Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Powder Springs’

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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What to Do if Your Ceiling Fan Does Not Work

Monday, July 16th, 2012

A ceiling fan is a great addition to your home. It can keep you cool all on its own on moderately warm days and it will help to take on some of the cooling load even on days when you do need to use your Atlanta air conditioner as well. Plus, you can even use your ceiling fan in the winter to keep the warm air from your heating system circulating properly.

But just like anything else, your ceiling fan will encounter some sort of problem from time to time. While there are certainly some things that you cannot fix on your own, it is a good idea to check on a few items before you call in a professional repair person.

For instance, if you switch on the fan and nothing happens, make sure that all of the controls are in the place they should be. Most ceiling fans have a chain or dial on the body of the fan itself that controls the direction that the fan turns and can even turn it off. However, there is usually also a power switch on the wall. If you flip the switch and the fan does not turn on, there is a good chance that the setting on the fan itself is in the off position.

After ensuring that all of these switches and controls are calibrated properly, you can also take a look at the fuse and the breaker that the fan is connected to. If the breaker is thrown or the fuse is blown, the fan is not getting power and you will have to replace the fuse or reset the breaker to restore power to that circuit.

If that does not solve the mystery either, you may want to test the blades themselves to see if they seem to be stuck on a physical impediment. Ceiling fans do occasionally need to have their bearings lubricated and this is a relatively simple task that you can carry out on your own as well.

However, if none of these actions seems to solve the problem, then you will probably need to call in a professional to assess the situation and make the necessary repairs. There may be a mechanical problem within the fan itself or the wiring could be frayed or fused and these are not repairs you should attempt to make on your own.

For more tips on how to keep cool and use your Atlanta air conditioning system effectively this summer, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

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HVAC Checklist: Year Round Maintenance Tasks

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Taking care of your HVAC system is not just your responsibility as a Tyrone homeowner, it is also the best way to protect your investment and save money on utility bills. A well-maintained HVAC system runs more efficiently and last longer than one that is neglected, meaning big savings to you.

So what should you do to maintain your HVAC system? It doesn’t take much, but it is a year round process.

First of all, have your system inspected every year by a professional. This is best done in the spring, when you likely won’t be using your heating or air conditioning, allowing you to get ready for the summer cooling system. During an annual inspection, a professional technician will perform routine maintenance and repairs, such as replacing air filters, tightening loose fittings, inspecting ductwork and fixing any small problems before they grow larger.

Beyond this professional walkthrough, you should also do your part to keep the whole system clean. That means doing things like:

  • Cleaning vents monthly, with either a damp rag or a vacuum hose. This gets the dust and debris out of the way so your air handler can function efficiently and you don’t breathe in pollutants and allergens.
  • During the heating and cooling seasons, inspect your air filters monthly. Clean and/or replace them when they are visibly dirty, or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Once a season, take a few hours to clean your furnace room. Sweep out any debris that could get sucked into the intake, and check to see that fitting are clean and rust-free. Similarly, clean the area around an outside air handler if you have an outdoor air conditioning or heat pump system.
  • Program your thermostat to turn heating and cooling down during the hours that no one is home.
  • Keep your home clean and clear of dust and dirt. Vacuum carpets and dust hard surfaces often. Less dust in the home means less dust in the ventilation system.

Small tasks like these have a cumulative effect on keeping your Tyrone home’s HVAC system running smoothly for as long as possible, which saves you a bundle in the long run.

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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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Why Should I Clean My Air Ducts? A Question from Hampton

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

You know it’s important to keep your Hampton home’s air ducts clean, but why?

Actually, there is no one reason why your air ducts need to be kept clean—there are several, all of which are connected to one another. Here are five of them for you to consider:

  • Efficiency – Clean air ducts allow the air to flow through much easier and more readily, so your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump won’t have to work as hard to ventilate the house. This makes for more efficient operation and lower energy consumption.
  • Performance – When your HVAC system does not have to work as hard to push air through the ductwork, it will perform better. Your home will be more comfortable and better ventilated.
  • Longevity – Because your HVAC system is operating more efficiently, it will be able to perform at a high level for a longer period of time. Well-maintained systems last longer than those that are not taken care of, and cleaning the ducts is part of good HVAC maintenance.
  • Savings – Clean ducts can save you a lot of money over time. Your energy bills will be lower because of how efficiently the whole system is running. And, as an added bonus, your ducts will last longer because of the decreased risk of corrosion and damage from being dirty.
  • Health – Last, but certainly not least, clean air ducts mean clean air, which is important for your health and your family’s health. Especially if you have pets, if you smoke or live with a smoker, or if anyone in the house has allergies or asthma, cleaning your air ducts is a must.

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History of Geothermal Energy: Some Trivia from Powder Springs

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Geothermal energy is nothing new – it just gets more ink because of its increasing use to naturally heat and cool buildings in places like Powder Springs, leaving a smaller carbon footprint and providing for an efficient, more cost-saving method to achieve indoor comfort.

History shows that geothermal energy dates back over 10,000 years when American-Paleo Indians used hot springs for bathing and heating, possibly even as a source for healing. And geothermal energy is not just a North American “thing” either. The oldest known hot springs spa was built in the Qin dynasty in China in the 3rd century B.C.

Romans used the water from hot springs for their public baths. Geothermal water was also used by the Romans for treating skin and eye diseases. Minerals found in hot springs water has been long believed to have healing qualities. Geothermal water was also used to heat the buildings in Pompeii. Subsequently, building heat was obtained from under floor systems.

History notes that France is home to the world’s oldest known geothermal district heating system. The system in Chaudes-Aigues has been in use since about the 14th century. And starting in 1960, France began using geothermal heating for homes in other areas. Up to 200,000 homes in France are heated by geothermal means.

History also shows geothermal energy use during the late 18th century near Pisa, Italy. Geothermal energy had been used to extract boric acid from the Larderello Fields through the use of steam. In 1904 at Lardello Fields, steam was successfully used to generate power for the first time. At the time, geothermal energy was seen as the power of the future.

In the U.S. in 1892, the first district heating system in Boise, Idaho was powered directly by geothermal energy, and was soon copied in Klamath Falls, Oregon in 1900, where geothermal water was pumped under sidewalks and roads to help prevent freezing and ice build up. In New Mexico rows of pipe were placed underground to keep soil warmer for agricultural purposes.

A deep geothermal well was used to heat greenhouses in Boise in 1926.

For the residential market, an inventor built a “downhole heat exchanger” in 1930 to heat his house. The heat pump, which was invented in 1852, was patented to draw heat from the ground in 1912. However, it was not until the 1940s that the geothermal heat pump was successfully launched. Records show that the first commercial heat pump was put into use in Portland, Oregon in 1946. The first residential open loop system was installed in 1948.

In the 1960’s, the first large scale industrial geothermal energy power plant was constructed, producing 11 megawatts of geothermal electricity. From the 1960’s to the present day organizations and governing bodies have been set up to manage, research, and develop new and improved geothermal energy sites and technologies.

Today, there are any geothermal power plants in working order in the U.S. and across the globe.

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Different Types of Refrigerants Used in HVAC: A Guide From Powder Springs

Monday, August 29th, 2011

We have all heard phrases in Powder Springs like “save the planet” or “save the ozone layer.” Up until the 1960s there wasn’t a lot of attention paid to the disintegrating protective ozone layer around the Earth’s surface. Since then, ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) have been seen as the ozone-depleting culprit and new laws regulating the use of CFCs have had a direct impact on heating and cooling (HVAC) systems.

The “lifeblood” of any air conditioning system is its refrigerants – a chemical used in the refrigeration cycle. For several decades, the “refrigerant of choice” in HVAC systems has been HCFC-22, also known as R-22. The problem is, HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) are harmful to the ozone layer because they contain ozone-destroying chlorine.

Because of this, the use of R-22 is being slowly phased out from usage in HVAC systems. The Clean Air Act of 1970 has provisions in it to phase out HCFC refrigerants. As a result, chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce, and companies will no longer be able to import, R-22 for use in new air conditioning equipment (effective this year),  but they can continue production and import of R-22 until 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment. So, R-22 should continue to be available for all systems that require R-22 for servicing for many years to come.

But the “new kid on the block” replacing R-22 has been getting up a head of steam for several years now. Among the new alternative refrigerants recommended by the U.S. EPA is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, but, like R-22, contributes to global warming. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A, and Puron®.

There are several other substitute refrigerants going by the names of R-407C, HFC-134A, and R-422C. A complete list can be found at www.epa.gov.

According to the U.S. EPA, homeowners with existing units using R-22 can continue to use R-22 since there is “no requirement to change or convert R-22 units for use with a non-ozone-depleting substitute refrigerant.” And it is important to note that R-407C is allowed for retrofits but R-410A is not, due to its higher working pressures. Substitute refrigerants would not work well with existing components unless a retrofit was made or in the case of using R-410A, a complete system changeout.

One of the leading causes for air conditioner and heat pump failure are lower levels of refrigerant. If you are working on your own equipment, it is important to note that replacing refrigerants like R-22 and R-410A should only be done by certified HVAC professionals. You must show EPA certification to purchase these refrigerants.

If you are interested in “saving the planet” you might do well to give the boot to your HCFC-consuming appliance. For more information, contact your local contractor.

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Essential Components of a Home Comfort System: Some Pointers From Alpharetta

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Indoor comfort is defined by several factors: temperature, humidity, and air quality. If any one of the three is out of the “normal” range it can affect the quality of life in your Alpharetta home.

The ultimate goal of any heating & cooling contractor is to ensure that customers are comfortable – meaning that all three factors are addressed when servicing, replacing, or installing new equipment in a home. This equipment includes furnaces and air conditioners but also extends to humidifiers, dehumidifiers, electronic filters, ultraviolet (UV) lighting, infrared heating, etc.

Obviously, the essential component for most U.S. households is a furnace. Air conditioners may not be essential for all parts of the U.S., namely the northern states, but are still considered an integral part of any home comfort system. Add-ons like de-humidifiers and electronic filters are important for controlling the air quality.

Let’s look at the furnace first. There are several choices but most can be found in two different classifications: single-stage or variable speed two-stage. Your choice depends on the indoor square footage, your own comfort needs, and possibly the cost of energy units (gas or electric for example). Forced air is a common method of moving heated air to all parts of the home via an air handling unit and through a duct system. But gaining in popularity is radiant heat (electric), which does not utilize a duct system.

Air conditioners also come in a variety of sizes, including window/room air conditioners or central air conditioning, which is likely a “split” system including an outdoor unit and indoor coil. The size of the air conditioner is determined by square footage, which is part of a load calculation performed by qualified heating & cooling contractors while planning the equipment replacement or new installation. An oversized air conditioner may produce high humidity levels and an undersized unit may not provide enough cooling to all areas of the home. High humidity levels contribute to higher indoor temperatures in the summer, and can also lead to respiratory problems.

If someone in your home has allergies or is sensitive to certain pollutants in the air, it may be important to include extra filtration in your heating & cooling system, such as electronic filtration and UV lighting mounted in the buildings duct system, to kill germs and contaminants.

And speaking of an essential component, duct systems are keys to maximizing efficiency and comfort. Properly sized, insulated, and sealed, the duct system is a key to comfortable, healthy indoor air – and energy efficiency. It is also important to keep your duct system clean, too.

As always, it is best to consult with a qualified and licensed heating and cooling contractor who can offer the best solutions for your home comfort system.

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How Do I Reduce Dust in My Home? A Question From Douglasville

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Dust is everywhere, from Douglasville to Dawsonville. There is no way to stop it from occurring, so instead we turn to cleaning and filtration to keep the amount of dust circulating through the air in to a minimum. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do, even without installing new equipment, to reduce your dust levels.

Duct Cleaning

First on the list is regular duct cleaning. You dust your furniture and your floors, so why not clean out your ductwork? Properly cleaned ductwork is very important because of just how much stuff can build up in there over time. Imagine regular air flow in an enclosed space that never gets cleaned. How much dust and debris do you think could build up over the course of a year? Hint: it’s enough to keep a steady flow of dust in your indoor air.

Professional duct cleaning is important and should be done once every year or two depending on how often you use your home comfort system. However, you should also clean in and around the vents and ducts in your home where you can reach. This can be done weekly and will help immensely to reduce dust.

Filtration

Most air filters equipped with high quality HEPA filters work extremely well to remove dust from the air. Because HEPA filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, they won’t just remove dust, but pollen, pet dander and even mold. Mold especially is a problem that occurs in far greater frequency in homes without filtration.

Simple air filtration is an affordable solution to a lot of different contaminants, so it’s a good fit for any home. However, there are more powerful systems as well that will reduce both dust and pathogens like bacteria – these purifiers use ionization to draw particles from the air electronically.

Humidity

Humidity imbalance can cause dust problems as well. Low humidity leads to more dead skin and dust in the house, while high humidity causes the development of dust mites. Properly regulating your humidity to slightly less than 50% will create a perfect environment in which less dust is created and circulated in your home.

The best way to reduce dust is to take a three pronged approach to indoor air quality. Cleanliness is always first on the list, but after that don’t neglect the value of filtration and proper humidity control. When used properly, these three things will ensure dust never bothers you again.

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Do I Need Surge Protection for My HVAC?

Friday, June 17th, 2011

You probably know that to keep your HVAC system in good working order you need to keep up with regular maintenance. This includes things like changing air filters, cleaning out air ducts and clearing debris from both inside and outside the system. Surge protection for your system may not be something you think of immediately, but like those maintenance tasks, it’s an important part of keeping your equipment functioning properly over time.

How Surge Protection Works

Surge protection essentially shuts off your system in the event that power levels in the system rise suddenly and unacceptably. When a sudden increase in electricity occurs, any electronic device is at risk. But, unlike your stereo, your HVAC system costs thousands of dollars – no one wants to lose something so valuable to a surge that could have been prevented. That’s why a surge protector is so vital for your system.

The surge protector monitors the levels of electricity coming into your HVAC system. In the event that a surge occurs for any reason (faulty wiring, a lightning strike, etc.), the surge protector will immediately cut off power to the HVAC unit and shut all of the equipment down.

A Sizeable Investment

Your HVAC system was not an impulse buy. This is a collection of equipment that you probably spent a good deal of money on and that you rely on to keep your family comfortable throughout the year. When you look at it that way, it’s easy to see why it’s worth doing anything you can to protect your investment. Installing a surge protector is a relatively minor expense compared to the money and inconvenience it could save you by preventing serious damage to your HVAC equipment.

Proper Restart

Once a surge protector shuts off your HVAC system, you’ll need to restart it properly. The best thing to do is talk to the contractor who installs your system. They can walk you through the restart process step by step to ensure you know exactly what to do. After going through all that trouble installing a surge protector, the last thing you want is to make a mistake when turning it back on.

If you don’t already have a surge protector in place, call an HVAC professional today and learn what your system needs to be fully protected. It’s a small expense and a quick installation, so there’s no reason to put it off any longer.

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