G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Mill Creek’

How Does A Geothermal System Provide Heat?

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Geothermal heating is one of the most energy efficient ways to heat your home. It relies on a renewable resource, spending only a fraction of the energy that most heating systems use to create and circulate heat throughout the house. How exactly does a geothermal system work, though? Read on to find out.

Installation

Geothermal installation involves digging a trench about ten feet deep in a wide loop. If space is an issue the trench could be dug deeper for a vertical loop. Pipes are laid in this trench, using either anit-freeze or water as a medium. A central unit, essentially a heat pump, is then installed in the house. The pipes are connected to the heat pump, and the heat pump is connected to the ductwork in the house.

How It Works

As the name suggests, a geothermal heating system works by siphoning thermal energy from the ground in much the same way that other heat pumps siphon it from the air. About ten feet under the surface, the temperature remains at approximately 55-60 degrees year-round. That may seem cold, but in most environments the outside air can easily sink well below that temperature. When a geothermal system is in heating mode, it uses the anti-freeze or water in the underground pipes to transport that 54 degree thermal energy to the central unit. There, the central unit uses that extra thermal energy to help it warm the air and circulate it throughout the house.

Benefits

The benefit to using this kind of system is that it doesn’t have to work nearly as hard as a traditional system to achieve the same results. A furnace, for example, will have to start from whatever the surrounding temperature is when it heats a home. A geothermal system, however, provides a much higher starting point of 54 degrees. This means that it won’t have to work nearly as hard or as long to warm air up to the proper temperature. By using a geothermal system, you can save an appreciable amount of money on your heating bills.

If you are interested in installing a geothermal heating system, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We install heating systems throughout Mill Creek, WA.

 

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What is a Downflow vs Upflow Furnace?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

There are a lot of different factors to weigh when you are picking a new furnace to install. What’s size is right for your home? What kind of fuel does it use? Should you stick with combustion or try an electric unit? What’s the AFUE rating? One important question that most overlook, however, is whether a furnace should be an upflow or a downflow furnace. Read on for a description of each, and which would best fit your needs.

Downflow Furnace

The primary difference between an upflow and a downflow furnace which direction they take in and expel air. A downflow furnace takes in cold air at the top of the unit, and expels air at the bottom. By doing this, the downflow furnace directs heat downwards towards the area that requires it. This makes downflow furnaces naturally suited to being installed in attics. They can also be installed in the upper floors of a house if you don’t have an attic.

This makes them very versatile, able to be installed in almost any type of home. The downside is that a downflow furnace is less efficient than an upflow furnace. Heat naturally rises, so the downflow furnace must constantly fight against the natural tendency of the air it’s circulating.

Upflow

An upflow furnace takes in cold air at the bottom of the unit and expels warm air upwards. This makes them more efficient than downflow furnaces, because they are working with the natural tendency of heat to rise upwards. Upflow furnaces tend to heat spaces more comfortably, since heat moves from the floor of a room upwards. This keeps the actual living area of each room more comfortable than a downflow system, which wastes heat on areas like ceilings.

The downside is that upflow furnaces have more strict installation requirements. Oftentimes you’ll need a basement to get the most out of an upflow furnace. This precludes a lot of homes in areas like the west coast.

If you are having trouble picking the best furnace for your home, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We install and maintain heating systems throughout the Mill Creek, WA area.

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When Is It Time to Call for Heat Pump Repair?

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Heat pumps are durable, reliable systems, but at some point, you will likely need to call for repair. Heat pumps work a little differently from other types of systems, so to determine whether or not it’s time for heating or heat pump repair, our G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., technicians have put together a list of signs that can indicate it may be time to schedule repair:

  • Loud noises – heat pumps operate pretty quietly. Hearing loud sounds can indicate that a problem has developed. Two common noises that usually indicate problems are clicking and grinding. Clicking sounds can indicate that an electrical problem has developed, very commonly with a capacitor, and grinding sounds can indicate that certain parts, like ball bearings, have become too dry and need lubrication.
  • Icing – ice development on the coils is indicative of a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant level runs too low, certain parts of the system stay too hot and others stay too cold. Condensation develops and then quickly freezes on the cold parts, creating ice. Simply scraping the ice off does not fix the problem; the leak needs to be found and repaired.
  • Can’t switch modes – your heat pump can switch modes between heating and cooling because of a component called a reversing valve. Sometimes, this valve can get stuck in a mode or between modes. Whenever a reversing valve gets stuck, your heat pump can’t operate correctly. Sometimes the valve can be repaired, but sometimes replacement of the valve is required.
  • Reduced air flow – your heat pump needs good air flow in order to work properly. When the air flow is restricted, which can happen with dirty air filters, the air flow in your system can decrease.
  • Reduction of warm air – if your air is feeling cool, and it’s not supposed to, this can be a sign of a few developing problems. Lack of heat can be the result of a refrigerant leak, problems with the expansion valve or even problems with the compressor.

Heat pumps are complex systems that should only be repaired by trained HVAC professionals. If you need to schedule heating repair service in Mill Creek, WA, call the professionals with over 3 decades of experience: G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.

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Why is There Ice on my Heat Pump?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

The last thing you want is for your home’s heating system to stop working during Washington’s cold winter months. With that in mind, it can be a little disconcerting to walk outside and discover that your heat pump is covered in ice. Don’t panic yet, though. Ice being present isn’t necessarily a sign of something wrong, with a couple of exceptions.

Why does it happen?

Ice or frost on a heat pump is formed by the heat pump’s natural operation. A heat pump works by drawing heat from the air surrounding the unit and directing it throughout the house. When the air supply around the heat pump is cooler, the water vapor in the air condenses on the unit and freezes. This is what causes frost to build up on the unit over time.

Is it a problem?

Yes and no. All heat pumps are designed to go through a defrost cycle to regularly melt any frost on the unit. This is done by briefly reversing the flow of warm air out of the house instead of inward. This should be enough to manage any frost on the unit. However, a large amount of frost present on the unit is a sign that the defrost cycle isn’t working properly. There are a number of possible causes for this, all of which will need a professional to diagnose and repair. Without a working defrost cycle, the heat pump has no way to remove the build-up of frost. Eventually, this will cause the entire unit to ice over and stop working properly. Without access to the ambient thermal energy in the surrounding air, the heat pump will have no way to heat the house.

What to do about it

If you notice that the frost on the heat pump is not disappearing after a couple of hours, or if most of the unit is covered by it, you may need your heat pump repaired. It is a good idea to contact a heat pump professional as soon as you see signs that the defrost cycle may not be working.

If you are having problems with your heat pump icing over, call us to schedule repair service for your heat pump in Mill Creek.

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The Importance of Heating Maintenance

Friday, September 26th, 2014

The heating season is here, and soon, your heating system will be running for large portions of the day and night. Because your system will get so much use, it’s important to make sure it is well-maintained so that everything continues to run as it should. And the best way to keep your system in the best shape possible is by scheduling annual heating maintenance. With heating maintenance, a technician will clean and inspect your system and let your know of any looming repair needs. And the benefits of this service are far more valuable than the small cost of maintenance. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should schedule maintenance today.

Some Benefits of Heating Maintenance

  • Reduce Repair Needs: Scheduling repairs is a hassle, especially when you don’t have any heat on a particularly cold day. That’s why you want to catch repair needs before they turn into larger problems. When damages are left alone, they may worsen over time, which means you may be dealing with a far more costly repair. When maintenance technicians catch any small problems, they may either make adjustments or let you know that repairs are needed.
  • Increase Efficiency: When there is dirt and debris in your furnace filter, heat pump coils, or anywhere along your heating system, efficiency may suffer. This is because your unit must run for longer periods of time in order to make up for deficiencies, which makes a huge impact on your utilities. Similarly, parts that are out of place or need repair may also drive up your bills, but with heating maintenance these parts are cleaned and adjusted for maximum efficiency.
  • Extend the Lifespan of Your System: The lifespan of your unit depends on a variety of factors including the type of system you own and how often it’s used. But regular maintenance may extend the lifespan of any heating system, and can give you a better idea of when it’s time to replace.

When you decide it’s the right time to schedule heating maintenance in Mill Creek, WA, call our team of trained heating specialists at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.

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How Long You Can Expect a Geothermal Installation to Take

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

With all the digging involved with geothermal systems, you may think that it takes weeks to install one. But appearances can be deceiving, and that is certainly the case with the installation of a geothermal system. Geothermal installation happens in three stages, with the planning stage lasting the longest. The most important aspect of any geothermal installation is to hire knowledgeable professionals to get the job done, which is where G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., comes in.

Stages of Geothermal Installation

There are three main stages of geothermal installation:

  • Stage 1: Planning
  • Stage 2: Installation of indoor heat pump
  • Stage 3: Installation of ground loops

Stage 1: Planning

Time needed: about 1 week

During the planning stage, specialists will survey your property to assess space; they will also determine if you have the proper soil conditions needed for installation. Once these factors are found to be acceptable, your specialists will determine which type of geothermal system will work best for your home: closed loop system, open loop system, vertical placement or horizontal placement.

Stage 2: Installation of indoor heat pump

Time needed: less than a day

Every geothermal system uses a heat pump to transfer heat. The geothermal heat pump is connected to the existing ductwork in your home.

Stage 3: Installation of ground loops

Time needed: 2-3 days

First, an above-ground pump and manifold are installed. The ground loops are installed according to their configuration and follow along wooden frames; then they are connected together. Trenches are dug for the loops, and the loops are attached to the manifold. The loops are tested for several hours to ensure there are no leaks, and once this is confirmed, the loops are covered and your landscaping returned to normal. The system can now be activated.

Geothermal systems can be wonderful for energy efficiency and comfort, and the loops systems can last up to 50 years (heat pumps last about 25 years). To find out if a geothermal installation is for you, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., today and schedule your geothermal installation in Mill Creek with one of our experts.

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How Geothermal Systems Benefit the Environment

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Using geothermal heat pumps to provide comfort for homes continues to grow in popularity every year. These systems were once cumbersome and ineffective for homes, but the technology now makes it an easy job for professionals to install the ground loops and the heat pump components for a house that will bring it reliable heating and cooling through all seasons.

But heat pumps aren’t just a good idea for your home. They are a good idea for the Earth. If you are looking for a way to “go green,” then a geothermal system is one of the most effective and durable methods available to you.

You can schedule an appointment with a geothermal surveyor from G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We have provided services in Mill Creek, WA for geothermal heat pumps for many years, and we can quickly find out if a new installation will benefit your home. Our skilled technicians will handle the installation, repairs, and maintenance necessary for you to enjoy a lifetime of comfort from your geothermal heat pump.

Geothermal Systems Are Good For the Environment

  • They conserve energy: Geothermal heat pumps are more energy-efficient than standard heat pumps and air conditioners because they use the stable temperature of the ground as their source for heat exchange. According to the EPA, a heat pump can use up to 44% less energy than an air-source heat pump and 72% less than an electric resistance furnace. The more heat pumps at work in the nation, the more energy we conserve.
  • They reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Approximately 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. come from the heating and cooling of buildings. EPA studies have shown that geothermal systems produce the lowest amount of greenhouse gases of all comfort systems and have the least negative impact on the environment.
  • They won’t damage the ozone layer: Heat pumps use less refrigerant than air conditioners because of their high efficiency, lowering the damage the refrigerant can do to the ozone layer due to emissions.
  • The do not create danger from ground pollution: People sometimes worry that leaking geothermal systems will contaminate the ground. However, the refrigerant that geothermal heat pumps use is a harmless mixture of water and antifreeze. The EPA has found minimal danger from and leaks (which are rare) to the soil or groundwater.

Geothermal heat pumps are beneficial for everyone: you’ll enjoy comfort no matter the temperature outside, see a substantial drop in your heating and cooling bills, and only have to worry about ground loop replacement after 50 years. And the planet will thank you for lowering emission and saving other energy resources.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. is glad to talk to you about the possibilities for going geothermal in Mill Creek, WA. Give one of our specialists a call today.

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Repairs Ductless Air Conditioners May Need

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Ductless air conditioning systems may be easy to install and don’t need ductwork, but at some point they will still need repair. The outdoor unit of a ductless system is very similar to that of a traditional split-system air conditioner, so the real differences in repair work come from the indoor blowers. Ductless air conditioning repairs don’t have to be overwhelming or inconvenient, especially when you call seasoned professionals like the ones at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. Here are some common repairs that can happen with ductless ACs:

  • Condensate leakage – ductless blowers do not have a condensate array like a traditional split-system because there is no indoor unit; there is just a blower. The blower drains the excess moisture (condensate) through a tube to the outside directly from the blower. Sometimes, this tube can become blocked, and water can back up, causing a leak. If not repaired, the wall closest to the leak can be damaged by the excess water.
  • Issues with fans – the fans in the blowers are much smaller than those of traditional split-system air conditioners, but they can still have similar problems. Blades can get damaged, belts can wear and the motors can burnout. Because a few different things can go wrong with these small components, it’s better to let a trained professional inspect any fan problem that may exist.
  • Refrigerant leaks – refrigerant leaks can occur in the indoor and outdoor coils, and also in the refrigerant line that runs from the indoor blower to the outdoor unit; this is one of the ways a ductless AC differs from a traditional system. It’s important to fix refrigerant leaks in any system, and because certification is required to handle refrigerant, you should always use a trained professional.

Ductless air conditioning repairs in Mill Creek offer you the opportunity to keep your ductless AC in optimal shape. If you experience even minor problems with your ductless air conditioner, call and set up your ductless air conditioning repairs in Mill Creek with the experts who can help: G&S Heating, Cooling & Electric, Inc.

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Can I Keep Up with Fuse Box Repairs or Should I Upgrade?

Friday, August 8th, 2014

If your home has a fuse box, it means it has older wiring. This is not automatically a bad thing—the wiring put in was up to code at the time of installation—nor does it mean your home is unsafe. If the fuse box malfunctions, you can choose to have it repaired instead of replaced with an upgrade to a circuit breaker panel.

However, is this actually the best choice? You may wish to look into replacing the aging fuse box with a new electrical panel. We’ll explain why this might be the better option. For a professional opinion as well as the necessary electrical system repairs in Mill Creek, WA, contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We have many years of experience working with fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels.

Switching From Fuses to Circuit Breakers

A fuse box and wiring can wear down over time like anything else in a home. If your house is old enough to have a fuse box, chances are strong that it and the wiring are starting to deteriorate and will begin to malfunction more and more often. You can expect to require a larger number of repairs, and in the long run it isn’t worth it to keep patching up a fuse box and aging circuitry.

An old fuse box will also have trouble keeping pace with growing household energy demands. When the fuse box was first put it, there were lower voltage demands on the circuits in most houses than there are today. Your home likely uses more power than it did only 10 years ago, and the fuse box may not be enough to handle this higher power load.

Finally, fuse boxes are simply less convenient than circuit breaker panels. Instead of replacing fuses when they get blown, you only have to reset the tripped breaker.

Replacing a fuse box with a circuit breaker panel does more than simply tear out one component and put in a new one. The wiring around the panel will probably also need to be replaced with upgraded wiring so that it matches the capacity of the new installation.

Keep that old wiring in mind as well. This might be a good time to schedule a whole-house re-wiring to go along with the circuit breaker. This will bring your home up to current electrical code requirements, offer more efficient power, and lessen issues from outages.

We strongly urge homeowners who still have fuse boxes to make the change to the modern electrical panel.

Call on G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to help you make the choice and then perform the installation work so you can avoid unnecessary electrical system repairs in Mill Creek, WA in the future.

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What to Expect During a Routine Maintenance Appointment

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

In the summertime, you may look forward to running your air conditioner in the middle of a long, hot day. But this summertime wear and tear may eventually cause problems for your AC that could lead to costly repairs. If you haven’t already scheduled air conditioning maintenance for the summer, now is the best time to contact a technician who can restore efficiency and performance to your system and keep your air conditioner running smoothly for the rest of the season.

If you’ve never called for air conditioning maintenance, you may be unsure of what to expect. During a repair call, a technician fixes your system to get everything back in working order. During a maintenance visit, a technician performs services that restore efficiency and prevent damage to your system.

  • Clean System Components: Dirty air conditioning components may interfere with heat exchange, while debris may damage mechanical parts. Debris in the fan motor, for example, may cause the outdoor fan to turn too slowly. Since the evaporator and condenser coil help refrigerant to remove heat, a dirty coil may restrict heat absorption, causing your home to feel warmer and your energy bills to rise. A technician will check these and other parts that may need to be cleaned.
  • Check Refrigerant Levels: Low refrigerant levels often indicate a leak, which should be repaired immediately to avoid a sudden breakdown. Refrigerant absorbs the heat in your home and releases it outdoors. Low levels can decrease efficiency and may lead to major repair needs, such as compressor damage.
  • Inspect Your System for Repair Needs: Another important step of routine air conditioning maintenance is inspection. You may have a damaged AC component that you have not noticed. If there is damage that needs immediate attention, the technician will let you know so that you can schedule repairs as soon as possible.

For air conditioning maintenance in Mill Creek, WA, call one of the experts at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. With our Pre Paid Maintenance Program, you’ll receive twice yearly maintenance and valuable discounts. Pick up the phone today!

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