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

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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Why You Should Consider an HVAC Upgrade

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

It’s an eternal question that plagues all Fairburn homeowners — or anyone who owns a valuable piece of machinery — from time to time.

Is it time to get a new one?

From cars to TVs, the most valuable devices we own have finite lives and eventually need to be replaced. Often it can be hard to know when the time has come to get a new one. Do you fix it one more time? Make due with its limitations? Or finally bite the bullet and upgrade?

The same is true of HVAC systems, sometimes on a larger scale because of the expense and importance. So how do you know when that old HVAC system is ready to be retired and replaced by something new? Take a look at some of these indicators:

  • Repairs are becoming very frequent or costly. This can be hard to gauge, as all HVAC systems need service from time to time. But if you are having a repairman out to your house every month, or if you have spent more in the last year on repairs than a new system would have cost, it’s time to stop repairing and replace instead.
  • Some of your rooms are either to hot or too cold. This means your system is having trouble distributing heat evenly, which is a sign that it is on its last legs.
  • Your home is unusually humid or dusty. This can be difficult to detect, as the change is usually gradual. Humidity and dust can aggravate respiratory problems like allergies or asthma, so a new system may be in the best interest of your family’s health.
  • Your current system is over ten years old. This is about the lifespan of a system. Even if it seems to be running fine, trouble may be on the horizon, and the advances in technology mean that newer systems are more efficient and effective.

If any of these sound familiar to you, it is probably time to upgrade your Fairburn home’s HVAC system. If for any reason you are on the fence, a consultation with Premier Indoor and we can help you decide on the best course of action.

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What Causes Cracks in a Heat Exchanger?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Furnaces are designed so that the heat – and the combustion byproduct produced inside – doesn’t interact directly with the outside air. This design is to ensure you have a safe furnace in your Fairburn home that won’t inadvertently affect your family’s health.

The metal piece that separates the furnace heat from the outside air stream is called the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger performs a very important function, and if it is broken or cracked, it can’t work properly.

A cracked heat exchanger is very common problem with heating systems, as well as one that should be repaired as soon as possible. But what causes a heat exchanger to crack? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • A long period of normal use. A furnace heat exchanger naturally expands and contracts with the heat of the furnace, over and over again as the furnace is turned off and on to heat the home. Over several years, this stress can crack the metal.
  • Poor air flow, often caused by dirty or obstructed vents, can result in poor air flow through the furnace. This overworks the furnace, which can crack the heat exchanger prematurely.
  • Poor, incomplete or improper combustion can also cause a heat exchanger to crack. When the combustion process is less efficient – which can also be a result of poor air flow — your furnace’s burners have to run hotter and longer to heat your home, which means extra stress on the heat exchanger.

Essentially, if a furnace is running at less than optimal efficiency for an extended period of time, the heat exchanger is put under additional stress beyond the usual and can crack prematurely. Therefore, the best way to prevent a cracked heat exchanger is proper maintenance, particularly keeping all vents clean and unobstructed and getting an annual maintenance inspection.

If your heat exchanger does crack, do not hesitate to call a professional and get it repaired. The crack can allow potentially dangerous combustion gases to seep into your home, which can have a negative impact on your family’s health.

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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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How Do You Measure Your Air Cleaner’s Performance? A Question from Newnan

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Your air cleaner is designed to keep your family comfortable and healthy, regardless of what contaminants make their way inside. This is important because homes these days in Newnan are sealed up tightly to minimize the loss of heating or cooling, but as a result they have poor ventilation and frequently they will suffer a buildup of excess contaminants like mold, dust, pollen and dander.

To ensure you get the best possible air cleaner for your home, there are a number of measurements available to help you in the purchasing process. Let’s take a look at a couple of those measurements and what they mean.

MERV

MERV ratings are used to measure the ability of a filter to remove dust from the air that passes through it. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter works at removing particles. The MERV rating scale goes from 1-16 with 16 being the best possible rating you can obtain from a residential (non-HEPA) grade filter. Usually, they are designed to measure things like dander, dust, smog, wood smoke, spores, bacteria and mold.

When choosing an air cleaner, it is recommended that you look for a MERV rating of at least 8, which is good enough to remove almost all common household contaminants. Higher MERV ratings (17 and up) are found in HEPA filters which are considered among the best on the market, able to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns.

CADR

This rating stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate and is a measurement of how efficiently the air cleaner delivers clean air for tobacco smoke, pollen and dust (the common measurements given for each device). This is not a measurement of the efficiency of the device, so much as the speed of it the device. So, the higher the CADR measurement for all three contaminants, the faster those particles are removed from the indoor air.

The best way to choose a device to match your needs is to look for a CADR rating of at least 2/3 of the size of the room you are cleaning. So, if you are cleaning the air of a 150 square foot bedroom, you should get a device with a CADR rating of at least 100.

When choosing a good air cleaner for your home, make sure you do your research and choose on the best possible option for the space you need to clean. MERV and CADR allow you to do this.

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How Indoor Air Quality Controls Can Help People with Asthma: A Guide from Dawsonville

Monday, November 14th, 2011

If you, your child or anyone else in your family suffers from asthma, you know that it can be brutal. The shortness of breath, the wheezing, and the chest tightness—it’s not just uncomfortable; it can be downright scary.

There is evidence to suggest that higher quality air can help keep asthma symptoms in check. While you can’t control air quality everywhere you go, you can be in charge of the quality of the air in your Dawsonville home. Take a look at how controlling indoor air quality can help ease the suffering of asthma symptoms.

One study at Johns Hopkins found that indoor air pollution plays a large role in increasing asthma symptoms, especially among children. Without getting too technical, essentially the study explains that there are particles in the air we breathe, including indoors. Aside from the standard mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases, air contains these solid and liquid particles, which are essentially pollutants. Common household tasks like dusting and cooking can generate more of these particles.

When these particles get into the respiratory system, they can irritate the lungs, which triggers asthma symptoms. Since children spend about 80% of their time indoors, this is a very big deal.

To help this problem, there are ways to control and improve the quality of air in your home. One simple way to do this is to have filters with high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings in your heating and cooling system. MERV ratings describe how well filters catch particles of certain sizes and keeping them out of the air—and your lungs.

The particles identified in the Hopkins study were as small as 2.5 microns, which would require a filter with a MERV rating of about 12 to catch. Higher MERV ratings mean more efficient filtration, but they need to be replaced more often. If you or child has asthma, it’s worth it.

For severe asthma or allergies, consider even higher-rated filters, like HEPA filters, which sport a MERV of 17 or higher. These will catch nearly all allergens, irritants and other particles that can make you sick.

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Is Special Insurance Required For Solar Systems? A Question From Big Canoe

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

After working the costs of installation and the potential savings of solar energy over time for your Big Canoe home, there is one more factor to include in your cost analysis: insurance. Inevitable questions surrounding the issue of insurance will arise such as whether home owner’s insurance covers your panels, if you can add coverage, and what additional insurance you might need. These are all logical and shrewd questions that you should be asking before installing a solar system in your house.

Existing Insurance

The unfortunate truth is that many homeowner’s policies won’t cover solar panels, with the logic being that the additional structure presents an additional liability. Insurance companies have expressed concerns over the solar panels overheating or that installation hardware mounted on the home creates opportunities for water to leak in.

These concerns have not been shown to be based in fact, but many companies still use them as guidelines. There is also the point of view held by some companies that because solar panels increase the potential resale value of the home, the insurance premiums should be correspondingly higher. In some cases, policies have been canceled due to the perceived increase in risk.

The most important thing is to inquire with your company regarding your current policy. Ask directly if you will be reimbursed for damage to solar panels, if they will raise your premiums, cancel your policy, and any other questions you might have.

Other Options

If you discover that your policy won’t cover solar panels, you still have some options. First of all, you can see if you can amend your policy to include your planned solar panels. If not, see if you can get a separate policy specifically for solar panels, either with your current company or another. Note that this will almost certainly be an additional expense, so you will want to account for that when figuring out costs. Fortunately, some of the more enlightened insurance companies offer discounts of up to 5% for homes that use solar power, so that may help offset the cost.

The degree of difficulty and amount of expense you must endure to insure a solar system will depend a lot on your insurance company’s philosophy and the area in which you live. The important thing is to look into these questions first in order to avoid a risky or expensive situation later.

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Testimonial: AJ From Fairburn

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

We try hard to offer great customer service and pride ourselves on our professionalism. It seems we are doing a pretty good job; here is what AJ from Fairburn wrote to us:

I’d like to take a moment to express my appreciation to the folks at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems for a job well done. From the moment I called to report the problem (just after 8:00a) until its resolution (after 9:00p same day), my wife and I were overwhelmed by their professionalism, courtesy, and expertise.

Long story short, I was out of town on business travel about a month ago, and my pregnant wife was home alone with no heat. Thankfully, Premier worked around her schedule and James Knox was able to come out in the evening to fix the problem. Mr. Knox and Premier (including the receptionist who took my initial call and the dispatcher who took a subsequent one) exemplify what I’ve tried so hard to find in a HVAC service provider for the past year: honesty, integrity, and good old-fashioned kindness. Mr. Knox easily found our problem which, coincidentally, resulted from the shoddy work performed by a previous company. He also went above and beyond to explain what was wrong, why it happened, and what we could do in the future for preventive maintenance.

Thank you, Premier. You have a customer for life – I only wish I’d found you sooner.

– AJ C.

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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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