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

What is a Matched HVAC System?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

It has been about 200 years since the arrival of interchangeable parts during the Industrial Revolution. Today in Atlanta, we laud being able to take a malfunctioning part from a car, computer or vacuum cleaner, replace it with a newly minted part from any number of manufacturers, then keep right on plugging along.

Although this is a blessing in most arenas, when it comes to your Atlanta HVAC system, it is not necessarily a good practice. Heating and cooling systems work best when they are matched – but what does that mean? And why does it matter?

 Why Matched Parts Matter in HVAC Systems

When referring to HVAC systems, a matched system is one in which various components are designed to work together. For example, an air conditioner and furnace made by the same manufacturer can be matched, as can a furnace and a heat pump.

Typically, the matching is done in such a way that the “outdoor” components, such as air conditioners and heat pumps are designed to work best with their “indoor” partners, like air handlers and furnaces. There are also matched systems in which every component is matched to every other.

Efficiency Boosts

While this may seem to make maintenance and repairs a pain, the practice provides a big boost to the efficiency of the system. Because the components were designed and manufactured by the same team to work in harmony, the system performs optimally. Although you can often replace one component of a matched system with one from another manufacturer and have it work fine, the system can lose efficiency, often to a significant and noticeable extent.

For these reasons, it is best to make use of matched systems in your home whenever possible. This means choosing a new matched system to install, replacing broken parts with ones that match the rest of the system and even replacing older systems with newer ones to properly match, when necessary.

It may seem like a hassle at first, but it saves money in the long run by adding increased efficiency over unmatched systems. For more information about installing new heating or air conditioning systems in Atlanta, 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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AC Problems You Need A Professional to Fix

Monday, May 21st, 2012

In a hot climate, it’s great to be cool. Air conditioning lets us sleep and helps us be our best through the hottest days.  It’s such a part of our lives that it’s easy to forget that our Atlanta air conditioners must be regularly maintained.

Some things are easy for the homeowner.  Other repairs are complicated, technical and require a professionally certified Atlanta HVAC company like Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to accomplish.

Doing the Basics

For window mounts or the big units on the side of the house, regular cleanings and a filter change should be a part of every season. It’s not hard to remove the cover and replace the panel of webbing that catches lint and other particles out of your conditioned air.

Some warm water and a good shot of compressed air gently on the exposed fins will help to increase the longevity of the unit.  Be careful not to put pressure on the fragile fins and coils or use hot water that could cause corrosion.

Make sure the drain is clear, always cover the unit or store it away when more naturally cool temperatures take over and you’ve got conditioned air and relative peace of mind in the years ahead.

Big Problems

Without the regular service, however, an air conditioner begins to work much harder to produce the same amount (or less) of cool joy and parts begin to break down.  With total neglect, the unit itself may need replacement much sooner than was promised when you paid for it. These are repairs that could be avoided and require a professional to make.

The key ingredient to cooling is a chemical called a refrigerant (most often Freon) that is capable of transforming rapidly from gas to liquid and back again at low temperatures. This runs through two intricate tubes, a compressor, and a critical expansion valve that controls the process.  It is a delicate and complicated process that calls for expertise and the right tools, especially since the refrigerant is considered hazardous and requires special handling.

When the air gets stuffy, it could be that the fan is the problem.  Belts could be worn, loose or broken.  The motor may be low on oil and is stained to the breaking point.

If mysterious signs of water or mold are showing up on the inside of the house near the unit, there could be a problem with the condensate that is released with the heat when air is cooled.  This could be a simple or complicated fix, but should be checked out professionally to ensure all is well.

Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems if you need any air conditioning repair or maintenance this summer!

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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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Does Solar Make Sense in a Cloudy Area?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

There is a longstanding myth that if you live in a cloudy area you can’t use solar panels because, after all, you cannot see the sun very often. However, the truth is a lot more complicated and thankfully for you it means that solar panels are in fact very useful in such areas.

First, the Science

Solar panels are designed to absorb ultraviolet (UV) rays which are what carry the light we see during the daytime. However that light is not the actual energy being absorbed by the panels. While we may see a ray of ‘sunlight’ as a single entity, it is actually very complex. The light itself may be partially blocked by the clouds, but the UV rays that your solar system needs to generate electricity still get through even on the darkest of days.

Of course, efficiency can drop on cloudy days, but for the most part, what is important is the number of hours of daylight, not the intensity of that daylight. Another thing to consider is that solar panels are actually more efficient when it is cold outside so cloudy environments that tend to be colder offset much of whatever energy loss they have due to lower daytime high temperatures.

Why the Difference Doesn’t Matter

The real issue in terms of solar generation is the number of hours of daylight averaged throughout the year. The longer the day, the more sunlight exposure your panels get and the more electricity they generate. Fortunately, most people have the option of staying attached to the power grid.

Unless you live in a rural area with no power grid nearby, you can simply remain attached and when the winter months roll around, pull electricity from the grid. Better yet, you can supply electricity to the grid during the summer months when you produce excess electricity (and yes, you will do that!) and have a credit on your account that allows you to get free electricity in return in the winter.

If you have any questions about whether or not a solar system will work with your Riverdale home, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

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HVAC Guide: Duct Testing

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Do you know that leaky air ducts can actually decrease the energy efficiency of your Newnan home’s whole HVAC system?  If your ducts were not installed properly or have broken down over time, you could be losing a significant amount of heat. That means that your heating or cooling system will have to work harder to keep your rooms at the desired temperature. You can also get uneven heating, which will make your home much less comfortable.

Duct testing is a way to check your system for leaks and other problems. A qualified contractor will use calibrated mechanical equipment to measure the air flow that goes through your ducts. This test will determine whether you just need your air ducts sealed or whether you need them to be completely replaced. Especially when you are having a new system installed, a duct test will ensure that your new, energy efficient system will not lose its effectiveness because of air leaks. Because it has such an impact on energy efficiency, duct testing should also be on the top of your list if you are trying to make your house more green.

Don’t lose heat this winter with leaky ducts, call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to schedule an appointment today!

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How to Install a Programmable Thermostat

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Programmable thermostats are one of the best ways to save on heating costs, especially if you have a hard time remembering to turn down the heat in your Duluth home. Installing a programmable thermostat will allow you to set the times you want the heat turned up or down. Not only will this make heating your home more consistent and save energy, but it will also allow you to tailor your heating needs to your schedule.

For instance, you can set the thermostat to turn on before you get up in the morning so that the house is already warm when you get out of bed, and conversely, set it to turn down after you go to bed or leave the house for work. Depending on the brand and setting options, programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

Although all styles are slightly different, here are some basic instructions that show you how easy it is to install a programmable thermostat.  Remember, this is only a general guide; always check the instructions inside the packaging of your new thermostat before you install it, or check with an electrician.

1. Remove the Old Thermostat

Before you remove the old thermostat, check to see where it’s mounted. If it’s mounted to an electrical box, the voltage used to power the old thermostat may not be compatible with the new one. Ask a certified electrician or heating technician if you aren’t sure.

CUT THE POWER TO THE HEATING SYSTEM TO AVOID ELECTRIC SHOCK. You should always turn off the main power supply to your heating system before installing any new thermostat. If you aren’t sure how to do this, ask your HVAC contractor. Once you unscrew the mounting plate for the old thermostat, just unhook the wires. Don’t throw an old mercury controlled thermostat. You should ask your local waste management facility how to properly dispose of mercury products.

2. Locate all Wires

Wrap the loose wires around a pencil to keep the wires from falling back into the wall. Identify and label each corresponding wire with a letter (do not use color coding since this is not always accurate). Strip the plastic off the ends of the wires about ¼ inch if you need to.

3. Install and Insulate Wallplate

If the area around the new wallplate is larger than the plate, insulate the hole with non-flammable insulation. Take the wallplate off the programmable thermostat and hold it against the wall to mark the screw holes with a pencil. Pull the wires through the large opening at the bottom and screw the plate to the wall.

4. Wiring

Make sure you are comfortable with wiring before you attempt to do any electrical installations. Check the manual for your programmable thermostat for instructions on wiring that specific model. In general, you’ll want to make sure you match the wire labels with the corresponding terminals on the thermostat. Sometimes there will be extra wires that aren’t needed. Always test it before completing the installation. Don’t forget the battery!

5. Install the Faceplate

Once you have it wired correctly, all you need to do is align the brackets on the faceplate with the corresponding slots on the wallplate and fasten the faceplate to the rest of the mounting. Lastly, tighten the screw at the bottom of the thermostat to hold it in place.

If you have any questions regarding programmable thermostats, give Premier Indoor Comfort a call.

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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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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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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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