Hiram Water Heater Guide: What You Need to Know About Water Heater Leaks

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

A leak in your Hiram home’s water heater can be a big or small problem depending on where the leak is, how severe it is and whether it requires repair or replacement. Here are some things you should know about water heater leaks that will help you determine who to call and how to act.

Where Is the Leak?

Step one is to determine where the water is coming from. Look for leaks around the fittings and valves attached to the device. If one of them is loose or if you see water dripping from a connection, it can probably be fixed relatively easily. However, if the leak is coming from the body of the water heater, you may have a ruptured tank which is a sure sign of a bad water heater that needs to be replaced.

Draining Your Tank

Once you identify the leak, turn off the water supply to the tank and prepare to drain it the rest of the way. You should also disconnect the power from the device. If the water heater is gas, I recommend you call a professional who is certified to work on gas appliances. For electric water heaters, you may still want a professional, but the next step here is to simply turn off the breaker to stop electricity from flowing to the device.

Drain the tank next, using the bucket to capture the water as it is released. If you have a floor drain and can angle the tank over the drain, go ahead and do that now. Once the tank is empty, it is time to tighten your fittings.

Fixing the Problem

Assuming this is a fittings or valve problem, loosen any fittings that appeared to have leaked, repair the plumbing thread and retape the pipes, finally tightening the fittings back into place. The pressure valve may need to be replaced as well – do this now if it is necessary.

Before reapplying the electricity to the water heater, reattach the water supply and turn it on to check for leaks. If it holds water, you are lucky and your water heater’s tank isn’t leaking. Reattach everything and turn it back on.

If you notice the leak continues, you should call Cool Air Mechanical as it is likely the glass inside your tank has cracked or is leaking. Most of the time, this cannot be repaired and means you need a new water heater installed.

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Riverdale HVAC Question: What Does an Air Handler Do?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Your HVAC system is a complex system filled with vital components tasked with keeping you comfortable. One of the most important of those component is the air handler – the device responsible for circulating the heated or cooled air produced by your system through the vents in your home and into each of your rooms.

The air handler is a metal box, usually consisting of a blower and the heating or cooling elements. It might also include dampers and sound attenuators along with an air filtration and humidity control system. The simplest air handlers are designed only to transfer the heated or cooled air to the various parts of your home, while the most advanced devices are designed to perfectly condition and clean that air as it is circulated.

 Types of Air Handler

There are a few different types of air handler as well, depending on the size of the HVAC system and the nature of the heating and/or cooling used. Most homes, for example, use terminal units which consist of just an air filter, blower and coil. This very simple system is all you really need to heat and transmit air through your ductwork.

However, for larger systems, there are also makeup air units which use outdoor air instead of recirculated indoor air. There are also packaged and rooftop units which are designed to be placed outside. These devices are most commonly used for commercial applications when space is limited.

How the Air Handler Works

An air handler’s most basic component is a blower fan. This device is run by an AC electric motor and can be either single speed or variable speed depending on the size and scope of your air handler. The dampers on the fan will control the flow rate of the air going through the blower fan. Most residential blowers are part of the air conditioning or furnace system, while commercial systems often have multiple blowers to maintain steady airflow for a larger space.

Because an air handler passes all of the air that will go through your vents, it is the best place to install high quality MERV or HEPA filters to remove pathogens and contaminants. It is also a good place to install humidity control devices to either raise or lower humidity depending on the time of the year.

Your air handler is an incredibly important component in your home heating and cooling system. Without it, all that heated and cooled air you pay for each year wouldn’t reach you. So, make sure to keep your system in tip top condition.  If you suspect a problem with your air handler, give Cool Air Mechanical a call!

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Happy President’s Day from Your Metro Atlanta Area HVAC Contractors!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Everyone at Cool Air Mechanical wishes you a very happy President’s Day! Fun fact: though it is commonly referred to as “President’s Day” this holiday is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday.” There was an attempt to change the name of the holiday in 1968, but the proposal failed.  It is traditional to celebrate this holiday with cherries, in honor of George Washington.  While the name hasn’t officially changed, today has come to be about all of our nation’s presidents, and a celebration of all that they accomplished. In honor of this holiday, here are some fun trivia questions to stump your friends and family:

  • When was Washington’s Birthday first celebrated?
    • During his presidency his birthday was celebrated every year. However, Washington’s Birthday officially became a holiday in 1885.
  • Who was the oldest president elected?
    • Ronald Regan (69)
  • Who was the youngest president elected?
    • John F. Kennedy (43)
  • Who was the tallest president?
    • Abraham Lincoln (6’4’’)
  • Who was the shortest president?
    • James Madison (5’4’’)
  • Which state is the birthplace of the most presidents?
    • Virginia (8 total; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson)
  • How many states are named after a president?
    • One (Washington, DC)

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Centerville Gwin Water Heater Guide: What You Need to Know About Point of Use Water Heaters

Friday, February 17th, 2012

For years, most people in Centerville Gwin have used the same system to heat their water. A single tank that heats and stores water at a set temperature for whenever it is needed. That system, as well as it works, is not very efficient, and with costs for gas and oil rising so much in recent years, many people are looking for better ways to heat their water.

That’s where point of use water heating comes in. These tankless water heaters are designed to heat your water when you need it heated instead of filling a tank of 50 or 60 gallons and heating it continuously even when you don’t.

How Point of Use Water Heaters Work

A point of use water heater works by directly heating the water supply to a single fixture. So, you would install a point of use water heater on your kitchen sink and only one water supply pipe would go to that heater. When you turn on the hot water faucet, the point of use heater would turn on (using electricity) and heat your water to 170 degrees F.

These devices only work on a single fixture at a time but they are much less expensive to purchase than a whole house tankless hot water system. Additionally, you can control where hot water is available.

The Advantages of Point of Use Hot Water

A tank hot water system can cost hundreds of dollars of year extra to run, especially if your family doesn’t use much hot water. Imagine what happens if you have four children that go off to college. Your “just big enough” tank suddenly becomes way too big and your bill stays unnecessarily high.

Point of use heaters allow you to decide where hot water is available and have instantly available hot water as you need it. The cost of the units and installation is affordable for most Centerville Gwin homeowners and you don’t have to commit to a whole house system if you are not ready.

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Your Greater Atlanta Area Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Everyone at Cool Air Mechanical wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is all about showing your appreciation for your loved ones. Whether it is your significant other, your family, or your friends, it is a great time to let them know how special they are to you. A handmade card, a bouquet of flowers, or even a simple phone call can make someone’s whole day.

If you are thinking about a big gift for your family, an upgrade to your HVAC system might not be the most romantic gift, but it is a gift that keeps on giving! A new air filtration system will keep your indoor air clean, and a new furnace or heat pump will make your home more comfortable and lower your utility bills.  Making your home cozier is something your whole family will appreciate!

Call Cool Air Mechanical to learn more about how some HVAC system upgrades can improve the comfort level in your home. And to make your Valentine’s Day a little sweeter, here is a recipe for White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake:

“Raspberry sauce is swirled into the batter of a creamy white chocolate cheesecake. Garnish with white chocolate curls if desired.”

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

3 tablespoons white sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup water

2 cups white chocolate chips

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,

softened

1/2 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

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Whitesburg Home Energy Audits

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Considering an upgrade to your Whitesburg home’s heating system? It’s usually a sound investment that generates savings both in heating costs and repair bills, plus it keeps your family happy and comfortable.

Before you take the plunge on new equipment, though, you may want to get a home energy audit. What you find may help you choose the right system.

A home energy audit is essentially an inspection by a professional of the materials used to insulate your home. This includes not just the insulation in the walls, but also the walls themselves, along with windows, doors and so on. The idea is to figure out how much heat is escaping your home to the outside, so an audit may also include looking at ducts, vents or anywhere else where air could flow through.

So what does an energy audit have to do with a heating upgrade?

Think about it like this. There are two ways to make your home warmer: increase heat gain (e.g., get a more efficient heating system) or decrease heat loss. If you are able to do the latter, you may find that the former is unnecessary.

For example, you may get an energy audit and discover that by installing new windows and resealing your doors, you can increase heating efficiency by 10%. This could have big implications for your decision to get a new heating system, as you may decide that you can save money by getting a smaller capacity furnace. Getting the right size furnace is very important; one that is too small will not be able to heat your home to the desired temperature and one that is too large will short-cycle, which leads to uneven heating and wears down your system quickly.

A home energy audit is the first step to getting a new heating system, and one that is sure to save you money. Give Cool Air Mechanical a call to set up an energy audit today!

 

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Buford Heat Pump Repair Question: Why Won’t My Heat Pump Start?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

If you are having trouble with your Buford home’s heat pump, you may be surprised to learn that it is probably not the heat pump that is to blame, especially if the trouble is that it simply won’t start up. That seems counterintuitive, but it’s true: the heat pump can be in perfect working order but still not turn on.

The good news, then, is that your heat pump is fine and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to fix or replace it. Still though, these types of problems can very frustrating to diagnose and correct. Here are four common culprits when a heat pump won’t start:

  1. No power to the heat pump. Check your breaker box to see if the circuit breaker was tripped. If so, reset it and see if that fixes the problem. Another possibility is that your heat pump is wired to a wall switch, or that there is a switch on the unit itself. Make sure the switch is turned on.
  2. Make sure the thermostat is set to the proper mode, such as “heat” mode if you desire more heat. It seems overly simple, but sometimes the trouble is as simple as that.
  3. A recently replaced thermostat. If you recently upgraded or replaced the thermostat in your home, it’s possible that something went wrong that is preventing your heat pump from starting. It may be the wrong kind of thermostat – heat pumps require a specific type – or it may have been improperly wired.
  4. Finally, the heat pump may have its own circuit breaker on the air handler cabinet. This is often the case with heat pumps that have supplemental electric elements. If that breaker is tripped, that could cause the problems you are experiencing.

If you exhaust these problems and the problem persists or recurs – for example, if the circuit breaker trips again – call Cool Air Mechanical to work on your heat pump. There may be something larger at work that is causing problems in the electrical system that controls your Buford home’s heat pump, and that requires some expertise to properly address.

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Woolsey Heating Replacement Question: What Is Involved in Replacing an Old System?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

When your Woolsey home’s HVAC system starts to fail — or if it already has — your options essentially come down to two: replace or repair. There are a lot of factors that go into making such a decision, but in general, if it is a newer system with a small problem and you haven’t had much trouble with it, then a simple repair clearly makes sense.

For older systems, or ones that have been repaired all to often lately, or ones that seem to be on their last legs, repair may be the only reasonable course of action.

Surely you know that a total system replacement would be a big job, but have you ever thought about just how big? Sure, you know you will have to swap out the failing furnace, and you may as well replace the air conditioning unit while you’re in there, but that’s it, right?

Actually, there is a lot more to an HVAC system than just those two machines. Think about all the behind-the-scenes components and the little components that are often overlooked, such as:

  • Ducts – Keep in mind that your ducts are probably as old as that furnace you are replacing, and that a new, efficient unit cannot operate at nearly its full potential with faulty duct work.
  • Thermostats – Your old ones may not even be compatible with a new furnace or air conditioner.
  • Wiring – For the thermostat, among other things.
  • Insulation – Many homeowners forget that insulation is part of an HVAC system, too. Just like we said about duct work, old insulation does not help a new system achieve maximum performance.
  • Piping – Such as refrigerant piping on a geothermal system or a ductless air conditioning system.

You can see that the job starts to get pretty complex pretty fast. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from a necessary replacement, just make sure that you fully consider the scope of what you need done, as well as the budget and time frame you have to work with. If you need your Woolsey heating system replaced, give Cool Air Mechanical a call today!

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Ellenwood Heating Repair Question: What Does a Furnace Thermocouple Do?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Modern appliances are equipped with an array of safety measures to make sure that they operate safely in your Ellenwood home. This includes gas furnaces, which are harmless when working correctly but can be unsafe if something goes wrong. Perhaps the most crucial safety feature of a gas furnace is the thermocouple, also called a flame sensor.

Essentially, a furnace thermocouple works as a kill switch to shut off the furnace in case the gas is not igniting, like if the pilot light is out. Here is how it works.

The thermocouple is made up of two pieces of metal which are welded together at one end, called the “hot end” because it actually sits directly in the path of the furnace flame. On the cold end, it is wired to a circuit. Under normal circumstances, when the furnace is switched on, gas flows through the line and is ignited by a pilot light, ignition spark or glow coil. The flame heats up the thermocouple, and the furnace stays on.

However, sometimes the gas may not ignite, for example if the pilot light is out or the glow coil is faulty. In these cases, if there were no thermocouple, gas would continue to flow out without being lit, creating a very dangerous, poisonous and potentially lethal situation.

What the thermocouple does is detect heat, so if the furnace is on, but the hot end of the thermocouple has not heated up, that circuit up at the cold end kills the power to the furnace so that gas cannot continue to flow out unchecked. That way, you do not have to worry about a gas leak building to dangerous levels without being aware of it.

Sometimes, the thermocouple can malfunction, causing the furnace to shut off even if the burners are working just fine. Usually that is just the result of build up on the hot end over time, which can be fixed with some sand paper or emery cloth. If you think you have a problem with your thermocouple, give Cool Air Mechanical a call!

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Tucker HVAC Installation -Another Happy Customer!

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

A good heating and air conditioning contractor will explain to you exactly what your options are before they begin work in your home. They won’t try to pressure you into buying new equipment or making an upgrade to your system that you do not completely understand. HVAC equipment can be complicated, but you should always be able to understand the work that is going on in your home.

We pride ourselves on our excellent service; all of our technicians are highly trained and ready to help answer any questions you might have. We will provide an honest assessment of your home and our suggestions on how to improve your energy usage. The final decision rests in your hands. Here is what Sam T. Tucker wrote to us about his HVAC evaluation:

I’ve recently completed three in-home HVAC evaluations. I chose Healthy Air. Their price was competitive. They gave me multiple options and explained them all in great detail. Their rep, Joe, spent well over an hour evaluating my existing systems. He found and pointed out issues that others didn’t notice. One of the other reputable bidders was only in my attic for 2 minutes. I guess it was too hot for him. On the first day they treated my house with great care. The installers wore shoe covers while in my home. Very professional company!

– Sam T. in Tucker

Thanks Sam! Remember that if you have any heating or indoor air quality problems with winter to give us a call! We offer 24/7 emergency service so we are always ready to help!

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