Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Pickens County’

How to Tell the Age of a Water Heater

Monday, June 18th, 2012

There are many reasons to replace your Atlanta water heater. It may be working poorly or not at all, it may be making noises, it may have some pervasive problem that makes it unsafe or it may just be too old. The problem with that last criterion is that it can sometimes be difficult to determine the age of a water heater.

If you bought a home with a water heater already in it, for example, or if you bought your water heater used or just forgot when you purchased a new water heater, you may have no idea how old the unit is. Fortunately, there are ways to determine how long a water heater has been in operation, so you can have some idea whether it is time to replace it. It’s not necessarily as straightforward as cutting down a tree and counting the rings, but it’s still pretty easy.

Almost all manufacturers of modern water heaters attach a tag or sticker to the water heater that includes data about that unit, including the month and date of manufacture. Locate that tag or sticker on your water heater, and you can learn its age. Check your owner’s manual for help locating the data tag.

While some manufacturers make this tag simple and straightforward to read, sometimes the data is encoded in such a way that it takes a bit of translation to accurately decipher the manufacture date. For example, some manufacturers encode it in a four-digit MMYY format, so “0692” means the water heater was made in June of 1992. The exact code may vary, so refer to how your particular model’s info is encoded.

One important thing to note is that this won’t tell you when the water heater was installed or how long it has been in operation, or how many hours it’s been in use, but it still gives you an accurate picture of its age.

It is also possible that your water heater won’t have one of these tags on it. If that is the case, you should probably go ahead and replace it, because that probably means that it is too old to still be in operation. To have a professional examine your Atlanta water heater, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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Keep Your Home Cool and Save Energy

Monday, June 4th, 2012

As the season of hot days and long evenings draws near, it is normal for questions to arise on how to keep your home cool and save energy.  Normally, using your Atlanta air conditioner frequently would mean higher utility bills.  However, there are some things which are easy to do and can help keep any house cool without overuse of an air conditioner.

Easy Fixes Which Cool the House from the Heat of the Sun

  • Provide effective shade for east and west facing windows, including planting shade trees around the exterior of the house
  • Delay heat-generating activities until evening
  • Keep the house closed tight during the day so that unwanted heat and humidity do not enter the home
  • Ventilate at night with open windows and fans
  • Use ceiling fans or room fans to increase comfort levels with higher air conditioning thermostat settings
  • Seal and insulate all air conditioning ducts, and seal leaky windows with caulk or weather stripping
  • Install window shades, blinds, awnings, sunscreens, or apply low-e films to windows to block most solar rays which cause heat gain
  • Close south and west-facing curtains during the day on windows which get direct sunlight, and invest in reflective solar curtains
  • Upgrade the insulation in the attic
  • Service the air conditioning unit annually, and place it in the shade with proper air flow to ensure it runs efficiently
  • Install a house fan to cool the entire home at once as well as cool the attic above

Eliminate Internal Heat Sources

  • Lessen stove and oven use during hot days and enjoy a backyard barbeque or cookout, keeping the heat out of the kitchen and in the great outdoors.  When cooking inside do so in the evening and employ use of the microwave, toaster-oven or counter-top grill which produces far less heat than the stove or oven.
  • Switch to newer, compact fluorescent lights which use less energy and produce far less heat than incandescent lights
  • Pass on the hot-drying cycle of the dishwasher and let dishes air dry, or dry them by hand
  • Line-dry clothes rather than using the dryer, or use the lowest heat setting on the dryer
  • Take shorter showers that are cooler, and turn on exhaust fans and open windows to properly ventilate the area, allowing excess heat to escape
  • Turn computers and other electronics off when not in use, and use electronic devices such as TV’s less often throughout the day

Combining the various home fixes while eliminating internal heat sources can turn out to be the best ways to keep your home cool and save energy during hot summer months.  Just try some and see how that energy bill decreases! For more information about how to use your Atlanta air conditioning system effectively, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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Programmable Thermostats and Your Atlanta AC

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Air conditioning makes our homes comfortable during a hot summer day. However, air conditioners need electricity to run, and most of us are trying to reduce our home’s energy consumption. There are a number of ways you can make your Atlanta air conditioning system more efficient, including upgrading to an ENERGY STAR rated unit and scheduling regular maintenance, but one of the easiest steps to implement is installing a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats automatically adjust the temperature in your home depending on the time of day. You can save up to 10 percent a year by turning down your thermostat back ten degrees for eight hours a day! Most models allow you to store multiple daily settings, so you can turn you air conditioner down during the day when you are at work and while you are sleeping, and still have the temperature cooler when you need it. You can also still manually adjust the temperature without affecting the normal settings, giving you complete control and helping you save energy.

Programmable thermostats are not all made the same, and there are many different makes and models. An Atlanta HVAC contractor can go over the different features available to you so you can decide which best fits your needs. Different thermostats work better with different systems, for instance some heat pumps need thermostats that have multi-stage functions, so it is best to consult with a professional before deciding what to purchase.

Programmable thermostats allow you to save energy without sacrificing comfort, which is something that all of us are looking for. If you are looking for a simple, affordable way to improve your HVAC system, a programmable thermostat is a great choice. Most are easy to read and easy to use, call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems name today to learn more about having a programmable thermostat installed in your home!

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Things Your Air Filter Can’t Filter

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Air filters are great to have in your Roswell home. Many people who own air filters, especially those who suffer from allergies or asthma, swear by them as being very beneficial to their health and general well-being. They help you feel comfortable knowing that your air is clean and fresh.

But how confident should you be in your air filter? Is there anything your air filter is missing? Can you be sure that your air is as clean as can be?

Well, all air filters have limitations, and many do particularly well at trapping and removing certain types of air pollutants, but at the expense of letting others pass. What your air filter can and cannot do depends on what kind of equipment you have.

A conventional air filter, like the pleated kind you may have in your air conditioner, is designed to trap particles in the air. Pollen, dust, dander and other small but solid pollutants and irritants get trapped in their close-knit fibers. The thing to pay attention here is the filter’s HEPA rating—the higher it is, the smaller the particles it can trap. So, if you are using a lower rated filter, you may be trapping pollen but still breathing in smoke particles. Also, sometimes large, heavy particles settle before reaching the filter and can’t be trapped.

In addition to filters, there are other air cleaning options like ultraviolet germicidal (UVG) lights and photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) cleaners. PCOs are meant to filter out harmful gases, but have limited use in homes. UVG lights use radiation that is harmless to people but deadly to microorganisms to pure air of bacteria and other pathogens.

In sum, if you are concerned about the quality of the air in your home, the best strategy is probably to use multiple solutions, such as a combination of an air filter and UVG lights, in order to get rid of as many pollutants as possible. Keep in mind, though, that no system is perfect in keeping everything out of your air.

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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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What Are the Different Types of Furnace Maintenance? A Question from Newnan

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

If you haven’t done so already, take your automobile owner’s manual out of your glove box and check out the section where it lists regularly scheduled maintenance. You will probably see that the most frequent maintenance tasks are changing the oil, checking fan belts, changing windshield wipers blades, checking all fluids, and checking tire pressure. These are regular, routine tasks. You will also see other tasks like changing fuel filters, flushing radiators, and changing transmission fluid.

Depending on its frequency, there are different types of maintenance tasks associated with keeping your automobile in tip top shape. Did you also know there are tasks that can be performed at various intervals to keep your Newnan home’s furnace in peak running condition? Well, there are.

For example, the most frequent maintenance task is checking the filters in your air handling unit. These are often called furnace filters but in reality, they serve the same function to filter air to and from your air conditioner, too. It might be easiest to just call them air filters. The frequency of replacing or cleaning air filters usually depends on the type of indoor environment you live in – like humidity levels, number of household pets or occupants, etc. In general, filter maintenance should occur every one to three months.

A less frequent maintenance task is cleaning the moving parts of the internal mechanism. You may only need to have your furnace cleaned every six months to a year, depending on its use. In some cases you can perform the cleaning yourself or it is included in an annual cleaning as part of a service agreement with a qualified heating and cooling contractor. A furnace can typically run at peak efficiency when it is cleaned on an annual basis.

You can also make it a regular habit of checking the motor bearings and fan belt, too. You can lubricate the bearings and tighten or replace the fan belt on a same schedule as cleaning the moving parts.

Other maintenance tasks related to your furnace, which may require longer interval times include ventilation system cleaning, or more commonly known as duct cleaning. Some homes don’t require this type of maintenance more than every five to ten years – perhaps longer. Unless there are unusually high levels of dust, allergens, or contaminants in the air, most ventilation systems can remain clean for several years.

Of course, you can turn all of your maintenance tasks over to a heating and cooling contractor – and have the most peace of mind.

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Plants & Indoor Air Quality: A Tip from a Kennesaw Contractor

Monday, November 21st, 2011

In our Kennesaw elementary school, we were taught about how useful plants can be. They remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, which is great because it is the exact opposite of our respiratory process. They also clean the air in the process, like natural air pollution scrubbers, improving the quality of the air around them.

Given this, it’s not surprising that people have sought to harness the respiratory power of plants to improve air quality in their homes. One study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the 1980s even identified the best plants for improving indoor air quality.

This seems like great news for people who suffer from asthma or allergies, or who just want a natural way to purify the air in their homes. However, plants are not without their drawbacks. It is not a simple as to just bring a plant into the home. A plant is really an entire ecosystem. There are bacteria in the soil, for one, and there may be bugs or fungi in the soil or on the plant that you can’t even see.

Most of these are harmless, but not always. The fungus can be a problem, for example, if the spores get into the air. This can make allergies and asthma worse, not better.

That doesn’t mean you have to toss out that nice spider plant or Boston fern in the garbage, however. After all, it is probably doing a great job of filtering out some inorganic pollutants, it’s increasing the oxygen concentration of the room and it looks nice. Instead of getting rid of it, just give it a partner.

Adding an air cleaner like a fan with a filter can help purge the organic gunk that may be coming from the plant, while the plant is taking care of the other stuff. The result is cleaner, better air, which can be a relief to asthma and allergy sufferers.

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Hydronic vs. Forced Air Systems: Some Pointers from Riverdale

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Both hydronic and forced air heating systems can serve you well depending on the specifics of your Riverdale home and your household heating needs. Certainly each of these types of home heating systems has advantages and drawbacks, but there is really no clear cut answer about which is better. All you’ll be able to determine is which one is best for you.

While current discussions about hydronics have come to focus on the applications for in floor radiant heating, this category of heating systems is actually much broader than that. Really, all the term hydronics means is that the system uses water to carry the heat throughout the house instead of air. This is what traditional radiators always did, and these types of systems are certainly still perfectly appropriate for certain types of homes.

Particularly if your home doesn’t already have ductwork installed, hydronic heating might be the best option for you because it doesn’t require ducts to get the job done. All you’ll need to have installed are pipes to carry the water to different parts of the house. These pipes are much easier than ducts to install and take up much less space overall.

If you’d like to include radiant floor heating as part of this system you’re certainly able to. However, using only this type of heating to heat your entire house is not particularly efficient or practical. Radiant flooring is particularly useful in basements because no matter how warm the air in the room is, the floor in these areas will still be cold.

However, if you do already have ducts installed in your home, it may make perfect sense for you to have a forced air heating system installed. While there are sometimes problems with the evenness of the heating experience that you get with these types of heating systems, proper installation of a high quality system can usually mitigate those types of issues.

Forced air heating systems are also convenient because they are made to work in concert with many types of central air conditioning systems. If you have hydronic heating and think you’d like to have a central air conditioning system as well, you’ll either have to install multiple window or wall units or have ducts put in anyway.

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How to Get My Furnace Ready for Winter: A Tip from Tyrone

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The best time to get your furnace ready for winter in Tyrone is not during the cold winter months – it is before the winter season even begins. There are several way to get your furnace ready for winter and let’s explore some of them.

First of all, check and see when you last had your furnace serviced. If it has been over one year ago, you should schedule and maintenance inspection from your local qualified heating and cooling professional. And when you make that appointment, ask about service agreements and getting on a regular maintenance schedule. Most heating and cooling contractors offer service agreement plans which include furnace and air conditioning check-ups on an annual basis.

Okay, so you know who to call for maintenance but what can you do yourself? First of all, give your furnace a little “help” by checking the vents and returns throughout the house. Ensure that there are no obstructions or blockages such as rugs, clothing, furniture, etc. You need to have unobstructed paths for your heated and return air to flow. The more congested the path, the harder your furnace will have to work. And while you’re at it, make sure your vents are open or closed, depending on how much you use your rooms. For example, if you have an extra bedroom that doesn’t need to be heated, closed off the vent or close the damper in the ductwork. The heated air will be diverted to other parts of your home where it is needed.

You can also help the airflow by vacuuming the vent cover or removing it and vacuuming any of the ductwork that you can easily get to. For a more thorough job consider calling a qualified and professional duct cleaning contractor. Many heating and cooling contractors also offer duct cleaning service, too.

Another maintenance function that you can perform is cleaning or replacing the furnace filter. Depending on the size of your home and its air quality (occupants, pets, etc.), you may want to clean or replace your air filter every one to three months. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and can put contaminants like dirt and dust right back into your air system. If you don’t know how to replace your air filter, consult the furnace owner’s manual or go online to learn more. If your furnace uses an electrostatic air filter, it will need to be removed and cleaned, either by using a hose or with soapy water and a hose. Make sure you let it dry before re-installing it.

You may also want to inspect any electrical wires around your furnace to ensure none are broken or frayed. A visual inspection should be good enough.

Once you have done what you can, let your heating and cooling professional take over from there. They are licensed and trained to inspect your furnace and ensure that it is in peak operating condition. And do it today – while everyone else is waiting.

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