Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Acworth’

Heat Pump Maintenance

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Heating and cooling your Marietta home is a priority. You need your home and family to be comfortable all year round, so you either got or are considering a heat pump. These machines are great because under the right circumstances, they are essentially all-inclusive and incredibly efficient solutions for all your home heating and cooling needs.

Notice the “under the right circumstances” part. A number of things have to be considered when choosing a heat pump, such as the climate and the size of your home. But these are not the only circumstances that influence how well your heat pump works for you. Proper maintenance is a vital component of heat pump ownership, ensuring that you get the best performance out of your heat pump for the longest time possible.

A major part of properly maintaining any machine is to keep it clean. A heat pump is no exception. Dirt and dust can affect the efficiency of your heat pump, as well as speed up corrosion problems. Keep the compressor and coils clean. Check them monthly or so and remove any accumulated dirt. Also, consistently check and change filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Simple cleaning is an easy and effective first step to heat pump maintenance, but there are some things that you just won’t be able to do on your own. For more intensive maintenance, it is best to call in a professional for an annual inspection.

During a routine maintenance check of your heat pump, a technician will inspect the whole heat pump system for problems. He will clean the compressor and coils, tighten any connections that may have loosened up and change the filters as needed. In addition, a skilled technician will be able to detect any early signs of trouble and make necessary repairs to prevent break downs. These small repairs can prevent big problems later on, thereby preventing some serious discomfort and a possible big expense.

For more information about heat pump maintenance or to schedule a service, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

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How to Avoid Mold Problems and Rust Issues in HVAC Blower Compartments & Ductwork

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Mold and rust are not just unsightly, they can be corrosive to the structure of your home and possibly hazardous to your health. One of the last places you want those two things to take root is within your Atlanta AC system, where they could be hidden from view for months.

So, follow this brief guide to prevent mold and rust problems from developing.

Use high quality filters

A poor air filter lets through all kinds of contaminants, including organic matter. If mold spores get into your blower compartment or ductwork, it can bloom undetected for quite some time. Use a high quality filter that keeps out mold spores and other biological contaminants.

Keep filters clean

The best filter in the world is no good if it is too dirty to function, so keep yours clean. Replace and/or clean them regularly in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.

Pay attention to and fix leaks right away

The big problem with both rust and mold is moisture. Excess moisture that gets inside your AC system can wreak havoc. The water can corrode the metallic parts inside, giving rust free reign of your blower compartment or ductwork. Even worse, if water is added to some of those mold spores from the poor filter (see #1), the environment is perfect for mold to grow.

So, be aware of things like wall and ceiling leaks, wet insulation or moisture accumulating around the blower compartment. These are not uncommon problems with AC systems because of coil icing, poor condensate drainage and other issues, and they can easily turn into mold and rust problems if left unchecked.

Be aware of humidity

If your home is too humid, even while the AC is running, get it looked at. This could be a symptom of an extra moisture source somewhere.

Have AC problems fixed professionally

Finally, when you do run into problems with your Atlanta AC system, have them professionally repaired. Many AC issues are related or the symptom of a larger problem, so fixing one thing may not solve the real issue. De-icing the condenser coil, for example, but not fixing the associated leak, could mean that the problem will come back, and in the mean time there’s plenty of water to cause rust and mold problems. For any AC repair in the Atlanta area, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

 

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Major Components of an Air Conditioner

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Ever wondered how your Marietta air conditioner that keeps you cool all summer actually works? How exactly does it use electricity to create cool air and dehumidify your home? It’s actually an ingenious bit of technology developed over a century ago using four major components and a thermostat.

How these parts are implemented may change depending on the type of air conditioner you have and how much space it’s tasked with cooling, but the following components are standard in all AC units:

  • Evaporator – There are two sides to an air conditioner – the warm side and the cool side. The Evaporator is on the cool side and is paired with a fan that blows air over the coils. The air then chills and blows into your home to keep you cool.
  • Condenser – The condenser is the device responsible with transferring heat within the air conditioner. An air conditioner doesn’t actually make anything cool – it just removes heat from one environment and places it into another. By removing heat from one set of coils and transferring it to another, it creates the cooling effect that the evaporator then uses to cool your home
  • Expansion Valve – The expansion valve is responsible for regulating how much refrigerant passes into the evaporator coils. This refrigerant immediately expands when it reaches the evaporator coil due to the pressure drop.
  • Compressor – Once the refrigerant has depressurized and turned back into a gas, it is passed to the compressor which is then tasked with converting it back into a liquid and passing it into the warm part of your air conditioner.

And of course, this entire mechanism is monitored and regulated by a thermostat which tells the air conditioner when to turn on and what level of cooling is needed by your home. The system can also be setup in one of a couple different ways. Self-contained units, like window units, house the entire mechanism in a single box, while a central air conditioner separates the two units – the hot side with the compressor and condenser are placed outside the house.

Because there are so many parts and they work in harmony to create the cool environment you want, your Marietta air conditioning system needs to be carefully maintained. Regular maintenance is a must for every component. To schedule regular maintenance or for any questions about your home’s air conditioning system, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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Learn More About Air Filters and Mold

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Among the potential problems that can plague Acworth homeowners, mold is particularly frustrating. It is persistent, the spores are tiny and easily spread and it can be hazardous to your health.

Preventing a mold problem involves properly ventilating moist areas, such as bathrooms, to prevent mold from thriving in the moisture. It also means spotting and eradicating any patches of mold that do manage to take hold. Perhaps most importantly, it also means keeping mold out of the air in your home.

Mold particles and spores can readily break off from a mold colony can get into the air. Eventually, they can be drawn up into your HVAC system and redistributed throughout your house. Once airborne, they can settle elsewhere to start new mold growth or wind up in your lungs, potentially causing respiratory problems.

Simply put, having mold in your home is a health risk, so you want to keep it under control as much as possible. The best way to keep out of the air is with an air filter.

The good news is that most mold spores are rather large (relatively speaking), so a HEPA air filter installed in your air handler can remove them from the air pretty easily. They are often 3 microns in size or smaller, so a filter with a MERV rating of 8 should do fine, although some spores can reportedly be as small as 1.5 microns. If you want to be very vigilant, or if anyone is your home has a particularly sensitive respiratory system, you can get a filter with a higher MERV rating of 12 or so.

Also, UV germicidal lights can be a good addition to your HVAC system. These lights emit UV radiation that is safe for humans to be around, but kills many microorganisms, including mold spores. They also kill bacteria and other pathogens that can cause disease.

In addition to proper ventilation, a quality filtration system can effectively eliminate the health risks to your family caused by mold. If you would like an indoor air quality system installed in your home, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

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A Guide from Hampton: What to Expect in a Low, Medium or High Efficiency Furnace

Monday, December 5th, 2011

When buying a new furnace for your Hampton home, you have many options. You can purchase a low end model to save money up front and you’ll still get exceptional fuel efficiency, but as you go up the scale, more innovative, money saving features become available. Here is a brief look at what you can expect based on which type of furnace you purchase.

Low Efficiency Furnace

This is a bit of a misnomer as even entry level furnaces have efficiency ratings of at least 80%. For comparison, if you’re still using an old gravity furnace, your efficiency rating could be lower than 50%. Modern furnaces are built to conserve, and while you won’t receive all of the bells and whistles that tend to accompany high efficiency models, you will get a durable, affordable furnace that will last for quite a while.

Medium Efficiency Furnaces

Furnaces in the mid-efficiency range have AFUE ratings of between 85% and 92% and are therefore significantly better than those in the entry level range. They also have some of the higher end features available in high efficiency models like programmability and the option for zone control. Because they are still mid-range, they are affordable without skimping too much on features too – a must for any homeowner wanting to save money on both ends.

High Efficiency Furnaces

The highest efficiency furnaces on the market are very different from those you would have purchased even just 10 years ago. Top end furnaces can carry AFUE ratings of up to 95% with a boat load of added features to conserve energy. These features include two stage gas valves so you can maintain a low BTU heating system for most of the year but crank up the heat when the temperature outside drops too low. They are also programmable, which allows you to easily change the temperature settings, fan speed and more from anywhere in the house.

And while they cost more to install, high efficiency furnaces use less energy over their lifespan, last longer and are more environmentally friendly than any other furnaces on the market today.

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How Much Can I Expect To Save On Energy If I Have A Solar Heating and Cooling System? A Tip From Acworth

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Everyone in Acworth knows about the benefits of solar energy for the environment. It reduces carbon emissions, preserves nonrenewable natural resources, reduces dependence on oil, etc. That is all well and good, but in tight economic times the question always comes down to one thing: how much will you save. People want to know how much going solar can really save them on costs, and if you are reading this, then you are probably wondering the same thing, and with good reason.

Savings Are Variable

Somewhat disappointingly, that’s the answer. There a number of factors to consider in the cost of using solar heating and cooling and the subsequent savings, and after considering all of them you may decide solar isn’t right for you. There is no one right answer, but below you can see some guidelines which ought to give you a better idea:

  • Energy costs for an average American household are estimated at about $195 per month, and rising at a rate of about 3.75% each year.
  • Despite the high initial cost, many solar systems are under warranty for 25 years, meaning you can expect them to last at least that long.
  • Depending on the utility price structure in your area, using solar for 50% of your household energy consumption may reduce costs by as much as 60%. Over 25 years, assuming the steady rate increase of 3.75%, your savings can be upwards of $60,000.

Keep in mind that these are only rough estimates. Research utility costs in your area and get estimates before installing. Solar energy calculator utilities are available online. You may find that you can use a system to offset a portion of your energy use, like the SunSource® Home Energy System, is the best option. Or, you may even find that solar energy is not the right option for you. The important thing is to do your homework and choose the home energy solution that is best for you and your family.

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Is Your Home More Valuable with Energy Efficient Appliances? A Question From Fairburn

Friday, September 16th, 2011

It’s impressive the things people do to improve the value of their Fairburn home. We’re talking about crown molding, new floors, new siding, upgrades to the landscaping and much more. The cost of upgrading these things can grow out of hand quickly and if the boost to your home’s value isn’t equally exponential, it’s hard to justify the expense.

So, it’s always nice to find a simple upgrade that can be performed for a few hundred dollars that will save you money immediately and improve the value of your home in the future. Your appliances are one such upgrade.

The Value of Energy Efficiency

An energy efficient washing machine can save upwards of $150 per year on water costs. An energy efficient toilet cuts consumption by as much as 150%. Low flow shower heads cut water costs by one third to one half and your heating and air conditioning systems can be improved by 10-35% depending on the upgrades available to you.

When you add up all those savings, the result is a tremendous amount of money that can be saved each year on everything from your water bill to your cooling needs. Imagine what happens when someone looks to buy your home. They see that there are all new appliances with energy efficient ratings that will save them money.

It’s not just lower bills; it’s a decrease in upfront investment. On the surface, it’s unlikely that your energy efficient appliances will directly increase the value of your home, but they can increase the likelihood of someone paying what you’re asking for the home. They add value to the livability of the home, if not the property itself and in today’s housing market, that’s a major plus.

Best Upgrades

The best upgrades to your home’s appliances are the ones that save money without additional work. Major upgrades to your heating and cooling are good if you need an upgrade anyway or you plan on staying in your home for a few years.

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Net-Zero Homes: An Exciting New Green Trend

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

A net-zero home produces renewable energy equal to or greater than the energy the home consumes from public utilities.

Net-zero homes are part of the broader category of “green homes”(though non net-zero homes may still be considered “green” if they incorporate recycled building materials or other green technologies).

Net-zero homes are not the same as “carbon neutral” homes. Carbon neutrality can be attained for any home by purchasing carbon credits (often from geographically distant renewable energy sources) to offset the carbon emissions the home produces. Net-zero homes actually generate renewable energy on-site.

In regions of the world where homes must be heated or cooled for parts of the year, the design of a net-zero home is crucial. Net-zero homes minimize energy consumption by:

  • Taking advantage of natural elements such as sunlight, prevailing breezes, topography (for earth-sheltered building and geothermal systems), and vegetation.
  • Incorporating appropriate weatherization, insulation, and ventilation
  • Using “daylighting” such as skylights and solar tubes, high-efficiency light fixtures and bulbs, high-efficiency appliances
  • Reducing “phantom loads” of electrical power caused by electrical equipment on standby
  • Reclaiming and reusing energy whenever possible instead of venting it outside as in conventional homes; for example, in some net-zero homes refrigerator exhaust is used to heat water.

Net-zero homes also produce their own renewable power using solar, wind, hydro, and/or geothermal “microgeneration” systems. The type of power generated will depend on climate and topography. Some net-zero homes are autonomous or “energy-autarkic” (i.e. “off-the-grid”) while others are connected to the grid and feed power back to the grid when it is not being used in the home.

While true net-zero homes generally must be specifically designed as such, it is possible to move toward net-zero energy usage for a conventional or existing home.

  • Make the “envelope” of your home as efficient as possible with appropriate insulation, weatherization, energy-efficient windows, passive solar, and ventilation.
  • Reduce energy demand by upgrading to high-efficiency furnaces (or heat pumps), air conditioning, lighting, and plumbing. Also, reduce “ghost load” from appliances on standby.
  • Add micro-generation capacity. For most North American homes, solar is the most appropriate choice, though residential wind turbines are also gaining in popularity. Some local utilities even offer assistance and rebates for installing solar.
  • If you are building a home, keep it as small as you can while still meeting your space needs.

And, the most important part of making your home as close to net-zero as possible: be disciplined about your daily energy use habits!

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Breakdowns – How to Handle an Overloaded AC

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The last thing you need on a hot summer day is for your air conditioner to suddenly cut out. Without the cooling power it provides, your house will get uncomfortable quickly. Fortunately, once you know why this happens, there are several things you can do about it.

Why Air Conditioners Cut Out

The most common reason for air conditioner failure is an overabundance of pressure in the unit. This happens because the coil gets too hot, causing the pressure to rise in the entire device. As the pressure rises past a certain point, an automatic safety shutoff system is engaged. If you can stop the coil from heating up to this point, you can keep your air conditioner running.

How to Keep Them Running

Of course, this is easier said than done. Since your condenser unit with the coil inside is located outside in the heat, it’s only natural for it to get hot during the day – especially an extra hot day when you’re using your air conditioner a lot. You also need to be careful not to put anything over or up against your outdoor condenser unit.

While this may block the sunlight, it will also keep heat in the system and prevent the air conditioner from removing exhaust naturally. So in order to keep your air conditioner as cool as possible, make sure there is nothing up against the vents or impeding air flow in any way. Once you’ve done this, try and find a way to provide shade for you air conditioner without placing objects near the device. Blocking out direct sunlight is the best way to keep your air conditioner cool as long as you can do it without interfering with the system’s natural air flow.

Getting it Back On

If your unit does cut out on you, don’t despair. The best thing to do is to wait about a half hour to give your unit a chance to cool off on its own. Then, spray the coil and other overheated areas with a fine mist of cool water. This should lower the temperature enough that the system can come back on without any further complications.

If the problem persists despite the work you’ve done to keep it cool, you may want to call in a professional to take a look and make sure nothing is broken or worn inside to cause the overloads. Most of the time a little maintenance will take care of the problem, but if not, you’ll want to get repairs done quickly to avoid a full breakdown.

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Energy Recovery Ventilator – What Is It and When Do You Need It?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

It isn’t cheap to heat and cool the air you circulate through your home every day. In fact, heating and cooling can be the most expensive energy related systems you operate. So, the last thing you want is to open a window and pour all of that conditioned air into the great outdoors.

That’s why most modern homes are sealed up so tightly. The heated and cooled air you enjoy so much needs to be retained, both to save money and to reduce your energy use. It’s why the government offers credits for things like insulation upgrades and the purchase of more energy efficient comfort systems.

But, while sealing everything saves you money and reduces your energy use, it can negatively impact your indoor air quality. Without proper circulation and ventilation, the air in your home grows thick with indoor contaminants like pet dander, pollen, dust, and possibly even bacteria or gasses. Normally, these things would be circulated outside through traditional ventilation. But, because of your heating and cooling system, the age old method of cracking a window to let a little fresh air in just doesn’t work anymore.

An energy recovery ventilator solves this problem. Instead of just pouring heated or cooled air outside and replacing it with fresh air, an energy recovery ventilator passes the air through a series of chambers. Within those chambers the heat is transferred from the warmer air to the cooler air.

In the winter, this means the indoor air passes its energy to the incoming air, retaining the heat your furnace or boiler generated. In the summer, the air coming in from outside passes its heat energy to the cooled indoor air as it leaves and only cool air enters your home.

In effect, an energy recovery ventilator works to reduce the cost of both heating and cooling. It is true that most indoor air quality systems are designed to remove many of the contaminants you flush outside, but relying solely on your air purifier or filter puts undue stress on the equipment. Not only will you need to replace filters and cartridges more often, you may need to replace the entire system earlier than you would otherwise. If you’re tired of losing all that conditioned air just to get a fresh breath, look into these amazing machines for your indoor air system.

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