G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Archive for March, 2012

25% Off Duct Cleaning

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The Heating, Cooling, and Electric specialists at G&S Heating are now offering 25% Off Duct Cleaning for your home comfort. If you have any sort of forced air heating or cooling system in your house, you also have air ducts that act as passageways for the heated or cooled air generated by your system to pass through. While you might not think much about them, these ducts play a vital role in the functioning of your home comfort system and neglecting to clean and care for them can result in a whole host of unwanted complications.

Give us a call to speak to a Comfort Consultant or schedule a service online today!

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Things to Look for in a New Central Air Conditioning System in Carnation

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Before it comes time to install a new air conditioner in Carnation educate yourself on the many components of this complex appliance. There is much more to the enjoyment of an AC unit besides the refreshing breeze, like which method of cooling will you chose for your home. Out of all the different aspects of the AC unit, which seems most important to you? Programable thermostat? User experience? Price? To make the buying process easier, we have compiled this list of important topics when deciding on a new air conditioning system:

  • SEER – The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating measures the efficiency of your cooling system during a typical hour. To calculate this number, we divide the total BTUs of cooling produced by the watt/hours of electricity consumed during that hour. So, the higher your SEER rating, the less electricity is used to produce the same amount of cooling. Standard SEER ratings are between 11 and 15 these days, but some high end units have SEER ratings of up to 20.
  • Controls – How much control do you want of your system? Many air conditioners these days come with multiple speeds, allowing you to control the air flow as well as the amount of energy consumed by the device in cooling. Do you want it to constantly blow at 100% or would you like it to run at 50% to reduce consumption. Another option available in central air conditioners is zone control, allowing you to determine which rooms receive cooling with separate thermostat settings.
  • Dehumidification – Air conditioners are dehumidifiers by default, but not every system offers the same degree of humidity control. Some simply remove moisture as part of their regular operation. Others have more advanced controls to provide specific humidity control throughout the year.
  • Sound Dampening – Newer models have sound dampening features like insulation and vibration isolation to reduce sound. These are also great for weather protection and help to maintain your system for more years.
  • Refrigerants – Most new air conditioners now use the R410-A refrigerant which will be required in all new units starting in 2020, but there are some lower cost units still using R-22. Check to make sure you have the environmentally friendly coolant offered by newer models.

A good central air conditioner will keep your family cool and comfortable for years to come so make sure to do your research and choose a model that fits your needs in advance. If you’re not sure about any one feature, call G & S Heating, Cooling, & Electric to help you make your decision.

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Great Deal on Home and Duct Performance Test

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Your Heating, Cooling, and Electric specialists at G&S Heating are now offering $100 Off Home and Duct Work pressure testing. Give us a call or schedule a service online today!

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How Long Does it Take to Install Geothermal Heating in Lynnwood?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Switching to geothermal heating in Lynnwood is a big step and can be a sound investment, but many homeowners are nervous about having their yard dug up. Just how long do you have to have your life and yard disrupted for a geothermal installation? It depends on the type of installation, but probably not as long as you think.

Horizontal Straight Loop

This is probably the most common type of geothermal configuration for residential homes. The necessary coolant pipes are buried about five feet below the ground in parallel lengths, like matches in a box. Depending on weather and soil conditions, this kind of installation can usually be completed in a day or two.

Horizontal Coiled Loop

This configuration is very similar to the horizontal straight loop, with the major difference being that the pipes are in coils instead of just straight lengths. This allows more surface area in a smaller space, which can be good for homes with small yards.

This type of installation requires some more digging because of the height of the loops, but again can still be done in just a couple of days.

Vertical Loop

In this configuration, the coolant pipes are installed side by side, but they run vertically straight into the ground instead of laying flat as in the horizontal straight loop. This type of installation is usually used only in commercial settings where space is at a premium, making horizontal configurations impossible.

The complexity and added labor of the vertical loop often makes it prohibitively expensive for home applications, and also means it takes longer to install. Count on this taking up to four days.

Pond Loop

This configuration is the easiest, cheapest and quickest, but can only be used on sites where there is a suitable body of water nearby. Rather than digging trenches and laying pipes into them, coils are floated on top of a pond and then sunk to the bottom, taking advantage of the existing geothermal energy of the pond itself.

A pond loop installation can be done in as little as one day, provided conditions are adequate.

For more clarification please call G & S Heating, Cooling, & Electric.

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Oregon City Heat Pump FAQ: Why is Steam Rising from the Outdoor Unit of my Heat Pump?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

In the winter months, we often get calls from Oregon City customers about steam rising from the outdoor unit of their heat pumps, which is often mistaken for smoke. Steam rising from your outdoor unit is a normal during the heat pump defrost cycle. The defrost cycle prevents ice from accumulating on the outdoor coils.

Under normal conditions, your heat pump should run without needing a defrost cycle. However, when temperatures drop below freezing, a sensor will set off the defrost cycle, during which the outdoor coils will heat up and melt any ice that has formed on the coils. During this cycle, you may see what can look like puffs of smoke, but it’s actually the steam caused by the coils melting the frost. The steam can appear to be denser if there’s excessive humidity or moisture in the air.

It is important to note that the defrost cycle should not last more than ten to fifteen minutes, and each cycle should only run every two hours or so. If you notice that the cycles last longer, run more often, or if you see ice on the outdoor coils of your heat pump after the cycle is finished, you may need a repair. Another concern is cooler temperatures in your home, which could indicate that the heat strips are not working properly during the defrost cycle.

Once the cycle is finished, the fan motor should come on again, but if it doesn’t come on several hours after the cycle, you should call us for minor heat pump maintenance. There could be an issue with airflow, or a potential motor failure. When there’s a lack of adequate airflow, it can damage the compressor and other components. Call us any time you notice anything other than the normal steam rising from your heat pump during the winter.

There are some ways to prevent excess wear and tear on your heat pump during the winter. For instance, strong winds can greatly affect the performance of your heat pump and may cause abnormal defrost cycles. Make sure the outdoor components are protected from heavy wind by placing some type of natural or manufactured barrier around your heat pump, but be sure not to block the airflow. If you are buying a new heat pump, look for a model that has demand-defrost control. This feature helps to save energy by minimizing the defrost cycles.

Feel free to call The Clean Air Act if you have questions about your heat pump or Oregon City heating.

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How to Monitor Heat Flow from Furnace Registers in Mill Creek

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Of the many kinds of heating systems in, forced air furnaces are among the simplest in Mill Creek and monitoring the flow of heat is as simple as checking the registers and feeling the flow.

The Basics of Hot Air

At the furnace, usually in the basement or a central location, air is heated to a temperature set by the thermostat.  Once large and dominant, over the years, technological improvements have enabled furnaces to be much smaller and fit into closets.

With a fan, the warm air is circulated through a system of ducts and distributed at registers or grates usually in the floor.  A second grate takes the cooler air back to the furnace to be heated.

Water can be added at the furnace to humidify the air and filters are able to remove some of the dust that typically floats invisibly throughout a home.

Going With the Flow

While a forced air system tends to fluctuate between cycles, temperatures should be consistent throughout the home from room to room.  As heat is distributed, rooms get quickly warmer, then cool several degrees as heat dissipates until the thermostat setting starts the cycle over.

If there is poor circulation, the efficiency of the system is greatly reduced.  The furnace runs more often, adding strain and cost to the heating of your home.  Some rooms remain comfortable while the rise and fall of temperatures in others may be more radical or remain too cool.

Monitoring the Flow

By turning the thermostat higher, the furnace will engage and begin to force air to the registers.

Most registers have adjustable slats that can be rotated to allow more or less flow.  Checking to make sure all are fully open is the first step.  There is usually a lever or gear in obvious view.

Make sure all registers are free to allow air movement and not blocked by furniture or carpets.

After testing with your hand to see if there is adequate air flow, using an infrared or dial thermometer will more accurately identify if there are differences from register to register which could indicate a blockage of some sort in the vent or a problem with the system at the furnace.

Solutions

Furnaces should be maintained on a yearly basis, so contact G & S Heating, Cooling, & Electric who can regularly change the filters, inspect the internal elements and ensure proper and efficient functioning of this most important part of your home.

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