Porterdale Heat Pump Guide: Outdoor Maintenance

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Sometimes, the trickiest part about owning a heat pump in Porterdale is keeping the outdoor components maintained. Because they are outside and generally out of sight, it can be easy to forget or neglect them. But because they are outside and exposed to the elements, outdoor heat pump components need attention and maintenance to keep them running properly.

The two most important routine maintenance functions you can do as an owner of an outdoor heat pump are keeping it free of debris and keeping it level.

Every month or so, inspect and clean your outdoor heat pump to make sure it is free of leaves, dirt and other debris. These can easily be sucked in by the fan and reduce the efficiency of the whole system. Turn the power off to the unit and use a vacuum or broom to remove any accumulated debris.

Once or twice a year, use a carpenter’s level to make sure the whole thing is sitting level on the pad. Use the level to gauge both side to side and front to back. While you are doing this, check the insulation for erosion or gaps. If you see that it is not level or the insulation is wearing thin, have a contractor come out reset the unit on the concrete pad or patch up the insulation.

These are two small maintenance tasks that you don’t have to do very often, but they can make a big difference in the performance and life of your heat pump.

In addition, you should always have your whole heating, ventilation and cooling system inspected by a Porterdale professional annually in order to keep everything maintained and in good repair.

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Centerville Gwin HVAC Safety Tip: Clothes Dryer Ventilation

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It’s important to maintain the ventilation system in your Centerville Gwin home for many reasons. Increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system and lowering your utility bills are a few of them, but safety is the best reason to keep your vents clean, particularly your clothes dryer vent.

Clothes dryers are one of the leading causes of house fires each year. Poorly maintained venting systems and improper installation are usually the cause. Protect your home with these maintenance and safety tips.

Even if you clean out the lint trap after each use, lint can still get trapped in the exhaust vent and cause a fire hazard or a potential carbon monoxide leak with gas dryers. Maintaining proper ventilation for a clothes dryer includes cleaning out the exhaust duct and hose. To do this, you just need to unplug your dryer and detach the hose, which can be removed with common household tools. If you already do this regularly and find an abnormal amount of lint and debris, call an HVAC technician to inspect it. There could be something in the duct system blocking the ventilation for your dryer.

At least once a year, you should also have a qualified technician inspect and clean your exhaust duct and make sure you have the proper style hose. If you have a foil or vinyl hose, you should replace it with a flexible metal one that is fireproof. You might want to consider installing a dryer box, which protects the flexible hose and saves space.

Dryers that aren’t properly installed or put in areas that could create hazards are often found in older homes; however, some newer homes are built with designs that create longer ventilation paths and more potential for debris to get trapped inside the ducts.

Don’t wait until a hidden safety issue turns into a fire or carbon monoxide hazard in your Centerville Gwin home. Inspect and clean your exhaust hose and duct today!

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Troubleshooting Furnace Air Flow Problems: A Guide from Kennesaw

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Whenever you notice furnace air flow problems in your Kennesaw home, you can usually do a little troubleshooting and solve the issue on your own. Most air flow problems can be fixed easily and quickly. Here are a few guidelines to get you started, but if you need help or notice other problems with your furnace, call a qualified heating technician.

Furnace Filters:


Checking the furnace filter is the first step you should take when there are any issues with your furnace, but especially with air flow problems. If a filter is dirty enough, the furnace will not come on at all. Ultimately, a clogged or dirty filter restricts the air flow, and this is the source of air flow problems ninety percent of the time.

Supply Registars and Cold Air Returns:


Once you’ve replaced or cleaned the filter, check your cold air returns, which are the vents that draw in the cold air in forced air systems. When a cold air return is blocked  by furniture or other obstructions, they cannot draw in enough air to allow the furnace to put out an adequate amount of hot air. Make sure they are open if nothing is blocking them.

Next, check your supply registers, which are the vents that supply the warm air, and make sure they are open as well. Whenever your heat is on, all of your supply registers should be open. Closing some vents will not increase the air flow in other vents in the house. Closing off one or two in areas where heat is not always needed will not hurt your system; however, when you close too many supply registers, it can cause problems with the ductwork and eventually damage the furnace if the air pressure is not correct.

Clean Your Vents:


You should have a qualified HVAC technician professionally clean your ducts and vents at least once a year, which is another reason it’s important to schedule annual maintenance visits. A professional cleaning is typically part of the yearly heating system inspection. You can help by vacuuming your vents regularly, particularly during the months the heating system is not in use, or at least before you turn it on in the fall. Simply cleaning your vents can help air flow and extend the life of your entire heating system.

If you continue to experience air flow problems, call a certified Kennesaw heating technician. There could be a more serious issue, or if you have a newer furnace, your original ductwork could be the wrong size for that furnace model.

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How to Lower Energy Costs for Your Atlanta Home: Water Heater Tips

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

If you want to lower the energy costs for your Atlanta home, the water heater might not be the first place you’d think to save energy. However, when you add up the savings from a few easy steps that can improve your water heater’s efficiency, it can make a significant difference in your utility bills.

Here are some of the ways you can reduce the use of hot water in the home and increase your energy savings.

Saving Energy by Using Less Hot Water

Even if you own an energy-efficient, tankless water heater, and you try to conserve water as much as possible, hot water usage can always be reduced in other areas. Installing low flow faucets and fixtures can provide up to 60% in water savings because they reduce the flow rate (gallons per minute) for each fixture. Tankless water heaters are also more efficient when they are used with any application with a lower flow rate.

Replacing older appliances that require a lot of hot water with more energy-efficient models is worth the money and effort because of the energy savings you will get in the end. Make sure you fix any leaks on older hot water faucet or fixtures. A leak that costs a dollar or two extra per month doesn’t seem like much, but it will add up over time.

Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater

For every 10°F that you lower the water temperature on your hot water heater, you save between 3% to 5% in energy costs. The manufactured setting for most water heaters is 140°F, but most homes only require a maximum temperature of 120°F. Check your owner’s manual before you lower the temperature on your water heater to find out what the recommended settings are and how to change them.

Insulate Your Water Heater Tank and Water Pipes

Whether you have a gas or electric hot water heater, you can find fairly inexpensive and easy-to-install insulators or “jackets” for your water heater tank. Every tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses, so unless it is a high value, your water heater tank needs insulation. Call a professional or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of your hot water heater, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you need more insulation.

You can reduce emissions and your energy costs simply by paying more attention to how much hot water you are using in your Atlanta home. For more tips and expert advice, call Cool Air Mechanical to speak with one of our technicians.

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VillaRica Furnace Tip: Signs of an Oversized Furnace

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Most people in VillaRica, when they choose a new furnace, think that “bigger is better”. However, an oversized furnace can present just as many if not more problems than an undersized furnace. So, if you feel you may have overdone it in the past or you want to avoid making a mistake in the future, here are some signs that your furnace may be oversized.

Short Cycling

The most common sign of oversizing is short cycling. Short cycling occurs when your furnace turns on and off frequently because it reaches the thermostat setting so fast. Basically, your furnace is so powerful that it can produce what you need rapidly and then shuts off. But, because it does this, the temperature in your home is likely to cool much faster as well since the furnace isn’t on all the time.

Additionally, the on and off short cycling has a negative effect on your furnace, causing excess wear and tear on the system and eventually leading to extra repairs and in some cases early replacement.

High and Low Temperatures

When your furnace is turned on for a comfortable indoor temperature like 70 degrees F, the high and low temperature between cycles should be relatively close to that temperature. In an ideal situation, you shouldn’t even notice a fluctuation.

So, if the high temperature gets close to 75 degrees F and the low temperature is around 66 degrees F, you have a furnace much too large for the size of your home.

Furnace Room Issues

You might find that the space and exhaust given for the furnace are not sufficient either, especially if your previous furnace was replaced with this oversized unit. Backflow of a gas or oil smell or excess heat in and near your furnace room are both common signs that the furnace is much too large.

So, what should you do about your oversized furnace? If you have had that furnace for some time or just moved into a new home, it’s a good idea to have a new one installed. Have a proper load calculation done and then get a new furnace installed so you don’t have to worry about the system cycling on and off so often. If it’s a newer unit, call your technician and discuss possible options to reduce the negative effects of the miscalculation of its size.

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