What Is Duct Sanitizing?

Friday, March 20th, 2015

If you worry about the quality of the air in your home, duct cleaning may be a great choice for your family. With duct cleaning, professionals go after the most common contaminants in your ducts which may affect your family’s health. And in some cases, you can get duct sanitizing for further protection against bacteria and viruses. Talk with the experts at Cool Air Mechanical for more information and to schedule complete duct cleaning service in Alpharetta.

What is involved with duct sanitizing?

Duct sanitizing is the very last step in duct cleaning, and it is entirely optional. In some case duct cleaning is already sufficient. Technicians use agitators and high-pressure vacuums to knock debris loose from the lining of the ducts and suck it up. They’ll use professional inspection equipment to make sure the job was completed properly. And finally, some companies ask clients whether they would like duct sanitizing as well.

With duct sanitizing, our technicians use an EPA-approved cleaning agent to further eliminate microbes and other contaminants from the ducts. There are very few products out there approved for this by the Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA–the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is why it’s important to choose the right company for this task.

Do I really need duct sanitizing?

The fact is that not every home will require duct sanitizing. We usually recommend this service only to our customers who suffer from asthma, allergies, or severe immune disorders. You may decide to add on duct cleaning at the end of your service for this reason, or you may choose to if the level of dust in your ducts was particularly high. The choice is yours, but keep in mind that this process is safe for your home and for the air you breathe. However, we can only sanitize sheet metal ducts at this point, as there is no approved process for fiber duct board.

When you decide it’s time to schedule duct cleaning in Alpharetta, choose a company who uses the right tools and methods and who gives you the option to add in duct sanitizing. Not every company offers this valuable service, so put your trust in Cool Air Mechanical. Call our highly skilled indoor air quality team today.

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Why Won’t the Backup Heat Turn on in My Dual Fuel System?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

A dual fuel hybrid system offers you the ultimate in heating power and energy savings. These systems combine the energy efficiency of a heat pump with the power and reliability of a gas furnace. For most of the days that you need heat, your heat pump will be the primary form of heating. This system also doubles as an air conditioner, moving heat out of the home in the summer and into the home in the winter. This is an efficient heating system because moving heat around uses less energy than generating it. But when outside temperatures dip too low, your furnace should kick in.

Not feeling any heat in your home? Check out our guide to find out why the backup heat is failing, and call the friendly technicians at Cool Air Mechanical for heating repair in Alpharetta.

Thermostat Programming

When the technician installs your dual fuel system, a thermostat must be set to recognize when the furnace is needed. If the programming is faulty, or if the thermostat has encountered some wiring issues, the backup heat may never turn on. Be sure to call on experts for installation and maintenance to prevent this from happening.

Furnace Trouble

Of course, it may just be that your furnace is not functioning properly at all. If your furnace won’t turn on or if it won’t stay on, it could be due to a safety switch that keeps it from operating if there is a potential for leaks. Or it may be a broken blower fan, burner trouble, or ignition failure. For your safety, be sure to leave any of these repairs in the hands of professionals.

No Need

Perhaps the reason your backup heat has not kicked in is because there is no need for it to switch over. If your outdoor unit is still running in very cool weather, don’t be alarmed. The balance point for a dual fuel system is relatively low. If you still don’t feel any heat, you may have a problem with your heat pump. Try switching over to cooling mode. If this doesn’t work, the heat pump is likely the culprit.

Call the experts at Cool Air Mechanical for quality heating services in Alpharetta.

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What Does Rusty Discoloration in My Hot Water Mean?

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Discoloration in your water is never a good sign under any circumstances. Brown or red water coming out of your faucets means that there is rust present somewhere in your plumbing. Where that rust is located will determine how much trouble your system is in and what kinds of repairs will be required. If you’re only experiencing discolored water when you turn on the hot water, then it’s a good bet that the issue is in your hot water heater. Let’s take a look at the primary reasons your water heater would be rusting, both tank and tankless.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

Storage tank water heaters are actually very susceptible to rust, due to their constant storage of large amounts of water. A lot of water heaters possess a lining around the inside of the tank, usually made of glass, to ward off rust. Still, even that lining will eventually develop cracks and allow rust to start eating away at the tank itself. This is a very big problem, as a rusted out water tank can leak and eventually rupture, causing large amounts of water damage to the surrounding area. In order to address this weakness to rust, all water heaters have one or more sacrificial anode rods.

A sacrificial anode rod is a long metal rod that is inserted into the water heater tank. This rod actually attracts rust to itself, sparing the rest of the tank. Hence the “sacrificial” part of its name. Unfortunately, the anode rod will eventually become so corroded that it can no longer do its job. That’s when the rest of the tank starts rusting. If you catch rust in your water, you should call a professional to examine your water heater. Depending on how advanced the rust is, you may need to only replace the anode rod.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters don’t have to worry about rust resulting from storing large amounts of water. Unfortunately, they still have water flowing through them all the time, and can still rust. If your tankless water heater develops rust, it will most likely be on the heat exchanger. When this happens, the only solution is usually to replace the entire water heater. However, you should have a professional take a look at your water heater before making any decisions.

If you have discolored water, call Cool Air Mechanical. We provide water heater repair services throughout Alpharetta, GA.

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How to Choose the Best Water Heater for Your Home

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Water heaters are not a one-size-fits-all kind of appliance. Installing one that is too small won’t provide your home and family with enough hot water, and one that’s too big may waste energy and result in higher monthly energy bills. Additionally, you need to consider what type of water heater you’d like and what kind of energy it will use. If you need help choosing and installing a water heater for your home in Alpharetta, GA, call Cool Air Mechanical today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Types of Water Heaters

There are a few types of water heaters for you to choose from:

  • Conventional water heaters – the most popular and well-known type of water heater, conventional water heaters have a storage tank in which the heated water is held for usage. The average lifespan of a conventional water heater is 10-15 years.
  • Tankless water heaters – tankless water heaters, also known as heat-on-demand, do not use a storage tank to provide your home with water. Instead, when you open your hot water tap on a faucet, your cold water is run through a heat exchanger that quickly heats the water and pushes it through your faucet. Tankless systems have an average lifespan of 20+ years.
  • Heat pump water heaters – just as heat pumps for your home transfer heat from one location to another to both heat and cool, so, too, do heat pump water heaters – they just transfer the heat into a storage tank to heat your water. Heat pumps home heating and cooling systems can also heat water, or you can have a stand-alone heat pump water heater. Heat pump water heaters are very energy efficient and have a lifespan of 10-15 years.

Fuel Types

There are 4 main fuel types by which to heat your water:

  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Propane
  • Electricity

Deciding which fuel type to use for your water heater will depend largely on what’s available in your home and your personal preferences.

Sizing

Properly sizing your water heater requires a small calculation.  First, you have to determine your home’s first hour rating, known as FHR. This is the amount of water used during the busiest water-using time of day, such as a weekday morning. To do this, allot 12 gallons of water per person; then add up the number of bedrooms and add 1. Take the number of bedrooms plus 1 and multiply it by the 12 gallons; this gives you your home’s FHR value.

Taking the time to choose the right water heater is critical. Let the trained technicians at Cool Air Mechanical help you install a water heater for your home in Alpharetta, GA.

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Problems You May Encounter in Your Furnace’s Air Handler

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

One of the more active components of your furnace is the air handler, also known as the blower. Without this component, the warm air generated in your system cannot reach your living spaces. During the winter months, your blower operates a great deal, so it isn’t uncommon for problems to develop. But diagnosing and repairing those problems should be left to a trained professional. The certified technicians at Cool Air Mechanical can assist you with any heating need you may have, so call us today!

Common Problems with Air Handlers

Here are some of the more common problems our Cool Air Mechanical technicians see with furnace blowers:

Electrical Problems

There are a number of wires, relays and switches in the blower assembly and when these components wear down or break, the electrical flow can be interrupted. Wires corrode and fray over time, relays can become stuck and switches can break. Locating a specific electrical problem can be challenging, which is why all electrical repair should be left to an expert.

Motor Issues

The blower has a fan that allows it to rotate and push the warm air into your home. Common problems with the fan motor can be lack of lubrication, which causes friction, problems with the capacitors and overheating. Sometimes the fan motor can be repaired but there are instances when it needs to be replaced.

Belt Problems

Fan belts can wear and stretch, and when this happens with your blower, a worn belt can affect the rotation of your fan. In turn, this will decrease the amount of air flow in your system. Belts can make a screeching noise when they begin to wear down, so if you hear this sound coming from your furnace, call a technician for assistance.

Loose/bent/broken fan blades

Unsecured or bent fan blades can cause significant damage to your system if left unattended. This is because they can come into contact with other parts of your system as the fan turns. Leaving loose or broken fans to knock around your system can lead to damage and be potentially harmful, so if you hear a banging or clunking sound when your furnace operates, make sure to call for a technician.

When your fan doesn’t operate correctly, your entire system can be affected. If you are experiencing issues with your furnace’s blower, call Cool Air Mechanical today and schedule an appointment for heating repair service in Alpharetta.

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There Are Odd Smells from the Vents: Does the Furnace Need Repair?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

There are few things worse than turning on your heating system on a cold day and being greeted with an offensive smell. You want to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, but doing so means dealing with a potentially awful smell. Does your furnace need to be repaired? Read on to find out. Let’s look at the possible causes of strange smells.

Dust

Your furnace may need repairs, but not necessarily. What exactly is the smell like? If it smells like something is burning, wait and see how long the smell lasts. Dust can settle in the heating system if it has been a while since you have turned on your heat. When you first turn on your heater after a long period of disuse, you may experience a burning smell as the system burns off the dust. This is nothing to worry about, and the smell should subside shortly after you first start the heater. If the burning smell persists, you may have a more serious problem.

Dirty Air Filter

A dirty air filter is also a possibility. If you experience a musty smell when you turn on your heater, check your air filter. If it is dirty, clean or replace it and see if the smell goes away. If you don’t know how to check your air filter, an HVAC professional can do it for you.

Mold

If moisture somehow finds its way into your heating system, usually through leaks in the ducts, it can cause mold to grow. Some types of mold can give off a very unpleasant smell, which will be distributed throughout the house when the heater is turned on. Usually, a duct cleaning and sealing is enough to fix this problem.

Dead Animals

If the smell coming from the vents is that of decay, you may unfortunately have a dead animal in your vents. This can happen sometimes when a squirrel or raccoon finds its way into your duct system and can’t find a way out. This is often the most offensive smell to come out of your heating vents. An HVAC technician can safely remove the animal for you, which should get rid of the smell.

If strange smells are coming out of your vents, call Cool Air Mechanical. We can diagnose the cause and conduct any necessary repairs. We provide furnace repair services throughout the Alpharetta area.

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Causes of Inefficiency in Your Air Conditioner

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

It’s not unusual to see a small rise in your energy bills at this time of year, but if you’ve noticed a sharp increase in your bills, and you haven’t changed how you typically operate your air conditioner, you may be dealing with inefficiency issues. There are a number of factors that can cause your air conditioner to run less efficiently, even if your system appears to be fine. Unfortunately, inefficiency can point to developing or existing problems with your air conditioning in Alpharetta, and the sooner these issues are attended to, the better.

Culprits of Inefficiency

There are a number of things that can reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning system, but here are three that our Cool Air Mechanical technicians see frequently:

  • Dirty Air Filters

The air filter in your air conditioner helps stop dust and dirt from entering your system. It’s a big job, which is why the filter should be changed every 1-3 months. When your air filter isn’t changed, it becomes clogged, creating a layer of dirt, dust and debris that can restrict the air flow in your system. Restricted air flow forces your AC to work harder, so it uses more energy – energy that will show up in your monthly utility bill.

  • Fan Issues

Your air conditioner has two fans, one near the condenser and the other near the evaporator. Fans have multiple parts, including blades, motors, fan belts and ball bearings, all of which can experience problems. Once a fan turns slower than usual, or stops completely, the air flow in your system decreases, creating strain on your system.

  • Low Refrigerant

The refrigerant in your system has to be at a specific level in order to work properly; this amount is in the manufacturer’s handbook. There are only two reasons your refrigerant level changes: the wrong amount was administered during initial installation, or you have a leak. Low refrigerant can cause system-wide problems, but most of all, it causes your air conditioner to compensate for the loss by working harder.

Maintenance Is the Key

Any time your air conditioner operates inefficiently, it will use more energy. A great way to keep your air conditioner running optimally is by scheduling bi-annual maintenance. During routine maintenance, your system is thoroughly inspected and cleaned, and repairs are made as needed. Regular maintenance allows you to get ahead of small problems and prevent bigger ones from occurring.

If you think you may be dealing with inefficiency, or you are ready to schedule a routine maintenance visit, call Cool Air Mechanical today!

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What Is a High Velocity Comfort System?

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Because people usually don’t think much about the comfort systems in their homes—unless they malfunction—they are often unaware of the continual development of comfort technology. When the time comes for replacing an old system with a new one, a homeowner may not know that recent advances offer an even better way to heat and cool a house than before.

One of the most exciting advances in home comfort is the invention of high velocity comfort systems. These forced-air HVAC systems can provide both air conditioning and heating superior to what standard ducted systems can, but without needing space-gobbling ductwork. If you live in an older house without room for extensive ductwork, you can toss out your old window AC units and instead invest in a high velocity system. If you are planning new home construction, a high velocity system is also a great idea.

Because of the complexity of these systems, you must have a qualified professional installer handle the work. For the necessary skill installing air conditioning in Alpharetta, GA, call Cool Air Mechanical and our skilled team.

The High Velocity Comfort System Basics

The current high velocity comfort systems available are air conditioners (which can also heat with the addition of a hot water coil, add-on heat pump, or electric duct heater) that use small sized tubing for ducts rather than large ductwork channels. Most the plastic tubing used for high velocity systems are no larger than 2.5” in diameter, which makes them easy to fit into almost any space. Older buildings that don’t have room for ducts adapt easily to these miniature air channels, and they will add on to almost any house without requiring much (or any) remodeling.

But the small ducts do not mean a compromise on comfort. It’s the opposite, actually. High velocity systems spread even temperatures throughout rooms through an air principle called aspiration. Where standard ducts simply billow conditioned air into a room, taking time to fill up the space and creating uneven temperatures, the air from a high velocity system enters to room at a speed that creates suction that draws the room’s air into its airstream—this is the action of aspiration. The result is an even temperature throughout the room, no more than 2° different from the thermostat setting.

High velocity systems also operate with less noise than standard air conditioners and heat pumps. The special air handler isolates noise and vibrations, and the supply tubing reduces sound down to that of a whisper.

To learn more about how a high velocity system can work in your home, talk to our specialists in heating and air conditioning in Alpharetta, GA. At Cool Air Mechanical, we’re proud of the service and superior comfort we bring to our customers. Give us a call today to set up your next service appointment.

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Heating in Alpharetta FAQ: What Is a Thermocouple?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

If you’ve arrived at the question, “What is a thermocouple?” it’s probably because you’re curious about how your home heating system detects heat levels. We’re here to give you the answer.

A thermocouple is an electric device used to determine temperature levels, and they are often used as safety system to stop the heating inside furnaces if temperatures begin to rise dangerously. Thermocouples aren’t only installed in home and commercial heating systems; they receive wide use in scientific and industrial settings to measure the heat output of engines and turbines. What makes thermocouples so useful for multiple tasks is that they are simple and inexpensive devices.

A thermocouple consists of two different metals joined at one end and separated at the other. The separated ends generate electrical voltage in proportion to the heat they sense. If the temperature increases, so does their voltage. The reason for this is the thermoelectric effect, or “Seebeck effect” (named after German-Estonian physicists Thomas Johann Seebeck, who discovered this effect in 1821). Different metal pairings are used for different temperature ranges. Your heater reads the voltage from the thermocouple and converts it into a temperature reading, which it can use to detect if temperatures have gotten raised too high.

Although thermocouples are simple devices, they are prone to malfunction like any electrical system. Don’t attempt to dismantle a heater to repair the thermocouple yourself or replace it—you won’t know which kind of thermocouple you need to get for the heat range. And if the thermocouple isn’t at fault, tampering with it could add further problems.

Our heating experts at Cool Air Mechanical have experience with repairs for all kinds of heating issues. When you think you’ve got a thermocouple that’s on the fritz, contact us right away to schedule an appointment. We can handle problems of all types for heating systems in Alpharetta, GA.

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Why Schedule Air Conditioner Maintenance in Atlanta Now

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of your air conditioner throughout the year is a crucial part of home maintenance.  That’s why you should probably think about scheduling air conditioning maintenance in Atlanta, GA now. Cool Air Mechanical has a team of exceptional air conditioning professionals ready to prepare your home for high temperatures and high humidity. Here are a few of the benefits of regular air conditioning maintenance in Atlanta.

Benefits of Air Conditioning Maintenance

A clean and safe AC system not only cools better, it also tends to be more efficient and less wasteful. Here are a few reasons why air conditioning maintenance might benefit your home:

  • Energy efficiency. If you’re interested in increasing your home energy efficiency, a professionally-serviced air conditioner might be able to reduce the amount of energy your home uses and thereby reduce the cost of cooling your home. Whether it’s by sealing your ductwork leaks, or by cleaning your coils, energy efficiency and saving money go together.
  • Peace of mind. Don’t underestimate the power of knowledge. The experts at Cool Air Mechanical have years of experience, skill and knowledge about air conditioning maintenance in Atlanta, GA. Knowing that your system is in the hands of a professional will give you confidence throughout the summer. Make sure that you are satisfied with your system.
  • Safety. A comprehensive maintenance program will not only make your home energy-efficient, it will also ensure that your entire cooling system is safe. Microbial growth in ductwork, leaking refrigerant, and loose mechanical components can all pose potential risks to your home. Make sure that your AC operates efficiently, effectively, and safely all summer long.

Enroll in our Preventive Service Plan to maximize the comfort and efficiency of your home air conditioning system. The team at Cool Air Mechanical is also available for Atlanta air conditoining installation, repair and inspection whenever you need us. Call today!

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