Ace Air, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Gustine’

Common Air Conditioning Condensation Problems

Monday, April 9th, 2012

The beauty of air conditioning in Gustine is that we don’t have to do anything to live in a cool climate even when it’s boiling outside.  Programmed to adjust automatically, modern thermostats make it even easier.

It is very inconvenient therefore (not to mention uncomfortable) when our unit is not functioning properly forcing us to pay attention.  Suddenly over-heated, our first inclination may be to call for help, but often the expensive repair can be accomplished easily or avoided completely.

Air Conditioning 101

The process of conditioning air to a cooler temperature involves rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants.  These are compounds having properties that allow them to change from liquid to gas and back at low temperatures.

When the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas it absorbs heat.  Compressed tightly together again, the matter condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moist heat that must be released to the outdoors.

Over the course of handling the air to cool it, air conditioners are able to filter dust and dehumidify the air as well.  This release of moisture is why air conditioners have drains.

Condenser Coils

As the heat is removed from the gas, it forms condensation that must be drained from the system.  Tiny particles accumulate along the path, prone to shifting and resettling until they become lodged and can form a significant enough blockage to hamper the efficiency of the unit.  If the drain line becomes blocked, the unit drips or overflows the pan and works its way back into the house, causing damage and potentially mold.

This is when panic is inclined to call for the cavalry.

Easy Fix

A simple act of maintenance performed twice a year and requiring no tools can eliminate the problem and the risk of an unnecessary and expensive visit from a company like (Your Company).  To check and maintain your condensate drain, the steps are the same for both window and whole house units.

On the interior side, remove the panel of the unit and find the drain line, usually a plastic tube.  If the pan is full of water, there is a blockage.  On a whole house system, find where the plastic tube exits the house, making sure that it is above ground and clear to drain away. Flush the line with a short burst from a hose.

Regular maintenance is simply a 1/2 cup of warm water poured down the tube to ensure a clean and free flowing pipe.

Where It Counts

An important aspect of air conditioning repairs is flushing of air conditioning drain lines. If you have any questions about how to do this call Ace Air Conditioning.  We would be happy to explain the process to you and take care of any other aspects of HVAC maintenance you might need.

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Simple Steps to Prevent Heat Loss

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

When it comes to heating Stanislaus County homes there are essentially 2 ways to stay warmer. The first is to create warmth, which you can rely on your home’s boiler or furnace for. The 2nd is to hold the heated air in, and inevitably force the cool air out.  This second objetive of your heating system relies on your insulation.

The notion that you must consider your insulation as a essential portion of an HVAC system is an idea that is frequently overlooked.  Realistically though, that would be like putting on another layer of clothes to say warm, but not considering it another step in your strategy to stay comfortable. The snug insulation, sealed windows, insulated doors and various building materials that make up your home are designed to retain the warmth in the winter and stop the heat from entering all summer.

So, when bolstering your HVAC system to promote efficient heating, it is important to also consider heat loss and how to prevent it. This is a process that can get out of hand if you go overboard, so it is important to prioritize. Let’s look at the top 3 places to start when trying to prevent heat loss.

  1. Doors and Windows:  If you have older doors and windows, they could be a source of heat loss in your house, even if they are always closed. Replacing your windows and door with Energy Star rated ones will make sure that you are not losing heat to the outside AND still getting all the heat energy from the sun. Installing storm windows or putting up heavy curtains in winter can also help cut down on your heat loss.
  1. Seal off drafts. If any opening to your house, such as windows and doors, is improperly sealed, improperly installed or if the surrounding construction is deteriorating, you can lose a lot of heat. Check any drafts that you notice that might indicate a problem, and also if your vents and air ducts are leaky.
  1. Start at the top. If you want to go farther in sealing your house up against the cold, it is time to work on the insulation. When installing new insulation, remember that heat rises, so you get the most bang for your buck by starting at the top. If you only have the budget or time to insulate one space, make it the attic. You can work down from there.

These areas should be your top three priorities on your mission to prevent heat loss in your home. If you start here, you will get the best gains with the least effort.  Call Ace Air Conditioning with any questions.

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HVAC Tips: Components of a Heat Pump

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Because of their simply designed function – pumping heat one way or the other – heat pumps in Gustine have relatively few components. However, these components do not work the way you might expect, if you are picturing, for example, a fan that blows heat in or out.

A heat pump operates on the same principle as an air conditioner or refrigerator, which may seem complicated at first, but it’s not. The heat pump consists of five main functional components, which are outlined below:

  1. The coils absorb heat from the surrounding air and channel it in or out of the home. There are two different types of coils in a heat pump. Condenser coils are outside the home transferring heat to and from the outside air. Evaporator coils are the reverse, transferring heat to and from the air inside the home.
  2. The coils are filled with a refrigerant, which is the medium that carries heat into or out of the home. On a cold day, for example, when the heat pump is in heating mode, the refrigerant in the condenser coils will absorb heat from the outside air, the flow inward into the evaporator coils, warming the interior of the house.
  3. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant so that it is able to readily absorb as much heat from the air as possible. This is how your heat pump is able to gather warm air from the chilly outdoors to keep your home warm.
  4. The reversing valve is the component that changes the flow of the refrigerant when switching from heating mode to cooling mode, or vice versa.
  5. Finally, the air handler is the fan component that distributed the heat throughout the house via your home’s ductwork.

While these are the five main components, there are several smaller parts involved within and alongside each of these, as well. You need not concern yourself with them, since you won’t have occasion to interact with them. A professional will be able to identify and repair any of the components of a heat pump as needed.

In addition to these five primary components, most heat pumps also include a heater pack, which is a bunch of actual heating elements for use when the heat pump cannot operate on its own. For example, you would turn on the “Emergency Heat” setting of your heat pump after a power outage to warm the refrigerant before use. That setting is supported by the heater pack.  If you have any questions about your heat pump please don’t hesitate to contact Ace Air Conditioning & Heating.

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Worst Rooms in Your Dos Palos Home to Collect Allergens

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Your Dos Palos home can be a haven for allergens, and some rooms in particular are much worse than others . They are damp. They are warm. They often have garbage in them. These are the rooms that need especially close attention when trying to maintain air quality in your home.

Basement

First on the list is your basement. A basement is the biggest problem when it’s either unfinished or does not have and air filtration. If you have water leaks in your basement or poor insulation, it’s important to have a moisture barrier put in and have your pipes checked. If the water comes from a drainage pipe or your sewer line, repairs can be made. If it comes from excess ground water or leaks in the foundation, a sump pump or drain tile system will help remove the excess water. Either way, the wetter your basement gets, the higher the risk of mold and other contaminants becomes.

Beyond moisture, a basement tends to collect a lot of dust. After all, it is where we put many of our old and unwanted possessions, and because the furnace is often in your basement, all that damp, allergen filled air gets cycled back into your home.

Bathroom

Bathrooms are allergen havens for two reasons. They are filled with moisture, and without proper ventilation they will soon be filled with mold and mildew. Additionally, when not cleaned regularly they can house buildups of hair, skin, and other dust building residue that tend to trigger allergies.

The easiest way to handle this problem is to clean your bathroom regularly and make sure it is properly ventilated. Short of an exhaust fan in your bathroom, keep the door and windows open to help it dry faster.

Kitchen

Your kitchen produces allergens like mold and mildew due to the presence of garbage and fruit. It can also attract bugs and the dirt that accrues from people passing through constantly. Pets tend to eat in the kitchen, leaving behind dander. Additionally, plants and vegetables in the kitchen release pollen that circulates through your home to trigger additional allergies. Exhaust from cooking and smoke can also be a harmful allergen trigger.

The kitchen should be kept well ventilated and clean at all times. Check for any gaps in your insulation and have your exhaust fan and hood cleaned regularly to avoid backups of smoke or gas.

Allergens are everywhere in your home – with careful attention, however, you can stop them from affecting your family negatively.

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Heating Guide: Five Ways to Save Heat That You Might Not Have Considered

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Finding new ways to lower the heating bills for your Livingston home is always a challenge. Maybe you’ve already insulated and sealed every crawlspace and crack, or you might have recently upgraded that old furnace, but there are always other ways to reduce heat loss in the winter.

Here are five ways to conserve heat that you might not have considered.

1. Insulate Recessed Light Fixtures

While recessed light fixtures save space and give you more control over lighting and design, such as task lighting in kitchens, they can be a hidden source of heat loss. Feel around your recessed lighting fixtures to see if there’s cool air or a draft. If you do, they could need more insulation. However, you have to be extremely cautious about what type of insulation you use around electrical wiring and fixtures. Check with the manufacturer, or call an electrician if you aren’t sure what  type of insulation to use.

2. Insulate Water Heater Tanks

Part of your heating bill each month goes to heating the water in your home. Whether you have a gas, electric, solar, or hybrid hot water heater, every water heater tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses. If you have a low R-value, your tank may need more insulation. Call a professional plumber or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of the model you own, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you may need to buy a “jacket” for your water heater. These are fairly inexpensive, easy to install, and can be found relatively anywhere you buy insulation.

3. Open Curtains on South End

The southern end of your home will get the most sunlight in the winter. If you have curtains or blinds on your windows or doors, leave them open during the day, and make sure you close them at night. Opening them will help warm up the home naturally during the day, and closing them will help keep the cold air out and warm air in at night.

4. Storm Windows and Doors

Many homeowners know they have the option of upgrading old doors and windows that leak air, but not everyone can afford to upgrade all the doors and windows at once. You can also install storm windows and doors to help reserve heat. Before you start comparing prices, remember to measure, since measurements will affect the cost.

5. Close Fireplace Flue

Whenever your flue is open, you are losing large amounts of heat. Close the damper if the fireplace or chimney is not being used. You can also consider upgrading to a more air tight damper.

You can always call Ace Air Conditioning & Heating whenever you have questions about lowering your heating costs for your Livingston home.

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HVAC Contractor Tip:Pros & Cons of Heat Pumps

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

When deciding on any major purchase for your Gustine home, a critical step is to weigh the pros and cons. This helps you to decide on the best option and reach the best decision for your needs and preferences.

Installing a new heating system is a perfect example of a situation in which you would need to weigh pros and cons. There are a lot of options, and not all of them are right for all people. Take heat pumps, for example. They are great devices and serve many people extremely well as home heating solutions, but they are not without their drawbacks. Below are some of the pros and cons of heat pumps to help you decide whether a heat pumps if the way to go for you.

Pros:

  1. Inclusive – A heat pump not only heats your home in the winter but also cools it in the summer, thanks to a reversing valve that changes the flow of the refrigerant. Having one appliance for both heating and cooling can be very convenient.
  2. Energy efficient – Heat pumps are extraordinarily efficient when it comes to energy use. Because they simply move and distribute heat, rather than producing any on their own, they use minimal electricity.
  3. Simple – Operating on the same basic principles as your refrigerator or an air conditioner, heat pumps are relatively simple. More importantly, they simplify your life by putting your heating and cooling solutions in one package and running on electricity, so you don’t need any other fuels on hand.
  4. Inexpensive to operate – In addition to being energy efficient – which lowers your monthly energy bills – many heat pumps are eligible for federal tax credit. You can save a bundle by using a heat pump.

Cons:

  1. May need supplementing in cold climates – In climates where winter temperatures stay below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for a while at a stretch, a heat pump will have trouble keeping up and need to be supplemented.
  2. Don’t work in power outage – Obviously, because they are powered by electricity, a heat pump won’t work in a power outage, unlike some other heating solutions that do not require electricity.

Although the pros clearly outweigh the cons here, the cons are important as well. Carefully consider all these factors and more while deciding whether a heat pump is the solution for your Gustine home.

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