4 Reasons to Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance in the Spring

April 13th, 2015

Imagine this scenario: it’s the middle of summer and your air conditioning system begins to make a strange noise. The fan is still running, but all of a sudden, your air conditioning system no longer puts out any cold air. This is an issue that happens all too often with air conditioning systems that don’t receive any attention over the year. But you can help to prevent sudden breakdowns from occurring by scheduling air conditioning maintenance, which involves a thorough inspection of your system. Here are four more reasons to make the call this spring.

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Could You Benefit from Zone Control Installation?

April 6th, 2015

Have you ever argued with a family member about the temperature in the home? Do you wish that you could lower the temperature in one room without affecting the temperature in the others? Scheduling zone control is a great way to help everyone in the home feel more comfortable—and maybe even get along a little better. Additionally, zone control can save you money, and allow for more even temperatures throughout the home.

What Is Zone Control?

Zone control installation involves accessing and disassembling the ducts to put in a set of dampers. When you adjust the temperature in any given zone of the house (usually one zone per room or for each open area), the damper opens or closes to let more air in or out. Each zone has its own thermostat for sensing and controlling the temperature, but each thermostat is also controlled by a master thermostat.

How Can You Save?

Zone control helps homeowners to save money in a couple of different ways. In homes with multiple levels or unique architectural layouts, conditioning the entire home to a relatively stable temperature is difficult. You end up using a lot of energy in an attempt to cool your entire home, lowering the temperature past what is necessary to feel comfortable upstairs or in a room with a lot of space. With zone control, the air conditioning can adjust in the areas that are difficult to cool without paying extra to lower the temperature throughout the home.

You’ll also save money by turning off the air to any areas of the home without any occupants. When someone is not using a room, simply shut off the air to that area or raise the temperature on the thermostat. With the advanced features of today’s digital thermostats, you can always set the thermostat to turn back on again before family members arrive.

Call the professionals at Ace Air Conditioning for zone control installation and quality air conditioning service in Merced, CA.

Why You Should Have a Humidifier Installed in Your Home

March 30th, 2015

Humidity is often vilified as a source of discomfort by a great many people. If it’s a hot day out, you probably won’t be able to make it all the way through it without someone remarking “but at least it’s a dry heat!” While it is true that high humidity can be uncomfortable, maintaining a proper humidity level is actually very important to your health. It can even help keep your home in better condition.

Read on to find out why you should have a humidifier installed in your home.

Humidity Levels and Health

If the humidity level in your home’s air is too high, it can feel like you’re living in the middle of a swamp. High humidity can promote mold growth, make it more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature, and generally cause everything to feel uncomfortably sticky. However, low humidity is just as bad. If the humidity level is too low, it saps the moisture from everything in the vicinity. Wood furniture becomes brittle and cracks, books degrade and, most importantly, your body’s defenses against disease begin to weaken.

Most of your body is made up of water, and the mucus membranes that protect you from infection by germs are reliant on a certain level of moisture in the air to stay effective. When the humidity level drops too low, the membranes in your throat and sinuses begin to dry out and crack. This makes it much easier for germs to infect and sicken you.

How Humidifiers Help

A humidifier is designed to adjust the humidity level in your air by releasing moisture into it. Often, it is best to install a whole house humidifier in the ductwork of your home. That way, it can treat all air that is circulated throughout the house. Making use of a humidifier in dry climates will ensure that a proper humidity level is maintained, so that you can remain comfortable and healthy.

If you’d like to know more about how humidifiers can help you, call Ace Air Conditioning. We provide humidifiers throughout the Atwater area.

Why You Should Have Your Furnace Checked Annually

March 23rd, 2015

Furnaces are among the most popular home heating systems in the country. Despite their popularity, however, there are still many homeowners whom are unaware of how to help their furnaces live long and healthy lifespans. Most furnace owners seem to be of the belief that as long as they call for repairs when their furnaces break down, that they will live up to their potential.

While prompt repair is a key part of keeping your furnace healthy, it is not enough on its own. Read on to discover why you should have your furnace checked annually.

Wear and Tear

As a furnace gets older, it will start to accumulate wear and tear on the various parts that make up the system. This is true of all systems, really, not just furnaces. There is nothing you can do to prevent this wear and tear from happening, but you can mitigate it before it has a chance to cause any serious harm.

Wear and tear will eventually cause parts to degrade enough to fail completely. When this happens, it can cause the furnace to stop operating properly. This can cause problems elsewhere in the system, which can lead to a complete breakdown. For example, the air handler motor in your furnace is equipped with lubricated bearings to decrease the friction on it during operation. Once the bearings get worn out, they start to increase the friction on the motor. Eventually, the motor will overheat and burn out without the help of the bearings.

The Benefits of Annual Furnace Maintenance

Having your furnace checked out every year gives your HVAC technician a chance to find and fix any parts that are starting to wear out, or develop issues. The sooner these issues are found and corrected, the less damage is inflicted on the system as a whole. This both makes your furnace more effective and longer-lived. If you want your furnace to live as long and healthy a life as possible, you’re going to need to schedule an annual preventive maintenance appointment.

If you haven’t scheduled your annual furnace maintenance yet, call Ace Air Conditioning. We provide furnaces throughout the Turlock area.

Signs That You May Need a Humidifier in Turlock, CA

March 16th, 2015

Although high humidity is more notorious when it comes to uncomfortable temperatures, low humidity causes as many problems when it occurs inside a home. The healthiest condition is balanced humidity, and if your home suffers from one or the other extreme, you should give Ace Air Conditioning a call. We install both dehumidifiers and humidifiers in Merced and Southern Stanislaus Counties.

High humidity is often easy to detect in a home. Low humidity is a bit more difficult. We’ve put together some of the signs to watch for that indicate you should give us a call to arrange for the installation of a humidifier in Turlock, CA.

  • Static electricity: An increase in static electricity in a home may be one of the more benign effects of low humidity, but it’s a very obvious effect that will warn you that other problems may be occurring. If you are receiving numerous shocks when you touch door knobs and clothing gives off crackles when you unfold it, you may have air that is too dry.
  • Dry sinuses: Low humidity will cause sinuses to dry up and become irritated. This is an unhealthy situation, since it allows illnesses to spread easily from person to person. If your household is encountering sinus troubles (as well as an increase in colds and flus), it’s time to look into installing a humidifier.
  • Trouble staying warm: Just as high humidity makes hot weather feel hotter, low humidity makes cold weather feel colder. If you notice that you need to run the heater for longer periods of time during cooler months, the issue may be with the humidity level.
  • Cracking wood surfaces and peeling paint: Dry air draws moisture out of surfaces, which is why the human body feels cooler in low humidity: heat is pulled out of the body along with the moisture. When this moisture is drawn out of wooden and painted surfaces, it will cause them to develop cracks and other damage.

Small portable humidifiers are effective for single rooms, but they will not help if your house suffers from general low humidity. You will need to call on indoor air quality specialists, like those at Ace Air Conditioning, to install a whole-house humidifier.

If you think you need a humidifier in Turlock, CA to combat dry air, give us a call today.

How One Small Part can Cause Massive Furnace Repairs

March 10th, 2015

We tend to think of furnace repair issues as being caused by catastrophic failures, things like the burner assembly malfunctioning or the air handler motor burning out. While those things certainly can happen, the most common causes of furnace repairs are usually small parts.

The thermostat, ignition, and air filter are all small parts that nevertheless play vital roles in the operation of the furnace. It is these parts that most often have negative effects far beyond their size when they fail. Today, we’re going to focus on what happens when the air filter isn’t properly maintained.

The Air Filter

The ducts inside an average home are often full of all sorts of dust and debris, which can cause problems if they make it into the furnace. The air filter is installed in the air return duct of the furnace, and serves to protect the system from any particles that may blow in from the ducts. The filter itself is pretty simple in terms of construction, just a fiber mesh over a frame. As it captures any particles that run into it, the filter allows air to flow into the system uninhibited.

The only problem is that the air filter has no way to get rid of any particles that it captures. This means that the filter has to be either cleaned or replaced every few months. If this doesn’t happen, the air filter will become so clogged with dirt and dust that it blocks air flow to the furnace. That’s when the real problem begins.

Short-Cycling

When the air filter restricts the flow of air into the furnace, it traps heat inside the system. When that happens, the furnace will quickly start to overheat. This activates the limit switch, which shuts down the system as a safety measure. The switch can’t address the root of the problem, though. When the furnace cools off enough to start up again, the clogged air filter will cause it to overheat again and the on/off cycle will continue indefinitely.

This is called “short-cycling.” Short-cycling puts more strain on the furnace than it is designed to handle, and can severely shorten its life if it is allowed to continue for an extended period of time. If you notice your furnace short-cycling, turn it off and call a professional immediately. You’ll probably need to have your air filter replaced.

If you need furnace repairs, call Ace Air Conditioning. We provide furnace services throughout Atwater, CA.

What Kind of Heating System Should I Install?

February 27th, 2015

If you need a new heating system for your home, you may not be sure what type of unit to go for. Maybe your old unit was inefficient and unreliable, and you’re not sure if you should switch over to a new type of system. Maybe you don’t know what your options are if there are no ducts installed in your home.

We’re here to help; the people at Ace Air Conditioning have put together this quick list of some of our favorite systems for heating installation in Atwater, CA, and we’d like to offer our services to anyone looking for a new, efficient unit.

  • Furnace – The furnace is the most common type of heating system found in homes in the United States. If you’ve owned a furnace in the past, you may be skeptical about installing a new one, but keep in mind that today’s units are much more efficient and far safer than ever before.
  • Heat Pump – Heat pumps are heating and cooling systems in one. These run on electricity, but they’re highly efficient because they move heat from place to place instead of generating it.
  • Ductless – Ductless heat pumps can heat or cool a home as efficiently as a standard heat pump without the need for any ductwork at all!
  • Gas Fireplace – Ducts or no ducts, a gas fireplace is a great addition to any home, drawing on natural gas to create a warm, comforting experience.

In general, choosing a heating system is a job best left to a professional. You may know which type of heater you want, but choosing the exact model and size for your home is a job more suited for someone with experience in the field. Sizing involves a complex set of calculations. If these are not completed correctly, you may end up with a system that is too large or too small. A large system may short cycle and utilize too much energy, while a smaller system won’t heat your home completely and may fail very early on.

Allow professionals to help you select a new system, size the unit, and make sure that all of the parts are securely in place. The friendly people at Ace Air Conditioning are trained in heating installation in Atwater, CA, including furnaces, heat pumps, ductless units, and gas fireplaces. Call on our team of experts today!

Why there is Ice on Your Heat Pump

February 20th, 2015

Finding ice on your heat pump can be a pretty strange experience, especially if the temperature isn’t below freezing.

If your heat pump is inexplicably icing over, it can’t be a good sign, right? Well, yes and no. Actually, it’s pretty common for heat pumps to have ice form on their casings during cold days. It’s not necessarily a problem, with a couple of exceptions. Let’s examine why the ice forms in the first place. After that, we’ll outline the circumstances in which it may require some heat pump repairs.

Heat Siphoning

Heat pumps are called such because they don’t create any heat on their own. Instead, the outside part of the heat pump siphons heat from the surrounding air and sends it inside to warm the house. This is done by evaporating refrigerant in a coil inside the outside unit. The refrigerant gas acts as a heat sink, leeching heat out of the surrounding air and into the coil. There are two side effects to this process. First, the temperature in the air directly around the heat pump drops. Second, the coil inside the heat pump heats up, causing condensation to form on it and on the other parts of the casing. The combination of condensation and suddenly-colder surrounding temperatures can cause ice to start forming on the heat pump.

When it’s a Problem

If the ice builds up far enough to cover most or all of the heat pump, it will cut off the coil’s access to the thermal energy it needs to heat the house. This is when it becomes a problem, because the heat pump loses its ability to function. Heat pumps are designed with this problem in mind, however, and include defrost cycles that are designed to melt the ice off of the casing. That’s why you normally don’t need to worry about a little ice on the heat pump. However, if the defrost cycle stops working it can allow the ice to build up too high and cripple the unit. So, if you notice a little ice on your heat pump you should check on it every hour or so. If the ice is decreasing, then don’t worry about it. Your defrost cycle is working properly. If the ice is steadily increasing, or if it’s already covering ¾ or more of the unit, then you should call a professional to look at it.

If your heat pump is encased in ice, call Ace Air Conditioning. We provide heat pump repair services throughout Turlock, CA.

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Why Your Furnace Keeps Turning On and Off Quickly

February 9th, 2015

Have you noticed that your furnace keeps rapidly cycling on and off, as though it can’t decide what to do? If so, don’t ignore it! That kind of behavior isn’t some harmless quirk that your furnace has picked up. Rapidly turning on and off is called “short-cycling,” and it’s a very serious problem. Let’s take a look at the common causes of short-cycling, and what needs to be done about it.

The Source of Short-Cycling

Short-cycling is caused by an interaction between the furnace and a safety device called the “limit switch.” The limit switch monitors the temperature inside the furnace’s main chamber, or “plenum.” When the temperature inside the plenum gets too high, the limit switch activates and shuts down the furnace to prevent damage from overheating. Unfortunately, this does not actually solve for whatever problem was causing the overheating in the first place. When the furnace cools off and restarts, it will overheat again and the cycle will continue indefinitely.

The actual cause of the overheating problem can vary, from something as simple as a clogged air filter to a more complex issue like a malfunctioning air handler. It will take professional examination of the system to tell for certain.

Consequences of Short-Cycling

Short-cycling is among one of the most damaging problems that a furnace can have. It locks the furnace into its initial startup cycle, which is the most physically stressful part of normal operation. Normally, the furnace works harder to reach the target temperature, after which it slows down and only makes slight adjustments of one or two degrees. Short-cycling prevents the furnace from ever reaching the second part of its cycle. The added stress of starting and stopping over and over can cause crippling damage to many parts of the furnace. This includes the heat exchanger, a vital and expensive part, which often needs to be replaced after prolonged short-cycling has taken its toll.

The best thing that you can do to prevent short-cycling is to change your air filter every 1-3 months. This keeps air flowing into the furnace to cool it down and maintain a safe temperature. If you do notice that your furnace is short-cycling, though, you should turn it off and call a professional as soon as possible to limit the damage.

If your furnace is experiencing problems, call Ace Air Conditioning. We provide furnace services throughout Turlock.