Handling Emergency Heating and Air Conditioning Repairs

Heating and air conditioning are essential elements of comfortable home living in most, if not all, residential properties. However, there will come a time when your system will succumb to wear and tear and need a little TLC. Often, HVAC repair issues will spring up at the most inopportune times. As emergency HVAC repairs can be quite difficult to deal with, you’ll need the steady hand of expert technicians.

Understanding How a Geothermal Heat Pump Works

For an effective and eco-friendly way to heat your home, consider installing a geothermal heating system, which involves a heat pump that taps into the earth’s heat to keep your home comfortable during cooler months. Our geothermal solutions can save you substantial amounts of money on your utility bills. Read more

Furnace Replacement: How to Know When It’s Time

Is your furnace acting up? If it is making strange noises or operating less optimally than it used to, it may be time to consider a replacement. Now that winter has hit, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you have a properly functioning heating system in your home. To learn more about the most common signs of furnace malfunction, keep reading.

 

5 Signs That It is Time to Replace Your Furnace

Since furnaces tend to last several years before needing replaced, it’s smart to learn to recognize the signs that let you know that you’ll need more than a simple repair. Below we outline the 5 signs signs to look out for to indicate that you need a new furnace:

 

Time Furnace Replacement

 

 

Time to Replace? Call Us Today!

If you find yourself needing a new heating system, we’re the area’s number one choice for installation and replacement. We can help you find the very best heating system to meet your needs at a price you can afford. Call us at 425-746-3077 to learn more.

How to Choose Right Heating System for Your Home

If you are considering purchasing a new heating system for your home, then there are several things you should consider before making such a major decision. Below, we have outlined some of the top things you need to know about when you are trying to choose the best new heating system for your home.

Consider Sizing

Proper sizing is important to ensure efficient operation and comfort. An oversized heating system will heat your home quicker, but cannot reach its peak operating efficiency, and this wastes energy and causes excess wear on the system.

Get Technical

Before purchasing a new heating system, ask your technician to perform a heating load calculation. This takes into account your home’s square footage, current insulation levels, window orientation and other important factors. The calculation will help you determine what size and type of heating system will work best to keep your home comfortable.

Think Long-Term

As you compare costs of heating systems, consider the initial cost as well as the long-term expenses of operating and maintaining the system. Look for the yellow EnergyGuide label, which can help you estimate annual energy costs. Your HVAC contractor should be able to provide estimates of typical maintenance costs over time for each system as well.

Efficiency is Important

Another important factor to keep in mind is the heating system’s efficiency. The more efficient the system, the less it will cost to run. These savings in energy costs will add up over the lifetime of your heating system.

Different Types of Systems

There are a number of different heating systems to choose from. It’s important that you understand your options before deciding which system is right for your home.

Furnaces

New propane, gas, or oil furnaces typically have efficiencies between 77% and 97% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). In addition to the AFUE, also consider the system’s electrical efficiency. Furnaces often use a large amount of electricity to power the fan motor, so seek out a furnace with a high electrical efficiency. Multi-speed or variable speed fan motors are oftentimes more efficient than single-speed motors.

Furnaces are mainly available in “minimum efficiency” (AFUE of 78-80%), “mid efficiency” (AFUE 83% for gas/propane, and 87% for oil), or “high efficiency” (AFUEs of 90-96%).

Boilers

Boilers are also rated with an AFUE. All heating boilers manufactured after 1992 are required to have an AFUE of at least 80%. When purchasing a new boiler, look for features such as efficiency controls, minimal electrical needs, and indirect water heating.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps operate on the same refrigerant cycle as an air conditioner does, but during the heating season the cycle is reversed to distribute heat throughout your home. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than other types of electric heating systems. Look for a high seasonal efficiency or HSPF, between 8 and 9; the higher the HSPF, the lower your energy costs.

Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient, as they absorb heat from either below the ground or from water circulated below the ground. Geothermal heat pump efficiency is conveyed as a COP or Coefficient of Performance. A COP of 3 is about equal to an HSPF of 10. Most geothermal models have COP ratings of 2.5 to 4 and some municipalities provide monetary incentives to help offset the initial expense of installing a geothermal system.

Want More Expert Information on Home Heating?

Give us a call. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about choosing the right home heating system for you and your loved ones. Call us today at (425) 746-3077.

What to Consider When Replacing Your Furnace

The average furnace can last as long as 25 years with a proper maintenance routine. Even the most meticulous homeowners, though, will eventually have to replace their units. If your unit has begun to lose efficiency and break down, it’s probably time to switch it out for a newer model.

How to Tell When Your Furnace is Obsolete

Age itself isn’t reason enough to buy a new furnace. These systems can last a surprisingly long time. There are some specific signs that you can look for to help you determine if your unit has reached the end of the line.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (Or ACEEE) recommends that any furnace with a coal burner be replaced; even if it has been modified to consume gas or oil. They also suggest that units with a pilot light (versus an electric ignition) be removed. These machines can be a bit less stable and are significantly less energy efficient.

If you notice a sharp spike in your winter energy bill, it’s evidence that your furnace is struggling to meet the demand. If you can’t seem to get your house warm enough or have noticed new noises coming from the unit, those indicate a possible replacement.  

Choosing a New Furnace

Once you’ve determined that you need a new furnace, select the best fit for your home or office. Instead of simply ordering an exact replacement for your old unit, do some research. ACEEE says that most furnaces are grossly oversized. This can end up costing you quite a bit of money because larger units cost more. A good supplier will help you select a heating system based on your actual energy needs, rather than estimating based on square footage. This method takes other information into account, such as insulation and preferred temperature.

Efficiency and Return On Investment for Furnaces

Furnaces cost thousands of dollars, so choose a unit that will help cut costs as much as possible over the course of its life. The more effective your new system is, the sooner you will recoup your losses and have a unit that “pays for itself.” For example, if your current setup has a 65% efficiency rating and you upgrade to a model with a 95% efficiency rating, you’ll save approximately $32 for every $100 of heating costs. If your average monthly power bill before replacing our furnace was $300, you’ll be cutting back by an astounding $1,100 each year.

Selecting a Fuel Source

Consider the fuel source of your new unit. Even if you already have a gas-burning unit, you don’t have to continue to use it. Fossil fuel prices tend to fluctuate, so it’s difficult to tell how cost-effective another gas unit might be down the road. Examine some of the new alternatives, such as wood pellets. Find a fuel that is cheap and easy to acquire in your area and then select the appropriate furnace.

When you’re ready to replace your furnace, contact us. All Climate has some of the best heating systems and products on the market. Our team will help you find the heating system that best fits your home and budget. Ask about our convenient financing options.

Will Your Heating System Last this Winter? Here’s How to Test It

Though winter may still be a few months off, it is important to test your heating system before you need it. Much like your vehicle, your heating system also needs regular maintenance to keep it running efficiently. Checking your system in the fall allows you to identify any problems that you can work to fix before you’re left in the cold.

How to Test Your Heating System Before Winter

Testing your heating unit to make sure that it is working properly is a simple, but important task. Follow these steps to make sure that your heating system is working:

  • Set your thermostat to the heat or on position, and adjust the temperature so that it is at least 10 degrees higher than the temperature of the room.
  • Listen carefully for the heating equipment to turn on. It should start up within a few minutes of adjusting the thermostat.
  • Use a standard thermometer to test the temperature of the room after 15 minutes. Place this thermometer by your thermostat and check that the temperatures are reading the same. If they are not, you may need to replace your thermostat.

If the equipment does not start up, you can press the reset button on the burner’s relay, but make sure to only press it once. If the system still does not start up, you may need to call an HVAC professional to check your heating system.

Heating System Maintenance Checklist

Once you have tested your system to make sure that it runs, you should also complete some basic maintenance tasks to avoid any breakdowns and ensure that your system will run efficiently. Here’s a short checklist to help you make sure you are ready for winter:

  • Check your windows and doors for leaks and cracks. Though they may be harder to notice in the summer, these areas let more cold air in, causing your heating system to work harder than it needs to in order to keep your home warm.
  • Clean or replace air filters. Dirty and clogged air filters can also decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system. These should be checked and replaced regularly to keep your system running smoothly.
  • Turn off the power to your furnace, and clean the heater’s fan blades if you are able to access them. Also, check to see if the fan’s motor and blower shafts need lubrication. Keeping your system cleaned and oiled helps prolong the life of the unit.

Checking your heating system before winter is about more than just comfort. A properly maintained HVAC system will run more efficiently and help you keep your energy costs down when you are running your heater often. Checking the system before you use it regularly also helps you to eliminate any potential hazards from a broken or malfunctioning heating system.

If you need help getting your heating system ready for the winter, call us today. An experienced HVAC technician can test your HVAC system and make sure you are ready for the coldest time of the year.

The Future Of HVAC: Cogeneration

These days, most home and business owners are as concerned with the environment as they are with daily life. They’re always looking for ways to benefit the earth and save energy in their homes. Though it may surprise you, one of the key places to save energy is through your HVAC system. Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), is touted as the future of not only the HVAC system, but environmental awareness. Consider cogeneration to protect the environment and the health of your family and customers.

What Is Cogeneration?

CHP generates electricity without wasting heat and heat byproducts. Instead, CHP recaptures and “recycles” heat that would otherwise be wasted. It gives the wasted heat productive uses, such as adding just a bit more warmth to your home as needed or re-cooling heated air. This keeps heat from being wasted during spring and summer when it’s needed less. Cogeneration also keeps extra heat from being siphoned into the environment, preventing some pollution.

Although it’s seen as a twenty-first century technology, cogeneration has actually been around in one form or another since about 1882. It’s been proven helpful for homeowners and business owners for a variety of reasons. For one thing, cogeneration helps people become more dependent on thermal energy. Thermal energy is much cleaner than energy based in coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. While these forms of energy are fairly cheap, they’re also infamous for their detrimental effects on the planet and the health of those nearby. They spread pollution throughout the environment, and they may also be responsible for certain diseases, such as respiratory infections.

Why Cogeneration Matters

Home and business owners who use CHP will likely learn how to respond better to temperature fluctuations in their buildings. They may look into other clean energy alternatives, such as wind or water energy. Even if these aren’t available or affordable, people who use CHP will find that their energy bills are declining and that their thermostat runs without the need for constant adjustment. Additionally, since this technology keeps contaminants out of the surrounding environments, owners can run their systems with less concern about contributing to dirty emissions in the air.

The money that home and business owners save on energy can then be funneled into more important matters, such as hiring new employees or paying more expensive daily living costs. The EPA estimates that, as cogeneration grows more popular, more money and energy will be saved. Currently, the EPA estimates that using CHP cuts energy costs and harmful emissions by 30-40%. In our recovering economy, this is a huge positive for those dealing with high energy bills. The EPA estimates that as technology behind cogeneration improves, it will become more popular and accessible. Specific environmental controls are still undergoing improvements, as are technologies that will benefit indoor air quality.

Finding An HVAC Dealer

When choosing an HVAC system, ask your dealer how much energy he or she estimates it will save your building. Additionally, ask any questions you have about maintaining an HVAC system that uses cogeneration. Although cogeneration is beneficial for everyone, it works differently depending on your specific HVAC system. That’s why it’s crucial to find the right dealer and system for you. If you’re searching for an HVAC dealer in Redmond, WA or surrounding cities, contact us online or by phone or visit us in person.

Radiant Floor Heating for Your Home

When homeowners want seamless and even heating in areas of their homes, they look into radiant floor heating. Imagine walking on your tiled bathroom floor in the dead of winter without having to put on socks or hop between strategically placed throw rugs. Radiant floor heating is efficient and completely invisible, giving you the best in comfortable heating.

At All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning in Seattle, we look forward to discussing the many benefits of installing a radiant floor heating system in your home. Whether you want to make your bathrooms more comfortable or you’re looking into a better way to heat your entire home, we have the right radiant heating solution for your needs.

How Radiant Floor Heating Works

Instead of placing registers in the floor or ceiling, we install radiant floor heating systems between your subfloor and the finished top floor. Typically, the systems involve coiled loops that run just under the surface, evenly heating the finished floor in the same way a heating pad warms to soothe sore muscles. The most popular style of radiant floor heating is called hydroponic radiant floor heating.

Hydroponic heating is often more cost-effective and efficient than other types of radiant heating because it uses hot water instead of warm air or electricity. The boiler-heated liquid progresses through a series of installed tubes under the floor, providing consistent heating. Homeowners can install radiant flooring systems under any flooring material, but tile tends to conduct and hold onto residual most efficiently.

Benefits of Installing Radiant Floor Heating

While many homeowners consider radiant floor heating an added luxury, like a heated towel rack, the solution is incredibly practical. Benefits include:

  • Cost-effectiveness. The upfront cost of installation is slightly higher than other heating solutions, but radiant floor heating is more cost-effective over time. The even heating provided to the entire room means you can keep your thermostat set a little lower. Owning and operating the system typically saves homeowners money over time.
  • Energy efficiency. Radiated heat provides constant, comfortable temperature changes instead of forcing hot air out of registers only to have it rise to the ceiling. Radiant flooring only uses the amount of heat truly needed to keep the space comfortable.
  • Silence and invisibility. You won’t hear the system kick on, risk exposure to allergens forced out of a register, or see the system at work. All you’ll feel is a comfortable temperature from the floor up.

Contact All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning to Learn More

If radiant floor heating sounds like a step up from your current heating installation, let us know. We offer free in-home estimates for radiant flooring installations, and our team of technicians is happy to answer all of your questions about installation and maintenance over time. Contact us today at (425) 361-0126 to get started.

On Servicing Thermostatic Expansion Valves

Servicing a Thermostatic Expansion Valve

Thermostatic expansion valves generally offer worry-free operation and are highly reliable. If they’re malfunctioning it’s usually not because of something wrong with the valve itself, but rather a problem somewhere else is expressing itself symptomatically in the TEV. If you’re going to have to be servicing a TEV it means you’re either fixing an issue somewhere else, or you’re going to be replacing the TEV due to an improper installation. If you’re lucky however, the issue could be fixed with a superheat adjustment.

Causality in Servicing TEVs

More often than not when you’re on a service call and dealing with a malfunctioning TEV you’re not going to be doing much, if any, fiddling with the TEV itself. Flooding, starving and hunting can be caused by a direct malfunction of the TEV by debris in the lines getting caught inside the inner workings, from an improperly installed valve, or improperly set superheat. Installing a filter-drier ahead of the valve can remedy any issues with debris in the valve body.

Servicing Thermostatic Expansion Valves

For this you’re going to need your gauges and your thermocoupler. In order to diagnose an issue you will need to attach your gauges and you’ll also want to measure amp draw. A restricted TEV will cause amp draw to be low since the compressor doesn’t have to work as hard and a flooding TEV will cause amp draw to be high. Remember to let the system run for at least five minutes before attaching your gauges.

With gauges attached and system running, locate the bulb and remove it from the line.

You’re going to need to replace it in exactly the same position to mark, photograph, or remember how and where it was attached. Hold the bulb in your hand and watch the gauges. The high side should drop substantially as the TEV opens to supply more refrigerant. If the pressure does not change substantially then the TEV is likely stuck. Next, immerse the bulb into a cup of cold water.

The high side pressure should increase as the TEV closes to restrict the flow of refrigerant. If it doesn’t, again it is likely stuck.

If the TEV is hunting excessively, this is caused by either an oversized TEV or an improperly installed one. Replacement will be necessary if that is determined to be the case.

Remember to reattach the bulb to the line set before packing up. Remember, if the line is 7/8 or smaller, install the bulb at 12 o’clock. If it is larger than 7/8 then install the bulb at 4 or 8 o’clock.

For more information about servicing TEVs or HVAC systems, follow the All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning blog to stay on top of the technology.

Stopping Mold Growth in Your Commercial HVAC System

Mold contamination is bad news for any business, including yours. Airborne mold spores can trigger allergic reactions, cause significant property damage and blemish your reputation in the community.

Cleaning mold isn’t impossible, but the best strategy to manage the problem is to prevent mold outbreaks from occurring in the first place. Taking proper care of your commercial HVAC system is a vitally important part of this mission, since heating and cooling equipment and the infrastructure that supports it are extremely vulnerable to the predations of this hardcore invasive fungus.

Mold Grows Where Moisture Collects

The battle against mold is really a battle against moisture accumulation and dampness. Mold spores need chronically humid environments to take root and grow, and in HVAC systems in particular ideal breeding grounds for mold tend to proliferate.

In large-scale commercial HVAC systems, mold can often be found in prodigious quantities in or on:

  • Duct work interiors
  • Cooling coils
  • Condenser drain pans
  • Humidifying equipment
  • Dehumidifying equipment
  • Return-air plenums
  • Cooling towers
  • Outdoor air intakes
  • Grills, screens and air filters (when clogged by dust and debris)

In some instances poor drainage allows water to collect in pools that can turn into toxic stews of microbial life, including bacteria as well as mold and other types of fungus. Meanwhile other areas inside commercial HVAC systems suffer from perpetual dampness, helping mold spores gain a solid footing from which to spread outward.

Cleaning and Preventing HVAC Mold Infestations

Mold fighting strategies in HVAC systems require thorough, inch-by-inch inspections of every possible area where mold might be found. If and when it is found, the affected parts should be vigorously cleaned until all traces of mold have vanished.

Treatment to prevent future mold growth in all vulnerable areas is the next step, preferably using fungicides, disinfectants, cleaning solutions and protective coatings that are environmentally benign and EPA-approved.

Before you hire any company to handle these tasks, you should make sure their technicians have extensive training and plenty of first-hand experience in this area. As they proceed you should monitor their actions carefully, to make sure they take protective measures to ensure mold contamination is contained and not accidentally spread to previously unaffected sections of your HVAC system.

All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning Hates Mold

Regular duct work cleanings and annual maintenance inspections are two of the best ways to prevent mold outbreaks in your commercial HVAC system. So if you happen to live in the Seattle area you are in luck, because All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning has expertise in both.

Mold is a sneaky invader, and you can never rest easy assuming you won’t have a problem. But All Climate can help you manage your mold risk to the point where it becomes virtually non-existent.

We invite you to call us today about all your commercial HVAC maintenance needs. Be sure to ask about our money-saving annual service plans, which offer affordable cleaning, tuning and maintenance procedures on a regular basis.