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

Are these Water Heater Noises Normal?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Unusual noises in the home can seem worrisome, or they can just appear to be a normal part of operation for the fixtures and appliances you use every day. When you hear strange noises from your water heater, you may think that it’s a completely normal part of operation. However, it’s important to note that, while water heaters do not run completely silently, a storage tank water heater should not make any sudden unexpected noises if it is working as it should.

When you notice any noise from your heater you’ve never heard before, it’s important to call a water heater expert to ask whether the issue is typical. An experienced technician can best determine whether your particular unit is meant to make this types of noise or if it’s something out of the ordinary. Here at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, we’ve put together a primer on a few of the most common sounds homeowners may worry about.

  • Sizzling Sounds: If you frequently notice a sizzling sound from the water heater, it might be due to condensation dripping on the burner. This could affect the amount of hot water that makes its way into your home.
  • Banging or Rattling: Any unusual loud sound from the water heater like a banging or rattling noise could be due to sediment in the tank. “Hard water,” a problem common to most homes, is an excess of minerals in the water supply. Over time, sediment can build up and bang around in the tank. This can change the pressure inside the tank, which could lead to serious problems if left unaddressed.
  • Rushing Water: The sound of rushing water often indicates that the pressure inside the tank is too high. Pressure must remain somewhat consistent and is monitored by the pressure relief valve. If your pressure is off, it could just be that you need a new pressure relief valve. Alternatively, there may be too much sediment blocking the tank, which sometimes means the problem is serious and a replacement is necessary.

We recommend also scheduling annual maintenance to make sure that these types of sounds do not reoccur in the future.

Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to schedule service for all types of water heaters in Sharpsburg.

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Learn More About Air Filters and Mold

Monday, February 6th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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A Tip from Talking Rock: What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

You’ve probably heard about the new lines of high efficiency furnaces being released by popular home heating companies, but what exactly is different about these high efficiency devices from your Talking Rock home’s current furnace? Let’s take a closer look at what a high efficiency furnace offers and why it can save you money.

Added Features

A high efficiency furnace uses familiar technology in a new way to reduce the amount of energy lost when combustion takes place. This means:

  • Sealed Combustion – Instead of open combustion which allows heat to escape during and after the combustion process, a high efficiency furnace uses a sealed chamber with carefully measured and fed airflow to burn fuel and produce heat. Exhaust heat can then be recaptured and used to heat air transferred to your air vents.
  • Two Stage Gas Valves – With a two stage gas valve, your furnace can respond to the temperature outside. There isn’t just one “on” switch. The furnace will regulate gas flow based on how much energy is needed to produce heat for your home. So, if there is a sudden burst of cold outside, the furnace will respond accordingly, but for most days when heating needs are low, it will use only the minimum amount of needed gas.
  • Programmable – High efficiency furnaces are now programmable, meaning you can set specific time limits for operation, change thermostat settings digitally and inspect the device through an electronic read out. The level of control given to you by a programmable high efficiency furnace can greatly reduce gas or electricity consumption.

Cost Benefit

The real reason many people are interested in high efficiency furnaces is that they are so much less expensive to operate. Instead of costing hundreds of dollars to run through the winter, they operate the bare minimum needed to heat your home. Using up to 95% of the fuel they consume to produce heat and regulating gas to cut how much is consumed during milder days, these furnaces are built to save you money.

If you have an old furnace that chews through energy like nobody’s business, now might be the time to consider the benefits of a brand new, high efficiency model.

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Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution: A Guide from Sharpsburg

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Indoor air pollution is a major problem for millions of homeowners throughout the country each year, including some in Sharpsburg. In fact, the EPA estimates upwards of 20 million households may have problems caused by mold, radon, humidity, exhaust or any number of other pollutant problems. However, not all of the indoor air pollutants out there are so obvious. Some are things you probably have in your home right now and don’t realize it. Here are some of the more surprising sources of indoor air pollution and what you can do about them:

  • Incense – Incense releases both carbon monoxide and benzene, two chemicals that are potentially harmful to human health. Cancer, skin irritation and asthma risks are all increased in people who spend a lot of time around incense.
  • Laser printers – Laser printers that use toner can release a number of harmful chemicals into the air. That toner is very fine and releases particles into the air that are equal to or in some cases worse than second hand cigarette smoke. If you have a laser printer, consider putting it in a well-ventilated, infrequently used space.
  • Kitchen Stove – If you have a gas stove, it releases Nitrogen Dioxide when on, an unsafe gas that is odorless and fills your home quickly. This gas is bad for respiration and can cause asthma attacks. To solve this problem, simply make sure you stove is ventilated properly when cooking.
  • Spackle – Old spackle – the kind used before the 1980s often contained asbestos which can still be there, waiting to be disturbed. Old asbestos, while not inherently dangerous, will become so if you start doing work in your home or if the spackle starts to wear away. To solve this problem either call an abatement firm or cover the offending wall with a new layer.
  • Drapes – Those drapes are filled with contaminants that cling there, especially if humidity is a problem in your home. Dust mites in particular are bad for your health and can cause asthma and other allergies. Blinds are better than drapes for this reason.

Your home is filled with potentially dangerous problems, but you can avoid them simply by taking care to ventilate, clear away unsafe products and keep things like drapes clean (or remove them). If you’re still concerned about your air quality, call an expert to investigate.

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Furnace Fan Doesn’t Run? Why Is That? What Should You Do? A Guide from Alpharetta

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

There are several reasons that a furnace fan might stop working at one point or another. While many of these do require Alpharetta professional’s attention, there are probably some things you can check on your own before you go and call in the pros. After all, if you can address the problem on your own, it will at least save you from having to pay a technician to come out.

The first thing to check when your furnace is running but the fan isn’t turning is whether or not the fan is actually switched on. Certain models of furnaces have a separate switch to turn the fan on and off. While there is probably no reason that you would want to turn off the fan by itself, it’s worth taking a look just in case. If that really is the problem, you’ll be up and running and back to dealing with better things in no time.

If that’s not the problem, you might try looking to see if any wires leading to the fan are loose or the fuse is blown. If the fan has no power, of course, it won’t be able to work but the rest of the furnace likely would work just fine as long as it doesn’t run on electricity as well.

Of course, the problem very well may be beyond your power to solve on your own. Don’t despair though. Even though you need to call in a professional, that doesn’t mean that the problem will be expensive to fix. In fact, it may be as simple as replacing your thermostat or the motor for the fan itself.

Just because a fan isn’t working doesn’t mean that you’re going to be paying an arm and a leg to have work done on your furnace. If you can’t easily discover the problem on your own, however, or if you’re not comfortable inspecting this type of equipment at all, you’re generally better off just calling in an expert and letting them do the dirty work for you. Paying for simple furnace fan repairs is definitely preferable to having to pay someone to fix the fan and the stuff you broke yourself while trying to fix the fan on your own.

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Components of a Geothermal Heating System: A Guide from Cumming

Monday, October 17th, 2011

A geothermal heating system in your Cumming’s home has three basic components and some add-on ones as well.

Its most distinguishing feature is the ground loops. The most common is the “closed” ground loop system, which is a series of pipes that are buried underground. These pipes contain a heat transfer fluid, comprised of antifreeze and water. This fluid absorbs heat from the ground and carries it to the home. This fluid also absorbs heat from the house and sends it into the ground to keep the home cool.

Examples of closed loop systems include the horizontal closed loop, which can be used in larger parcels of land (over an acre for example). The loops are placed typically placed horizontally 6-to-10 feet below the surface. A vertical closed loop design is recommended for smaller parcels of land and loops are often buried vertically approximately 20 feet underground. Other types of ground loop designs use well water to transfer heat in an open loop configuration, or have a closed loop submerged underwater in a pond or lake.

The next component is the heat pump, which draws the fluid from the ground loop. In a heat pump, heat energy is exchanged with the ground to heat or cool the home. In the heating mode, fluid warmed from underground flows through the heat pump. A fan blows across the pipe warmed by the fluid. Because the fluid is much warmer than the air inside the heat pump, heat energy is released into the cooler air. The cool air is warmed and distributed inside the home. The process is reversed for cooling. Cool fluid in the pipe absorbs heat from the warm air inside the home. Once pumped underground, the excess heat in the fluid is absorbed by the cooler earth.

The final component is the air handling or distribution system. Here, a fan in the heat pump’s furnace blows air over a fan coil and the heated cooled air is distributed through the home’s ductwork. Some distribution systems are hydronic, where hot water is circulated through radiators or radiant floor heat tubing. This water absorbs heat from the heat pump and then distributed throughout the home.

In some homes, both a forced air and hydronic system, often referred to as a “hybrid system” work together.

Optional components include a heat pump “desuperheater,” which is used to help with domestic hot water heating. In warm weather, the desuperheater recovers some of the heat – that would otherwise be sent to the ground loop – to help produce hot water. In cold weather, some of the heat pump capacity may be diverted from space heating for the same purpose. Desuperheaters save approximately 25% on domestic water heating costs.

Another component is an auxiliary electric heater, which is built into the geothermal heat pump This auxiliary electric heat is installed to allow heating and cooling technicians to size – or resize – a home’s geothermal heat pump system to assist the system during the few coldest days of the year. Auxiliary electric heat is also an emergency backup heat source if there are any operational issues with the geothermal heat pump system.

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How is Geothermal Different Than Other Heating Systems? A Question From Jonesboro

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

There are many methods to heating a building in Jonesboro. Early methods included burning coal and wood. Today, sophisticated building controls call for more efficient means of heat – and a method gaining in popularity is geothermal heating.

Air handling units are only designed to move air from one space to another. How that air is heated from the source is what differentiates geothermal from other energy sources.

To understand some of the differences, let’s look at the definition of geothermal heat. By definition, geothermal heating comes from its direct use of geothermal energy, which comes from below the Earth’s surface. And the Earth is known as the greatest conductor of heat. The constant, renewable temperature of the Earth (56-58 degrees on average below 10 feet) provides a heat source requiring no energy conversion, which adds to heating efficiency and ultimately, the cost to heat a building.

In order to heat a building, natural heat from the ground absorbs a colder refrigerant, which is circulated throughout the ground by a series of polyethelene tubing, which is generally positioned five to ten feet below the surface. This heat is transported via the refrigerant to a compressor inside a heat pump, where it is compressed and the lower temperatures are transformed from around 50 degrees to temperatures much higher, as high as 100 degrees of more. This hotter refrigerant is circulated through the tubing within an air handling unit, where colder return interior air absorbs the heat. The heated air is then carried to a building’s interior via fans. The refrigerant, with the heat removed, now becomes colder as is re-circulated into the ground to absorb the natural, renewable heat. In essence, the ground provides free heat.

Other methods of heating include forced air natural gas, oil, solar, propane, electric, radiant, and steam. Each heat source requires mechanical means to heat up the supply air. For example, natural gas – which is used to heat about half of all U.S. homes – is heated via a heat exchanger in a mechanical furnace, which runs on electricity. Radiant or steam heat is generated by mechanically raising the temperature of water or refrigerant via electricity. These methods differ from geothermal because the natural heat of the Earth provides the means for raising the temperature of the refrigerant used to transport heat to the air handling unit.

One drawback to using geothermal heat compared to other energy sources is the cost to bring this natural heating method into a building. The initial installation of a geothermal heating system is much higher than conventional natural gas heating – for example – because of the cost to install the tubing called a ground loop beneath the Earth’s surface. No other heat source, other than radiant heat, requires a series of tubing to deliver heat. But then again, radiant heat does not require a ductwork system to transport heated air or remove colder air. Geothermal requires a series of metals tubes to heat the refrigerant and the ductwork to move the heated air throughout the building.

On the flip side, its energy efficiency – using the Earth’s natural heat – is much greater than other heating sources resulting in lower utility costs, often fractions of the cost to use other heat sources. Energy savings could pay for the cost of installing the geothermal system over several years – another characteristic of geothermal heating.

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How Do I Know If Solar Heating and Cooling Will Work On My Home? A Question From Cumming

Friday, September 30th, 2011

When undertaking any home improvement project in Cumming, there will be challenges making sure the new features fit well with the existing construction. Solar heating and cooling is no exception. You may want to install solar modules on your home for your HVAC needs, but will the two work together?

There are ideal conditions under which solar modules can be used, and striving to create these conditions will often present some challenges. Fortunately, in most circumstances, there are some easy adjustments you can make to ensure your new solar modules work as well as or better than advertised.

The Big Two

There are two major factors which play in to solar modules performance more than anything else. First is orientation, or where the house has exposure to the sun. Ideally, solar modules should be mounted facing south to maximize efficiency. They can also work when facing some easterly or westerly directions, albeit with some performance loss.

For maximum exposure to the sun, solar modules should be mounted at an angle that matches the latitude at which your home sits. You also want to avoid any obstructions. The path from the sun to the solar modules should be as clear as possible, with minimal shading or obstructions to interfere with the modules collecting light.

Other Challenges

Independent of these major variables, other issues can come into play when determining if solar heating and cooling will be a good fit for your home. You have to worry about geography and weather, your energy needs, and the insurance costs of adding solar power to your home.

While these challenges exist, as you can see there are generally ways around each of them. Consult with a contractor or other expert, who can help you decide if a SunSource® Home Energy System is a good fit for your home.

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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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