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

Will My North Seattle Air Conditioning Work Better with Dehumidification?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

There are a number of common misconceptions about humidity and air conditioning and how one affects the other. In truth, humidity is a major part of the discomfort we feel when the mercury rises. It can be 78 degrees outside but feel miserable simply because the humidity is high. So, many people wonder whether a dehumidifier is a good solution to moderate heat and how it will work in tandem with your North Seattle air conditioner.

Humidity and Your Air Conditioner

First, remember that air conditioning naturally lowers humidity because it cycles air through its condenser and evaporator coil. Conditioned air is naturally lower in humidity, regardless of what’s going on outside. So, if it is hot outside and humid, an air conditioner alone is very effective. On the other hand, a dehumidifier is useful is when the temperature isn’t that high but the humidity is.

Dehumidification not only lowers the relative humidity in your home, it reduces the need for cooling because you will feel more comfortable. Not only that, but a dehumidifier costs significantly less to run. So, when the temperature outside isn’t that high, there is no need to use thousands of watts per day of electricity just to stay comfortable.

This also reduces the overall wear on your air conditioner. Since it doesn’t need to run 24 hours a day to reduce humidity, wear and tear on the device is reduced and you save a tremendous amount of money on repairs and eventual replacement costs.

When to Use a Dehumidifier Alone

Generally, the Department of Energy recommends setting your air conditioner to 78 degrees and using a combination of a dehumidifier and fans to stay cool while it is off. If the temperature rises above that level, the air conditioner will turn on and supplement your dehumidifier. Consider too that a dehumidifier will reduce the burden placed on your air conditioner to pull humidity from the air. Humid air takes more energy to cool than dry air. Despite the fact that dehumidifiers will often raise the air temperature by 1-2 degrees, they save energy and make you more comfortable.

So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce your energy bill and enhance the longevity of your North Seattle air conditioner, look no further than a quality dehumidifier. Call G & S Heating, Cooling & Electric today to learn more!

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Bellevue Air Conditioning Tips: Cleaning Your AC Condenser in Three Easy Steps

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Keeping your Bellevue air conditioning unit clean can help to maintain efficiency levels and prevent repair needs. It can also help the system last longer and improve indoor air quality. Because the condenser is part of the outside unit, it’s constantly exposed to outside dust, dirt, and yard debris; therefore, it is very important that you take the time to thoroughly clean the condenser coil and fan. Remember, before you clean any part of your AC system, always turn off all the power to the unit.

If you aren’t sure how to locate the condenser, feel free to call G & S, and we can tell you where to find it and provide a few cleaning tips. In general, you can clean the air conditioning condenser unit in three, easy-to-follow steps, which are outlined below:

  1. Always start by ensuring that there’s nothing blocking the airflow to the unit. You may have to trim low braches or prune back bushes that are obstructing the airflow. Clear away any dead grass clippings, or weeds that have grown up around the unit.
  2. Once the unit is free of debris and dirt, clean the condenser with a professional coil cleaner, which should come with instructions on how much to use and where to apply the cleaner. Although some contractors recommend washing down the entire outside unit with a garden hose, you have to be very careful not to bend the fins. It’s best to use a specialized condenser cleaner and let it air dry.
  3. To clean the fins, you can use a dry, soft brush to remove dust and dirt. Remember to clean the fins carefully because they are bendable and damage easily. Straighten bent fins with a fin comb, which you can find at any HVAC supply store, or sometimes a hardware stores. Ask a professional if you aren’t sure how to use the fin comb.

When your AC is not in use, keep it covered with the condenser cover that came with your air conditioning system. If you don’t have a cover that fits properly, call one of our Bellevue air conditioning experts to help you find a replacement cover or one that will fit your particular model. Don’t use anything that could come off easily in inclement weather. Covering your AC unit in the winter will help prevent damage or corrosion.

If you do happen to notice physical damage while cleaning your outdoor condenser unit, call G & S so that we can send one of our Bellevue air conditioning technicians to assess the damage or make any necessary repairs.

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Everett HVAC Q/A: Why Won’t My Heat Pump Start?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

If you are considering heat pump repairs in Everett, 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 you won’t need a new heat pump 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 G & S Heating, Cooling and Electric to work on your heat pump. There may be something larger at work that is causing problems in the electrical system that controls your heat pump, and that requires some expertise to properly address.

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Water Heater Upgrades for Your Arlington Home: Comparing Solar and Hybrid Water Heaters

Monday, June 4th, 2012

When deciding if a water heater upgrade is right for your Arlington home, you will first need to compare the different types of energy-saving water heaters. Hybrid and solar water heaters are some of the most efficient water heaters on the market; however, there are many factors to consider before purchasing one of these new models.

It’s always a good idea to call a water heating expert for professional advice. To help you get started, here are some basic features and considerations for each type of water heater.

Hybrid Water Heaters

Instead of using a direct heating source like gas or oil, a hybrid water heater has a built-in heat pump, which uses a compressor and evaporator to draw in the heat from the indoor air surrounding the water heating unit. With dual variable fan speeds, the heat pump can generate enough energy to heat your water with up to 60% less of the costs per year.

In addition to using less energy and drawing heat directly from the ambient energy inside your home, some hybrid models have multiple settings and a digital interface to make changing temperatures and adjusting the operating mode much easier. On the lower setting, the water heater only uses the heat pump, but on a high demand setting, you can tap into the direct heating elements for a greater supply of hot water during times of more hot water usage.

You can also lower the standing temperature on most hybrid water heaters to save money, and some even have a vacation setting that will turn the hot water heater off when you are not home. The control that you have over the basic operation of the hybrid water heater makes it incredibly easy to save energy and ensure you have reliable hot water throughout the year.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar technology is one of the most sustainable methods for homeowners to help protect the environment and save money. Given the right conditions, installing a solar water heater could decrease your heating bills up to 80%. Because solar water heating systems are one of the most efficient ways to meet your the hot water needs in your home, you pay less in utilities, produce fewer emissions, and decrease the overall maintenance costs.

Taking full advantage of the savings from installing a solar water heating system involves various factors that every Arlington homeowner should consider. Solar water heaters will save money for homes located in areas where there’s a high amount of daily sunlight, and where certain fuel sources are not available or the cost of fuel is high. The need for reliable and consistent hot water, typically in larger homes, is another cost-ratio variable to consider.

While there’s the initial investment to consider, installing a solar water heating system could pay for itself within 10 to 15 years in energy savings. In addition to these savings, you can reduce your emissions and help preserve the environment by switching to solar power for your hot water needs.  Call G & S Heating Cooling and Electric today to get started.

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