A Comfortable Retreat

Wood Pellet Boiler Systems: An Intro For Curious Homeowners

Posted by on Aug 7th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wood Pellet Boiler Systems: An Intro For Curious Homeowners

If you are looking to break away from a reliance on oil, gas, or electricity as your primary heating source, there is a good chance that you will come across modern wood-burning alternatives in heat systems. Perhaps one of the most popular in modern times is the wood pellet boiler system. To get to better know these modern systems, here is a look at some of the most common questions and the answers you will want to know if you are considering making a change. 

What exactly is a modern wood pellet heat system?

This relatively new home heating system combines the fueling power of compressed wood particles and the traditional ideas of the boiler that was once a primary heat system type in residential homes. Unlike regular pellet stoves, which require manual placement of pellets inside of the burning cavity as needed, these boiler systems actually offer an automatic feed that supplies the pellets from a reservoir or holding area. The burning pellets heat water, which is then pumped throughout the house in radiant water lines or to radiators.

Will switching to a wood pellet boiler system mean all new lines if you already have a boiler?

In most cases, the answer to this will be no. Most modern boiler systems that are powered by a wood pellet burning system have interchangeable connections as far as the lines are concerned. Therefore installation is usually a pretty seamless process. 

What are some advantages of a modern wood pellet burning system?

By switching to wood pellets as your primary heating fuel, you get a handful of benefits and advantages, including:

  • a more stable price for the fuel you need to keep your home warm
  • a low-maintenance system which does not require a lot of attention from you as the homeowner
  • a lower carbon footprint for your home because wood pellets are a natural, renewable resource
  • an elimination of reliance on public utilities for your home heating needs

Where can you get the wood pellets that are necessary to fuel your heat system?

Wood pellets are available in abundance across the country because they are crafted from a resource which is available pretty much everywhere: wood. Because the pellets last so long and can be stored in a holding area on your property, you can order the pellets inn bulk quantities and have them delivered right to your home in most areas. Talk to a contractor, like Pell City Heating & Cooling Inc, for more help.

First-Time Homeowners: Why Is Your Air Conditioner Only Blowing Hot Air?

Posted by on May 20th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on First-Time Homeowners: Why Is Your Air Conditioner Only Blowing Hot Air?

Whether you’re a high school graduate who recently moved out of your parents’ home or you are a newlywed who just purchased your first home, you probably haven’t quite learned the ins and outs of home ownership just yet. This includes how to troubleshoot your own air conditioner. As a first-time homeowner, you probably want to save whatever money you can to go toward your mortgage and homeowners’ insurance. If this sounds like you, you will want to diagnose and fix your air conditioner problem yourself if possible. Even if you can’t fix it yourself, you will at least know what to avoid to prevent this from happening again in the future. If your AC is blowing hot air, here are four reasons why:

1. Your Thermostat Is Set to Heat.

You may think that this is a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many new homeowners forget to switch the thermostat to cool when the weather starts to get warmer. Or, if you have little ones running around the house, they may have accidentally flipped it to “heat” mode while they were playing. So, make sure to check this first and avoid an embarrassing call to an HAVC expert and an unnecessary repair bill.

2. Your Filter and Evaporator Coils Are Both Filthy.

Now, if the thermostat is actually on the appropriate setting and you are still getting hot air, the problem may actually be a dirty air filter and a dirty evaporator coil. Ultimately, your filter should be changed on a regular basis (every one to two months during the summer). When it isn’t, it caused the dirt and dust build-up to make its way to the evaporator coil. When this happens, it results in your unit’s cooling inefficiency. To clean the evaporator coils, you will need to follow these instructions or hire a professional.

3. Your Outside Unit Isn’t Being Maintained.

If your filter checks out, then you may want to head outside and take a look at the condenser unit outside of your home. Do you notice any dirt or debris blocking the air flow around the condenser coils? If there is, you should move any debris and then take a garden hose and wash off the outside unit to remove any built up dirt. This will help remove anything that has been impacting your unit’s cooling ability. This may be something you need to consider doing regularly throughout the summer to ensure your unit is accurately maintained.

For more information, contact Wright Total Indoor Comfort or a similar company.

How To Tune Up Your AC

Posted by on May 20th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Tune Up Your AC

As summer approaches, now is a good a time as any to fix up your air conditioner and make sure it is functioning properly. A normal air conditioning unit in a home should be serviced every couple of years. However, there are also some simple maintenance jobs you can do after every winter when you haven’t been using your air conditioner. Most importantly, you want to focus on the condenser unit on the outside of your home. This can get dirty over the winter, especially if it is not covered with a tarp. This article explains how to prepare your condenser unit for normal summer usage by cleaning and straightening the fins.

Clean and Straighten Your Condenser Fins

The condenser unit is vital because it helps cool the refrigerant that flows through your system. The exterior of the unit is lined with aluminum sheets. These sheets have ridges that are called fins. The fins stick out and can get easily bent and dirty. If the fins are dirty or bent, the heat transfer will be seriously delayed. This means your condenser unit will use more energy to circulate air, but you will still probably end up with reduced airflow. Basically, your AC will be more expensive to run, and it won’t be pumping out enough cold air.

First, you want to clean out the coils. These can get clogged with leaves, dust, and dirt. They are exposed to the elements on the outer lining of the unit because the condenser needs to suck in air. This means that cleaning them is very easy. Most likely, you will be able to adequately clean them by spraying them down with a hose. However, if the dirt stays stuck to the fins, you can use condenser coil cleaning liquid. This helps break down the dirt if you spray it onto the coils and let it soak in for a few minutes.

You can also help your unit by straightening bent fins. Fins can get bent easily because they are so thin. To do this you should invest in a condenser comb. However, you might also need a small flathead screwdriver to fix smashed coils. This process can be time consuming because there are so many fins and they are so small. It takes a little attention to detail and patience. By straightening out the fins, you can significantly improve air intake. As you can see, this maintenance is simple. But it can have a huge effect on the efficiency of your AC, so don’t neglect it.

AC Temperature Not Consistent? What Could Be Wrong & Cooling Tips

Posted by on Feb 25th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on AC Temperature Not Consistent? What Could Be Wrong & Cooling Tips

Your air conditioner system is supposed to give you complete control over the temperature in your home. But this power is not promised, especially if you have failed to have your AC serviced regularly. The following guide may show you why your AC isn’t cooling your house as it should and what you can do about it.

What Could Be Wrong With Your AC?

The following are just some things that may cause your home to cool unevenly:

Vents Issue

One of the simplest problems to solve is if the issue lies with your cooling vents. Check to see if the rooms that are not cooling correctly have a partly closed, obstructed, or completely closed vent. Just open the vents, or remove the obstructions, and the issue should be resolved.

Deeper Vent Issue

The problem could be an obstruction of air circulation somewhere inside of your ventilation system. You can check to see if the air filter needs to be replaced, and replace it using this link. Or you can go outside to your outdoor AC unit, and clean your evaporator coils (a grill covering the unit) using an evaporator coil cleaner. You can get this cleaner kit from your local hardware store.

Disconnected Air Ducts

Most air ducts are around your attic, so inspect them and see if any are disconnected. These air ducts help transport the cooled air to different areas in your home; so make sure you reconnect any loose air ducts that you see.

Tips to Keep the AC-deficient Rooms Cool

The problem may be more complicated than just ventilation obstructions; it could be related to a bad motor among other things. You need to talk to your air conditioner specialist if you believe the problem is bigger than you can handle.

Consider some of the following to keep cool even with a bad AC until you can make an appointment with your air conditioner system specialist:

  • Use dark curtains, especially UV deflecting curtains to help cool the rooms that are not cooling well.
  • Look for air leaks or holes in the wall that may be making it harder for your struggling AC to keep you cool.
  • Open doors to let air enter the rooms that are not cooling properly, and close the door when the room finally reaches a comfortable temperature.

Of course, you can also use a fan, but understand that these solutions are only temporary. So make sure that you talk to your AC specialist as soon as you can.

centuryheatingandairconditioning.com

Signs You Need To Clean Your Air Ducts

Posted by on Jan 15th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Signs You Need To Clean Your Air Ducts

Over time, as your heating and air conditioning systems move air throughout your home, dust and other detritus can build up in your air ducts. This buildup can restrict air flow and make your furnace or air conditioner less effective at heating or cooling your home, resulting in higher energy bills in the long run while at the same time making your house less comfortable. Understanding the signs that your air ducts are becoming clogged can help you have them cleaned out before they become a serious issue.

Dust Buildup in Vents

Take the cover off of the outflow vents and peer inside. You may need a flashlight to see inside of your air ducts. If you can see a buildup of dirt, dust, or any other debris, it is extremely likely that there is further buildup deeper within your ducts as well. For inflow vents, check to see if there is a buildup of dust, usually in a fuzzy coating, on the vent. If there is, your air ducts may need to be cleaned.

Increased Noise

If you have noticed an increase in the noise of your air conditioner or furnace, you most likely have a blockage somewhere inside your ductwork. The unit is straining more, and working harder, to push air throughout your home, but is unable to do so. If having your ductwork cleaned out does not decrease the noise, you’ll want a specialist to come in and look at your unit to ensure that there is not another problem that is causing the increase in operation noise.

Reduced Air Flow

If there is a reduced flow of hot or cold air when your air conditioner or furnace turns on, this is a sign that there is a blockage within your air ducts. Check individual outflow vents for air flow – a blockage may only effect a single duct, though cleaning the entire system is a good idea for long term maintenance to prevent other blockages from occurring.

Dirty Air Filter

Check the air filters for both your furnace and air conditioner. If they have become heavily clogged with dust and other debris, it’s a good idea to have your ducts cleaned out as well. Even though the filter was able to trap a great deal of dust, the reduced air flow throughout your ductwork means that dust can settle within the ducts. Clean out the filter and replace it, and then contact a HVAC specialist like Allzone Air Conditioning & Heating Corp to have your ductwork cleaned out.

4 Simple Rules For Taking Care Of Your Air Conditioner This Winter

Posted by on Nov 30th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Simple Rules For Taking Care Of Your Air Conditioner This Winter

With the winter heating season well underway, it’s important to remember that your air conditioner could also use a little TLC. Even if you’re not using it right now, it’s still a good idea to keep up with its maintenance. The following offers 4 simple steps you can take to keep your A/C unit in great shape for the spring and summer ahead.

Keep It Clean

The most important part about maintaining your air conditioner is keeping it as clean as possible. A clean A/C unit is also one that performs at its peak when it comes to reliability and energy efficiency. Here’s what you can do to keep your A/C unit free of dirt and other debris:

  • Check the area immediately surrounding the air handler and remove any leaves and other debris you come across.
  • Thoroughly clean the outdoor condenser cabinet. In most cases, you can simply use a garden hose to rinse off excess dirt and debris. You can also remove the outer case, grill and condenser fan to clear away leaves, weeds and other debris.
  • Check the evaporator coil (located inside the plenum on central A/C units) for dirt, debris and mildew. If necessary, gently scrub the evaporator coil using a mild detergent and a soft bristle brush. You can also spray no-rinse cleaning foam directly onto the evaporator coil and let it work its magic.
  • Always replace the air filter before you stop using your A/C unit for the winter. It’s also good idea to replace the filter again at the end of the winter season.

Keep It Covered

Placing a high-quality mesh cover or even a simple piece of plywood over the condenser cabinet can help prevent leaves, twigs and other debris from getting into the unit throughout the winter. It can also help keep rodents and other small animals from taking residence in your condenser cabinet.

Keep an Eye Out for Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can easily go undetected during the winter, when you’re least likely to use your A/C system. Keep a sharp eye on your unit’s refrigerant lines and associated fittings. If you see oil leaking out of the A/C compressor or any of the refrigerant lines, then chances are there may also be a refrigerant leak. If you do suspect a refrigerant leak, you should have your HVAC technician take a look and also double-check your A/C system’s current refrigerant charge.

Keep It Damage-Free

You should also be careful whenever you’re around your A/C unit, since there are many components that are surprisingly fragile. For instance, it’s usually a good idea not to touch the evaporator or condenser coil fins. These fins are made from very thin aluminum and can easily bend or even break if you’re not careful.

These tips can help you preserve your A/C system until it’s time to use it again next spring or summer. For more information, talk to a place like Shivani Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.

3 Simple Maintenance Tips You Need To Follow If You Have A Whole House Humidifier

Posted by on Sep 22nd, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Simple Maintenance Tips You Need To Follow If You Have A Whole House Humidifier

If you use a whole house humidifier to regulate the level of humidity inside of your home, you need to make sure that you take proper care of it. Like any large appliance, your whole house humidifier needs to undergo regular maintenance in order to continue to function properly. Here are three things you need to do in order to keep your humidifier in good working order.

#1 Change The Water Filter

One of the most important components of your humidifier is the water filter. Water has to flow through the filter in order for your humidifier to create the right level of humidity within your house. When the humidity level is too high in your house, your humidifier will pull moisture out of the air and pass it through the water filter.

In order for your humidifier to function properly, the water filter has to remain clean. Over time, it can get clogged up with mineral deposits and other debris that restrict the flow of water and air through the filter. When this happens, your entire unit does not work as effectively as it can.

All you need to do to keep your unit running smoothly is check your water filter every six months. In general, it is a good rule of thumb to change out your water filter at least once a year. However, it is a good idea to check it in between changes to make sure that it is not too dirty and to make sure that it does not need changed early.

#2 Clean The Pipes Within Your Humidifier

Next, you should also clean the pipes inside of your humidifier when you change out the water filter. The pipes within your humidifier play an essential role in circulating water and air through your humidifier; if they get clogged, your system will not work as well as it could.

When you remove your filter, wipe down all of your pipes and make sure that no debris is clogging them up.

#3 Balance Your Humidifier

Finally, you need to check your humidifier at least once a year and make sure that it is balanced and level. Your humidifier needs to be level in order for excess water to be distributed equally over the water evaporation panel. When your unit is uneven, your unit will not be able to evaporate water or circulate water effectively.

If you have a whole house humidifier, you need to give it a little attention at least once a year in order to ensure that it continues to work properly. You’ll need to change out the filter, wipe down the pipes, and make sure that the unit is evenly balanced. You can do this all yourself, or call in a humidifier or air conditioning expert like American Heating and Cooling Specialists to perform this yearly maintenance check. 

Maintaining Your Oil Furnace: Getting Ready For The Cold

Posted by on Aug 25th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Maintaining Your Oil Furnace: Getting Ready For The Cold

When you purchase your first home, you may not know all of the maintenance details of every home appliance and device in your new home. And, if you moved in the spring or summer, you likely paid little attention to your home’s furnace other than the fact that it has one. So, when fall rolls around and you take a closer look at your furnace to realize your heating system uses oil, you may not know how to handle the situation. Get to know some of the best ways to maintain your oil furnace in order to ensure that it is ready to go when the weather turns cold. 

Check To See If The Furnace Fires Up

First things first, when you are ready to check your oil furnace to ensure it will be ready when the weather changes, you will want to fire up your heat. So, flip your thermostat to heat and make sure you turn up the temperature to anything higher than the current temperature in your home. 

Head to your furnace room and wait a few minutes for the system to switch on. Once your blowers start going, hold your hand near a vent to be sure the air is sufficiently warm. Listen for any strange noises like clicking, clanging, and thudding. If everything seems to be in order, you will likely be good to go.

Make A Few Corrections If The Furnace Doesn’t Work

When you try to test out your oil furnace and it doesn’t turn on within a few minutes, the first thing you will want to do is double-check your thermostat. Ensure that everything is set correctly, and if it is battery-operated, try changing the batteries. 

If adjustments to the thermostat do not work, your next step will be to check your furnace fuel oil. To do this, be sure you have turned your furnace off. Then locate your fuel gauge and the tank. 

Even if the gauge shows that your furnace oil is full, you will want to check the tank as well. Sometimes the gauge is damaged or somehow disconnected and your oil may deplete in the meantime. 

If these basic corrections do not do the trick, it is best to call an oil repair specialist to take over. Major oil furnace repairs are rare, but can be quite complex to complete. Now that you have a few ideas about the ways that you can maintain your oil furnace, you can get started before the weather changes. 

24 Repair Emergencies: Save Your Outdoor AC Unit Immediately After A Flood

Posted by on Jul 20th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 24 Repair Emergencies: Save Your Outdoor AC Unit Immediately After A Flood

If your area is suddenly hit by a summer flood, and your outdoor air conditioning system sustains damage, you may wonder if you can save it. Although flood waters can create a host of mechanical problems in your cooling system, you may have a chance to save the outdoor unit if you act fast. Once you take the right precautions with your outdoor unit, contact your 24-hour air conditioning service for repairs. Here are things to do right now that help protect your outdoor AC unit from permanent disrepair.

Check the Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit is the most vulnerable part of your cooling system. Not only is the unit exposed to flooding water first, it’s also vulnerable to bugs and other outdoor hazards after the water subsides around the property. You want to check the outdoor unit immediately after it’s safe to do so. Here’s what you do:

  • Disconnect your cooling system’s power source at the fuse box or breaker box. Always keep safety in mind when working in your cooling system. 
  • Check the unit for loose, sparking wires that may injure you. If you notice problems, stop all actions and contact your 24-hour AC repair technician. Otherwise, proceed to the next step but use precaution as you check the inside of the outdoor unit. .
  • Examine the fan to see if it’s obstructed by dead animals, sticks, wires, insects, leaves, and other debris. If you feel comfortable enough, place protective gloves on your hands, remove the covering over the fan, then clean away the debris stuck on the fan and inside the unit.

Avoid touching any debris that appears sharp or dangerous or you risk injuring your fingers and hands. If you notice live snakes crawling inside the unit after the flood, contact wildlife control to remove the reptiles. 

Don’t spray pesticides directly into the unit or it’s parts to kill mosquitoes, biting gnats and other bugs. The oils from the chemicals may permanently damage the unit. 

Examine the Foundation Around the Outdoor Unit

The cement foundation around the outdoor unit can bog down with water and collapse. If this happens, you may have a hard time saving the unit. You want to reinforce the cement supporting your outdoor unit as much as possible with strong plywood. 

Look for weak areas of soil around the base of the unit. If the foundation appears wet or muddy, have someone help you slide one or two pieces of plywood beneath the unit to keep it from sinking into the ground or falling over. Follow this step to secure all areas around the cement foundation.

After you complete both steps above, cover the unit with canvas or some other water-proof material to keep it clean and secure. Once your 24-hour AC technician arrives, they’ll repair the unit.

For professional AC service, contact a company such as Elite Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

Addressing 3 Concerns About Air Duct Cleaning Services

Posted by on Jul 8th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Addressing 3 Concerns About Air Duct Cleaning Services

The air ducts that are a central part of your home’s HVAC system are definitely a critical component. They take the forced air that the system supplies and appropriately distribute it throughout your home to keep you warm and cool. Even though valuable, air ducts can leave you vulnerable as well. If the ducts are outdated or damaged, they can easily be exposed to mold, dust, and allergens on the inside.

Because the duct system works with flowing air, this means that these contaminants could easily make their way into the air you breathe indoors. Here are a few of the most common questions homeowners usually have about air duct cleaning. 

How long will it take to have the ducts in your home professionally cleaned?

This will rely heavily on the size of your system and the type of problem that is present in the ducts. For example, cleaning for possible mold contamination could take a long time, but a simple clean out of dust and debris may only take a few hours. 

Should you leave the house while the ducts are being cleaned?

The professional that works to clean your ducts will use various methods to try to keep dust and debris from being littered throughout your home while they clean, such as plastic partitions and commercial vacuum systems. However, it is almost impossible to eliminate every fine particle that becomes airborne in the process.

If you are especially sensitive to dust or have existing breathing problems, it may be best for you to have a relative sit in on the job while you stay outdoors or somewhere else. 

Is it true that there are scams revolving around air duct cleaning services?

There were a few reports in 2014 from worthy news channels warning homeowners about specific companies offering to clean air ducts. One company in particular was revealed by a former employee who stated that the company purposely targeted elderly homeowners, telling them they had mold issues, but never really doing a sloppy job and collecting hefty payments. To make sure that the contractor or company representative that you employ to clean your ducts is legit you should

  • Make sure the company has an established history or record within the community. 
  • Ask for proof of company licenses to operate in the state where you live.
  • Check reviews with the Better Business Bureau.

When it comes down to it, keeping the air ducts in your home clean as a senior is definitely important. Just be sure you find a reliable contractor who can help you if you believe that your ducts are indeed in need of some time and attention.