geothermal 101

Thermal energy is a force that is produced from the movement of warm temperature to cooler.  The term “geo” is from the Greek word for Earth.  Geothermal energy is the unlimited resource of power that is the result of the formation of the Earth billions of years ago and the on-going process of melting rocks nearing the core of that heat.

Location, Location, Location

Difficult to retrieve from deep within the Earth, geothermal is most often considered for large production where natural breaks in the crust such as volcanoes, hot springs and faults are close to the surface.  Just ten feet below the surface, however, there is enough temperature difference to make available enough to efficiently supply a home.

Still, it’s not a guarantee of success, however.  The density of the bedrock, the water table and the balance between extreme hot and cold temperatures with the temperatures of the thermal energy are all factors to be considered.

Dollar for Dollar

For new construction in Atlanta, geothermal is a great alternative because after the more expensive installation, the cost from month to month can produce enough savings to quickly pay for the system.  The savings are potentially so significant, there are situations where the cost of replacing an old inefficient conventional system can be neutralized by the savings in just two to ten years.

If you are thinking about Atlanta geothermal heating and cooling installation and you would like some more information, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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Air Conditioning Repair Guide: Condensate Problems

Monday, April 9th, 2012

The beauty of air conditioning is that we don’t have to do anything to live in a cool climate even when it’s boiling outside in Canton.  Programmed to adjust automatically, modern thermostats make it even easier.

It is very inconvenient therefore (not to mention uncomfortable) when our unit is not functioning properly forcing us to pay attention.  Suddenly over-heated, our first inclination may be to call for help, but often the expensive repair can be accomplished easily or avoided completely.

Air Conditioning 101

The process of conditioning air to a cooler temperature involves rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants.  These are compounds having properties that allow them to change from liquid to gas and back at low temperatures.

When the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas it absorbs heat.  Compressed tightly together again, the matter condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moist heat that must be released to the outdoors.

Over the course of handling the air to cool it, air conditioners are able to filter dust and dehumidify the air as well.  This release of moisture is why air conditioners have drains.

Condenser Coils

As the heat is removed from the gas, it forms condensation that must be drained from the system.  Tiny particles accumulate along the path, prone to shifting and resettling until they become lodged and can form a significant enough blockage to hamper the efficiency of the unit.  If the drain line becomes blocked, the unit drips or overflows the pan and works its way back into the house, causing damage and potentially mold.

This is when panic is inclined to call for the cavalry.

Easy Fix

A simple act of maintenance performed twice a year and requiring no tools can eliminate the problem and the risk of an unnecessary and expensive visit from a company like Premier Indoor Comfort Systems.  To check and maintain your condensate drain, the steps are the same for both window and whole house units.

On the interior side, remove the panel of the unit and find the drain line, usually a plastic tube.  If the pan is full of water, there is a blockage.  On a whole house system, find where the plastic tube exits the house, making sure that it is above ground and clear to drain away. Flush the line with a short burst from a hose.

Regular maintenance is simply a 1/2 cup of warm water poured down the tube to ensure a clean and free flowing pipe.

If your Canton air conditioning system needs a tune-up, call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to set up an appointment!

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The Danger of Refrigerant Leaks

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Your Atlanta air conditioner is filled with a chemical compound called refrigerant. This substance is what allows your air conditioner to remove heat from and dehumidify your home. It is a necessity, but it is also a dangerous chemical that, if released, can cause damage to the environment and pose health risks to your family.

 Why Refrigerant Is Dangerous

There are many types of refrigerant but most air conditioners use either R-22 or Freon coolant – depending on their age. Newer air conditioners may use R410-A refrigerant, an environmentally safer alternative.

All of these refrigerant types are chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. These chemicals are controlled substances by the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning they must be properly removed and disposed of. Because your air conditioner does not consume any of coolant in operation, it should never need to be refilled unless there is a leak. Such a leak should be stopped immediately due to the immense damage CFCs can do to the environment.

If refrigerant leaks into your home it will evaporate as a gas and is harmful to inhale, causing a variety of health problems, including nausea, headache and in extreme cases asphyxiation. This is not a common occurrence but if you suspect a leak, you should call an Atlanta air conditioning professional immediately to inspect your air conditioner.

 Damage to Your Air Conditioner

Beyond the environmental and health issues posed by a refrigerant leak, the biggest problem you will face is damage such leaks can cause to your air conditioner. Low refrigerant levels put undue stress on your compressor and can lead to damage in almost every part of the device.

Not only that but the air conditioner won’t work as efficiently. A 10% loss in refrigerant volume can result in up to a 20% increase in electricity cost to run your air conditioner.

 What to Do in the Event of a Refrigerant Leak

If you suspect a refrigerant leak in your air conditioner, take action immediately. Call a certified Atlanta HVAC technician who can recapture the escaped gasses and seal the leak fast. It is important not just for your safety but for the wellbeing of the environment.

If you need any repairs on your AC this season, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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