Reasons to Upgrade Your Thermostat

November 7th, 2014

You may not think that there is any reason to upgrade your thermostat unless it’s broken. After all, it doesn’t really experience wear and tear the way the rest of the heating system does. It doesn’t waste more energy by being an older model, like some heating units do. It’s just a control circuit hooked up to a sensor. You’d be surprised to learn, then, that there are actually many good reasons to upgrade your thermostat. Let’s examine some of the advantages you can gain by upgrading you thermostat.

Adaptability

Most old digital thermostats are only capable of being programmed for one temperature at a time. You set the temperature you want, and if you want to change that temperature you’ll have to reset it. Older thermostats don’t even have that function, forcing you to manually turn the heat on or off. New digital thermostats are capable of a degree of adaptability far beyond these older models. Not only are they programmable for a single set temperature, but they are capable of having different temperatures set for different times of the day and even different days of the week.

Savings

This may seem like a simple luxury, with no substantial impact on the efficiency of your heating system. Consider, however, the minor ways in which heating energy is wasted. Heating turning on when you’re not home, or when you’re asleep. These minor things add up over time, adding to the cost of your heating bill. With newer thermostats, those extra costs are almost completely mitigated.

Information

Older digital thermostats are fairly limited in the information that they provide. Usually, they display the temperature, the desired temperature, and whether the heat is on or off. Modern thermostats, however, are capable of monitoring and displaying much more valuable information than that. For example, some thermostats are capable of measuring when the air filter in your heater needs to be changed. This information gives you greater control over the health and maintenance of your system.

If you’re interested in upgrading your thermostat, call Ace Air Conditioning. Our heating experts cover the whole Merced area.

Heating Question: What Is Electronic Ignition?

October 31st, 2014

The heating industry has taken many steps to help reduce emissions and to make heaters more energy efficient. One of the problems it has tackled over the last few years is the issue of a continuous pilot light. A pilot light is a small flame that stays lit all the time so that the gas in your furnace can combust. One of the drawbacks of having a pilot light is that it needs a constant flow of gas to be lit. To help reduce this excess energy usage, electronic ignition was introduced. There are two types of electronic ignition, as we’ll outline below. If you have any issues with your heating, call the people with over 25 years of experience with heating services in Merced: Ace Air Conditioning.

Two Types of Electronic Ignition

There are two types of electronic ignition: intermittent pilot and hot surface ignition.

Intermittent Pilot

With an intermittent pilot system, gas doesn’t flow to the pilot until the system is cued for ignition from your thermostat. Once the cue is given, gas flows through the pilot line, and a small electronic device creates a spark that crosses the pilot, igniting the flame. The thermocouple then senses that the pilot is lit, allowing the main gas line to open. At this point, the burners light, and the heating process begins.

Hot Surface Ignition

Hot surface ignition uses electricity to ignite your furnace. An electrical current is passed over a silicone filament, similar to that in a light bulb, which heats to a temperature that is hot enough to ignite the natural gas. Once the filament reaches the right temperature, the main gas line opens, allowing the gas to flow so it can be ignited in the combustion chamber.

Electronic ignition can help reduce the amount of gas you use, and allows for safer ignition in your furnace. If you are interested in finding out more about how electronic ignition can benefit you, call Ace Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our HVAC experts.

Why a Heat Pump Is a Good Choice for Heating

October 24th, 2014

If you’re looking for a new heating system this fall, then a heat pump might be the perfect choice for you. Heat pumps work very similar to more traditional heating systems, with a couple of unique and important differences. It is these differences that set them apart, and confer a number of great advantages over other systems. Let’s examine how heat pumps work, and why they’re such a great choice for heating.

How does it Work?

Heat pumps have two main components, the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. These two units are connected by a conduit that includes a refrigerant line, used to transport thermal energy. This isn’t all that different from any other forced air heat system. What is different is how these two units operate.

While in heating mode, the outdoor unit uses a coil to absorb thermal energy from the air surrounding it. It then directs this thermal energy inside to the indoor unit, where it is used to heat the air and circulate it throughout the house. This is why this system is called a “heat pump.” It actually “pumps” the heat from one area to another instead of trying to create all that heat itself.

Benefits

So what are the benefits to installing a heat pump? For one, you’ll save money. Heat pumps are incredibly efficient heating systems owing to their ability to utilize thermal energy in the surrounding air. This means that the heat pump doesn’t have to work as hard as other systems to reach the same temperature. The heat pump consumes less energy for the same results, which will decrease the cost of your heating bills.

The next benefit is versatility. Far from being just a heating system, heat pumps are designed to both heat and cool a room. This saves you the money and space required for installing a separate air conditioning unit. Heat pumps are all about efficiency. If you’re looking for a heating system that will pay for itself, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’d like to have a heat pump installed, call Ace Air Conditioning. We install heating systems throughout the Merced area.

3 Signs Your Furnace Needs Repair

October 17th, 2014

One of the most comforting feelings in the winter is walking into a home heated by a reliable gas or electric furnace. But if you turn your furnace on and notice something unusual, it’s a sign that your furnace may soon fail on a day that you need it most. You should always call a repair technician at the first sign of trouble, even if the situation seems like only a minor concern. Broken parts certainly won’t improve over time and may cost you more money on heating costs every month.

The following list contains some of the signs that you should schedule furnace repair right away. For heating repair service in Merced, contact the technicians at Ace Air Conditioning as soon as possible.

  • Poor Heating Capabilities: Don’t wait until your heating system has quit working completely to schedule repairs. When your furnace will not work as it should, it indicates that a breakdown may be near. It could be ignition problems, a broken thermostat, or even a problem with the ducts. In any case, without prompt repairs your furnace will have to work harder to heat the home, which may cause it to overheat.
  • Unusual Noises: Your furnace is never exactly quiet, but a strange noise should alert you to something that is not quite right. These noises can take many forms, from a banging or popping sound to a squeal, and could indicate a variety of problems. Sometimes, a loud noise indicates only a loose screw, or even a dirty filter that hinders airflow to the unit. It may also indicate a fault motor, loose belt, or a problem with the ignition.
  • Trouble Starting Up: If your furnace does not turn on at all, you know to call for repairs right away. But if you notice that your furnace has trouble starting up or won’t seem to stay on, you should act just as quickly. This could mean thermostat trouble, a wiring issue, or a faulty fan motor.

Any unusual furnace behavior could result from a number of different issues, so you need trained, experienced technicians to locate the source of the problem and make fast repairs. When you have trouble with your furnace, call the experts at Ace Air Conditioning right away.

What Are My Heating System Options in Merced?

October 10th, 2014

If you need a new heating system, you may choose to install the same type of system you have always relied on. However, there are many different options for heating available, so you may decide to go a different route.

To help you decide between a few of the most common and efficient options for heating, the dependable technicians at Ace Air Conditioning have put together this guide. While you should always speak with an expert before making your final decision, we want to help you stay informed about your options.

Furnaces

One of the most popular ways to heat a home is with a furnace. Selecting the right furnace first depends on the type of fuel you will use to power it. Most homeowners who have access to a gas line choose a gas furnace, as it is generally a cheaper power source than electricity. However, there are some efficient electric furnaces available as well. The second step in choosing the right furnace is the AFUE rating, which lets you know how much of the fuel a furnace uses goes toward heat production. A higher AFUE rating means a more efficient system. Finally, a technician will help you choose the proper size unit for your home.

Heat Pumps

Installing a heat pump is an extremely efficient choice, especially if you would like to replace both your heater and your air conditioner. Heat pumps are combination air conditioning and heating systems that usually have high efficiency ratings for both cooling and heating. These are installed just like traditional central air conditioners, as they have both an indoor unit and outside condenser unit. In the winter, heat pumps move heat from the outdoor air into your home, which makes them efficient systems because they only move heat rather than generate it.

Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump

If you don’t have any ductwork in your home, the best solution may be a ductless mini-split heat pump. Like other heat pumps, these are both heating and air conditioning systems, but unlike heat pumps, ductless mini splits don’t need any ducts to distribute air. Instead, indoor air handlers house the evaporator unit and blowers, and these are mounted high on the wall or suspended from the ceiling.

The experts at Ace Air Conditioning want to help you make the right decision about your new heating system in Merced. Call our knowledgeable, dependable technicians today!

What to Do When Your Furnace Won’t Start

October 3rd, 2014

Coming home to a cold house, or even waking up in one, is no one’s idea of a good time. It may be hard not to panic, but not all breakdowns are indicative of large, costly expenses. One way of determining this is to check for a few things that we’ll list below. If you should need heating repair service in Merced, help is always at hand with Ace Air Conditioning: our certified and trained technicians are available 24/7 for any of your heating repair needs.

Trouble-Shooting Tips for Your Furnace

Here are a few things you can do before calling for heating repair:

  • Check the pilot light – is the pilot light out? Sometimes the pilot light can get blown out, in which case you should try to re-light it. But if you re-light your pilot and it goes out again, it’s best to call a technician to inspect it.
  • Check your thermostat – your thermostat may have accidentally been switched to off, or had the program changed if it’s programmable. Also, make sure the switch is on “auto” or “on”.
  • Check the condensate pan – furnaces have pans that collect excess moisture; these pans are called condensate pans. If the condensate pan is too full, your system won’t turn on.
  • Check the electrical power – your heating system will have its own circuit breaker in your electrical box. If the breaker has tripped, try switching it back to on. If you encounter resistance from the circuit breaker, don’t force it as this means the electrical load is too much for the breaker. Instead, call for repair.
  • Check to see if gas is on – the shut off valves of your heating system are in the “open” position when they are parallel with the supply line. If they are not parallel this means they are closed and not allowing gas to flow.

These tips are designed to help you with minor issues that can cause problems for your heating system; they are not meant to take place of professional repair services or encourage you to take on repairs yourself – leave that for the experts. Should you need heating repairs, call the people you can trust: Ace Air Conditioning.

Furnace Guide: 3 Components You Should Know

September 29th, 2014

We are officially in the fall season, and it is a great time of year to turn your attention to your heating system. While no one is expected to be an expert on their home heating system, it does help to understand a few of the main components and how they work. Knowing about certain components can help if you need to schedule repairs for your heating system in Merced. Following is a list composed by our Ace Air Conditioning technicians to help you know and understand a few of the main components of your heating system. If you are in need of repair, call for us an appointment.

3 Components of Your Furnace

  • Igniter – furnaces using combustible fuel such as gas need an igniter to turn the gas into a flame. The component responsible for this is the igniter. Igniters, (in older furnaces, they are the pilot light), are referred to as hot surface igniters because they are composed of special electrical wire encased in a ceramic covering. Hot surface igniters light furnaces in one of two ways. With the first type, the igniter is heated to 1800 degrees; once the igniter reaches this temperature, the gas valve to the main burner opens, and the gas is ignited. The second way an igniter can work is by creating a spark that ignites the gas in the burner.
  • Thermocouple – the thermocouple is a safety sensor in your furnace that monitors the flame in your burner. Its job is to sense the heat in the pilot area; if the flame is not hot enough and safe for combustion, the thermocouple stems the flow of gas.
  • Limit switch – the fan limit switch is a safety device for your furnace. It has a set temperatures at which it both turns on and shuts off. When your heating cycle begins, the limit switch will not turn on the fan to distribute the air until the system reaches the right temperature. The limit switch will also shut down the burner if the temperature becomes too high.

It is always recommended that repairs to your heating system be handled by a trained professional. We have some time to go before heating season, but if you think you may be in need of repair, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your Ace Air Conditioning technician.

Why Should You Consider a Ductless Mini Split for AC Replacement?

September 19th, 2014

As a homeowner, the possibility exists that you may have to replace your air conditioner. With advancements in technology and a focus on better energy efficiency, you may want to take the opportunity to install a different kind of air conditioning system. One type that has gained considerable popularity over the last few years is the ductless mini split system. Ductless cooling has been around for a while, but over the last few years it has gained in popularity with residential properties for a number of reasons. For over 25 years, Ace Air Conditioning has been helping Merced customers stay cool with different kinds of air conditioning systems, and we can help you with everything from installation to repair to maintenance.

How Does a Ductless System Work?

A ductless system has an outdoor unit very similar to that of a traditional split system; the condenser and compressor are contained in this unit. Inside, individual blowers are installed; these blowers have a fan, evaporator coils and a filter inside, allowing them to deliver the cool air directly. . Every blower is supported by the outdoor unit (an outdoor unit can support up to 4 blowers) and is connected to the outdoor unit via a conduit through an exterior wall. The refrigerant line, condensate drain pipe and a power cord run through this conduit. When an indoor blower is turned on, the air conditioning cycle begins.

What Are the Benefits of a Ductless System?

A ductless system can offer some benefits you may not get with other air conditioning systems:

  • No need for ductwork – as the name indicates and as we’ve explained above, a ductless system does not need ductwork to deliver the cool air. This can be especially helpful for older homes that do not have vented heating systems.
  • Automatic zone control – each blower operates independently, offering you the ability to cool only what is needed. Some blowers are programmable, giving you even more control over the amount of heating or cooling you use.
  • Easier installation – the installation of a ductless system is relatively easy compared to the installation of a traditional split system AC. Blowers can be mounted flush against walls or hung from ceilings, and the conduit only requires a hole of 3”. The outside unit can be placed on the ground.

A ductless system can offer you year-round comfort with some benefits you may not get with other systems. If you are interested in what a ductless mini split system can do for your air conditioning system, call Ace Air Conditioning today and schedule your AC replacement in Merced, CA with one of our trained experts.

How to Get Your HVAC System Ready For Colder Weather

September 12th, 2014

We still have some very toasty temperatures in our part of California, but it won’t last forever as the Fall Equinox is right around the corner. Fall doesn’t just offer great foliage and cooler days; it also provides an opportunity to get your HVAC system ready to switch from cooling to heating. Here are some tips from our Ace Air Conditioning technicians to get your HVAC system ready for heating your home:

Schedule Bi-Annual Maintenance

The two best times of year to schedule maintenance are spring and fall. Each provides you the chance to ready your HVAC system for the coming season. Maintenance helps to prevent repairs, increase energy efficiency, and extend the life of your HVAC unit. Ace Air Conditioning includes the following in a heating maintenance appointment:

  • Check and adjust thermostat & and heat anticipator
  • Check fire & combustion air
  • Check air temperature and furnace fan switch
  • Check and clean burners
  • Check operation of automatic pilots
  • Check for heat exchanger
  • Oil evaporative motors
  • Check fuses and breakers
  • Check voltage, amperage and tighten electrical connections
  • Check Freon levels in heat pump
  • Check reversing valve and heat strips (heat pumps)

Change Your Air Filter

A simple yet effective way to help get your HVAC system ready for cooler weather is to check your air filter and change it if necessary. Clogged air filters can cause problems with your system and with indoor air quality. A quick change can help prevent these kinds of issues from developing.

Make Needed Repairs

Whether needed repairs are discovered during a maintenance appointment, or you’ve been ignoring those strange noises, it’s best to make repairs sooner rather than later. Problems with your air conditioner rarely resolve on their own, and certain problems, like low refrigerant, will only get worse with time. Plus, malfunctions with your AC can cause stress to your system, and this can increase your energy usage. If you have seen the signs of developing problems, or just suspect that something isn’t right, it’s always best to call a professional.

Help your heating this winter by getting your HVAC system ready – call Ace Air Conditioning to schedule your HVAC maintenance in the Merced area today!

Typical End of Summer Repairs

September 9th, 2014

Around the end of summer, it may be frustrating when you need to schedule AC repairs. It may seem like a hassle if your air conditioner has made it through the entire summer before you finally hear loud noises, feel limited cooling, or notice other problems indicating the need for repairs. But this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. In Merced, CA, our air conditioning systems work hard to cool our homes, and the stress on your system throughout the summer may eventually damage your AC.

Have you been inconvenienced by a sudden repair need this late in the season? You’re not alone. Take a look at these common end-of-the-summer repairs, and be sure to call a technician at the first sign of a problem.

  • Low Refrigerant: One common reason air conditioners fail at the end of summer is low refrigerant. This is not to say that this chemical blend naturally leaves your system, however. The refrigerant in your system should stay at a set level and will only leave your system if there is a leak. While a small leak may cause the cooling capacity of your system to reduce, as more refrigerant leaves your system you may feel no cool air at all.
  • Blown Capacitor: Another common problem with many air conditioners at the end of summer is a blown capacitor. The capacitor provides power to the motors and the compressor of your AC. While this is a relatively small repair need, your air conditioner may not be able to turn on if the capacitor has blown.
  • Damaged Compressor: The compressor adds pressure to the refrigerant to your system, which is a necessary process that allows it to continue to move through the AC. Excessive wear on your AC, low refrigerant, or any other problem within your system may cause the compressor to become damaged by the end of the summer. Alternatively, your compressor may fail due to old age.

You may be able to prevent such problems from occurring by scheduling maintenance once or twice a year. If you need air conditioning services in Merced, CA, talk to one of our experts at Ace Air Conditioning today!