The Advantages of Radiant Floor Heating Systems

October 6th, 2014

Radiant heating systems have been around for quite a while, but the more traditional versions of them have been eclipsed by forced air systems. This was exacerbated by the problems the older radiant systems had. Copper baseboard heaters can corrode over time, causing leaks in the walls. Radiators can slowly warp the floor under them from intense heat, causing them to tilt and not operate properly. Plus, having a large, hot metal object in the corner of your room could result in injury if you aren’t careful. The newest radiant heating technologies, however, have quite a lot to recommend them. Here are the advantages of radiant floor heating systems over forced air systems.

Radiant Heating Operations

Most radiant floor heating systems work by running small tubes between the floor and the subfloor of each room in your home. The boiler then heats water and pumps it through these tubes, causing heat to radiate up through the floor and into the room. This obviously works a lot better with hardwood floors, which more easily transmit heat to the rest of the room.

Advantages

The first advantage of radiant heating is efficiency. Forced air systems lose about 30% of their thermal energy in transit between the furnace and the vent. This is due to the ducts not being air tight. Radiant heating systems deliver their heat through watertight tube systems, preserving more of their energy to be released into the rooms.

The second advantage is that of even heating. When warm air is forced through a vent, it rises to the top of a room immediately. After it has cooled, it sinks back to the floor. This can create uncomfortable striations and cold spots in a room heated by forced air. The top part of a room may be warm, while the bottom is cold. Radiant heating transmits all of its heat from the floor upwards, including through solid objects like furniture. This ensures that the inhabited area of the room is warm and comfortable, without wasting energy in a section that no one is using, like the ceiling.

If you are interested in installing a radiant floor heating system, contactAir Mechanical, Inc. We provide full radiant heating services in the Blaine area.

How to Choose the Most Efficient Furnace for Your Home

September 29th, 2014

No matter where you live, getting through the winter months without a furnace probably isn’t a pleasant prospect. Not all furnaces are created equal, however. There are a number of vastly different options available, each capable of meeting your heating needs in different ways. So, how do you choose the best one? Let’s take a look at what you need to know to pick the most efficient furnace.

AFUE

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This number measures how efficient a furnace is at converting fuel into heat over an average year. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit is. For example, if a furnace has an AFUE of 60%, it means that 60% of the fuel it burns is converted into heat while 40% is lost to other factors. That isn’t a very efficient furnace. Furnaces with a lower AFUE will require more fuel to reach target temperatures, which will cost you more money. The current minimum requirements are around 80% for most types of furnaces, but you should still examine each unit to compare AFUE numbers.

Energy Star

The most efficient furnaces will have the ENERGY STAR label on them to highlight their efficiency. These are probably the best choice in colder climates. Their extremely high AFUE rating (90%+) makes them the least expensive if they are going to be used quite often.

Retrofits and Replacements

There are ways to retrofit your older furnace to be more efficient. Oil burning furnaces can be converted to use gas, for example. Depending on how old your furnace is, however, it would likely be far more cost effective to simply replace it. Some older furnaces are extremely inefficient, and replacing them could double the effectiveness of your heating system as a whole. Ultimately, you will have to weigh your options and go with what fits your home situation the best.

If you are looking for furnaces in Oak Grove, call Air Mechanical, Inc. No matter what your home situation is, we can find and install a furnace that meets all your heating needs.

A Few Options for Heating Replacement This Fall

September 22nd, 2014

Replacing your heating system can be an opportunity to help you and your home become more energy efficient and comfortable. How? Thanks to technology and advancements in the cooling and heating industry, there are a number of heating choices available to homeowners, and you may find that a new kind of system will fit the needs of your home better than your last system. So if you are looking at heating replacement in Andover this fall, work with the people who can help you choose and install a great home heating system: Air Mechanical, Inc.

Types of Heating Systems to Consider

There are several choices available to homeowners these days, and each comes with its own set of benefits:

  • Ductless heating – as the name indicates, this type of heating system does not require air ducts because it uses individual indoor blowers to distribute the air. The blowers are connected to an outdoor unit via a conduit through an exterior wall. A single outdoor unit can support up to 4 indoor blowers. Because the indoor blowers are individually operated, you can customize your heating. However, one of the best benefits of a ductless system is that it can also cool your home.
  • Boiler system – a boiler is part of a hydronic heating system. In a hydronic heating system, water (or steam) is used to distribute heat via radiators, baseboard heaters, or tubing beneath the floor. Boilers offer very even heating, and the piping used in the system allows for easy zoning. Boilers are very common systems, and are used widely in residential homes. Common fuel types for boilers are natural gas and oil.
  • Geothermal systems – geothermal systems harness the natural, steady temperature of the Earth below the frost line to offer your home both heating and cooling. They do this via a ground loop system and heat pump that transfer heat: during the winter, heat from the ground is transferred into your home, and in summer the heat from inside your home is transferred to the ground. Geothermal systems are extremely energy efficient and have a very long life span.
  •  Hydronic floor heating – hydronic floor heating has become a popular choice for homeowners. With this type of heating, durable piping is installed in a serpentine method underneath your flooring through which heated water or steam is dispersed. This type of system provides even heat and is very energy efficient, but there can be a cost involved with the piping system.

Our winters in Minnesota are cold, so having a reliable, efficient heating system is very important.

If you need help with your heating replacement in Andover, call Air Mechanical, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

 

Some Reasons to Schedule Drain Cleaning

September 15th, 2014

A lot of homeowners take their drainage systems for granted; we don’t often think about how important it is to have a system of pipes that keeps wastewater away from the home. And since the drains have such a central job, it’s important to keep them maintained. This is why Air Mechanical, Inc. recommends scheduling regular drain cleaning, particularly when you notice problems with your drains. Professional plumbers don’t use toxic liquid drain cleaners—found at any grocery or hardware store—which may harm humans and damage the lining of your pipes. Instead, they’re equipped with tools that remove clogs and blast away stuck on substances. Here are some of the reasons you should schedule drain cleaning today.

  • Slow Drain: The most common reason people call for professional drain cleaning is a slow or stopped drain. When water won’t move down the drain, it’s a sign of a serious clog. A plunger may loosen some clogs, but others require a drain auger or professional hydro jetting to eliminate the problem. Drain augers catch onto blockages, which a plumber then pulls from the drain. With hydro jetting, a thin hose moves through the drain pipes, blasting the insides with a high-pressure jet of water.
  • Smells: There are actually a couple of methods you can try on your own to get rid of smells from your trains. A solution of baking soda and vinegar may do the trick, and in the kitchen you can try putting a piece of lemon into the disposal to get rid of smells that are stuck onto the disposal blades. But most smells indicate that you need professional drain cleaning service to blast away stuck-on sludge that may be the source of an odor.
  • Detect Other Problems: When you call for drain cleaning, many technicians will also look through your drain pipes using video inspection technology to ensure the job is complete. The technician feeds a fiber optic cable with a small camera at the top into the pipes and views a live display. During this process, the plumber may catch other problems, such as small leaks, so that you can learn about repair needs before they develop into major problems.

When you schedule professional drain cleaning, you help prevent future plumbing problems that may cost a lot of money in plumbing repairs.

For a thorough drain cleaning in Oak Grove along with video inspection technology, call the experts at Air Mechanical, Inc.

The Different Types of Sump Pumps

September 8th, 2014

Sump pumps are your first line of defense against flooding, so you can protect your belongings and the structural integrity of your home. A new sump pump can give you peace of mind if your home or basement is prone to flooding due to a high water table. But because there are different types of sump pumps that must be sized properly for your home, you should talk to a technician who can help you decide and install your sump pump correctly. To help you prepare for installation, we’ve put together this primer on the types of sump pumps available for installation in Blaine.

There are two basic types of sump pump: submersible and pedestal. We’ll get to the differences between these two types of pumps later, but any sump pump is first installed at a low point of your home, usually in the basement, so that water will flow toward it. The sump is a basin that fits into a pit dug into the ground. As water moves into the basin, a motor powers an impeller that sucks it into a pipe so it can drain into the sewer.

A submersible sump pump is installed inside of the basin in the ground. It’s covered by a waterproof case, and contains a flotation device that rises as water fills the basin to activate the motor. A pedestal pump, on the other hand, sits on a pedestal above the pit. However, a pipe reaches into the pit, sucking out the water in the same way as a submersible pump.

Besides the different types, sump pumps also come in different sizes and move at various speeds. Selecting the proper horsepower is the job of a plumbing technician, who will consider the distance the water has to travel to leave your home.

You should ask a professional plumber to help you decide whether a pedestal or submersible pump is right for you. While a submersible pump may be safer and more efficient, pedestal pumps are easier to access and maintain and less likely to need repairs.

If you would like to talk to a dependable professional about installing sump pumps in Blaine, call us today at Air Mechanical, Inc.

The History of Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

The official end of summer and the beginning of fall lands on September 23rd, which marks the Autumnal Equinox, when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes the center of the sun and the length of day and night are roughly equal. However, for most people in the U.S., the summer really concludes with Labor Day, the first Monday in September. Labor Day and Memorial Day (the last Monday of May) together serve as the bookends of the summer.

The Labor Day Holiday is a time that people in this country associate with a last summer blast: another reason for an outdoor picnic, a chance for a three-day vacation, family trips to amusement parks, and of course, taking advantage of numerous sales that retailers always offer. (Labor Day is often the second largest shopping day of the year after Black Friday in November.) It’s also the point when school traditionally goes back in session, although some schools start a week earlier and some a week later.

Labor Day’s origins lie in the 1880s. In 1882 Matthew Maguire, a machinist in New York City who was secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU) at the time, and Peter J McGuire of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), first proposed a celebration of the hard working men and women of the United States. However, five years would pass before the first state made it an official holiday, Oregon. Other states quickly followed this example, although not all selected a date in September.

By 1894, thirty states had started Labor Day celebrations. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a federal holiday only a week after Congress voted unanimously to approve the legislation. The date chosen for the holiday was the same one that Maguire and McGuire had originally proposed.

The U.S.A. is not the only country that celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September. Canada observes the holiday as well, although they spell it “Labour” Day. In fact, Canada celebrated the occasion earlier than the U.S., and was an early inspiration in this country for the development of the holiday.

All of us here at Air Mechanical, Inc. hope you and your family—whether at work or at play—enjoy a relaxing and memorable Labor Day weekend and have a fantastic start to the fall.

Why You Should Upgrade to a Honeywell RedLINK Thermostat

August 26th, 2014

Thermostats are one of the basic components of an HVAC system, but one that most homeowners take for granted. Often, a home will have the same thermostat sitting on the wall for over a decade, remaining the same no matter the changes in the air conditioning and heating system. But thermostat technology has gone through enormous advances in only the last decade, and it may be time to replace the old model on the wall with a cutting-edge one.

“But why is this so important?” you might ask. The reason is that thermostat precision helps with HVAC system performance and energy savings. Beyond that, the many new features on modern thermostats can provide huge leaps in comfort and ways to cut back on power waste. One of the best examples of this is the Honeywell RedLINK Thermostat, an advanced thermostat that offers functions and accessibility that will make drastic differences in comfort and energy use.

You can contact Air Mechanical, Inc. for information about Honeywell RedLINK Thermostats in Andover, MN. We offer many different types of thermostats and can locate the ideal model for your HVAC system and your budget.

The Honywell RedLINK Thermostat

RedLINK™ is a wireless technology that Honeywell developed for their commercial and residential thermostats. It works similar to Wi-Fi, but expands on the standard Wi-Fi enabled thermostats with additional features. The RedLINK™ portal uses over 90 difference system alerts, is outfitted for zone control, contains memory logs that will track setting history, and displays outdoor and indoor temperature and humidity readings. The controls, which you can access through a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone, allow you to adjust staging, fan circulation, and the settings for indoor air quality.

Essentially, with a RedLINK thermostat, you have both complete control over your HVAC system and access to full data from it—available from almost anywhere in the world.

Call us for Honeywell RedLINK Thermostat Installation

Although the REDLink™ Portal is easy to use, it is complex to install: you cannot purchase it off the shelf and put it in on your own. We will help you select and install the thermostat that will best improve your comfort and your energy bills.

Contact the professionals at Air Mechanical, Inc. to schedule an appointment to look into your options when it comes to Honeywell RedLINK Thermostats in Andover, MN.

How Ductless Cooling Can Save You Money

August 19th, 2014

Installing a ductless mini split heat pump or air conditioner in your home offers a number of excellent advantages. These comfort systems are especially useful if you live in a houses that lacks room for ductwork (such as an older or historic house), or if you plan on new home construction and wish to have the complete freedom to design the interior without worrying about fitting in a ventilation system.

Ductless cooling can also save you money. In fact, it also certainly will if you make sure that you have the system installed professionally and schedule regular maintenance for it during the year. To start out right with ductless cooling in Ham Lake, MN, contact the company that has provided the 7-county Metro Area with quality home comfort since 1985: Air Mechanical, Inc. We offer excellent ductless installation, repairs, and maintenance.

The money-saving properties of ductless mini splits

At first, a ductless mini split AC/heat pump may seem more like a construction convenience and a method to improve indoor air quality than as a way to conserve energy. But there are two important ways that going ductless will lower your bills during the year:

  • Reduced energy loss: Air traveling through ducts loses energy along the way, no matter how well-sealed and maintained the ventilation system. Because ducts are placed in closed-off and stuffy areas of a home (between the walls, in the attic), heat will enter through the duct walls and raise the temperature of the area, making the air conditioning less efficient. (The reverse applies for a heat pump in heating mode: heat radiate out of the ducts.) The development of dust and dirt inside ductwork also causes air resistance that lowers system efficiency. Ductless systems give you cooling sent straight from blower units mounted on walls, providing you more efficient heating and cooling.
  • Zone control: Because ductless mini splits use individual blower units placed throughout a home, each with its own individual controls, you can shut off cooling to sections of the building that don’t need it. You no longer have to cool down the entire house when your central cooling comes on, only the rooms that are occupied. You will significantly reduce your cooling bills when you get rid of the need to wastefully condition empty rooms.

We also offer annual maintenance from trained technicians to make sure that your ductless system runs in the best condition and saves you money the way it should.

Ductless mini split systems are not the ideal option for every home, so before you choose to have installation of ductless cooling in Ham Lake, MN, contact our specialists at Air Mechanical, Inc.

The Different Types of Geothermal Loop Systems

August 12th, 2014

Geothermal energy for home heating and cooling is a rapidly growing industry that is available to more homes now than ever before. One of the reasons that an increasing number of homeowners are opting for the geothermal heat pumps—aside from their advantages in reliability, longevity, and energy efficiency—is that the variety of different geothermal systems professionals can install means even more homes can take advantage of geothermal energy.

At Air Mechanical, Inc., we can handle installation of many types of geothermal loop systems in Oak Grove, MN. There are four basic systems available; contact our experience geothermal team to find out which type will work best for your home.

at Air Mechanical, Inc. our experts will survey your property to determine the geothermal installation that will deliver you all the benefits you expect.

The four different loop systems

  1. Horizontal loops: This is the most common type of loop system, and if a home has sufficient space and the right weather conditions, horizontal loops are usually the number one choice for geothermal installation. They are highly efficient and also easy to repair. The installers dig trenches 4–10 feet deep across the property, then lay the loops flat along the bottom of the trenches and fill them in.
  2. Vertical loops: When there is less space available for the loops, or when the loops need to be buried deeper to access a stable underground temperature, a vertical loop configuration may be the best option. The installers drill holes between 100 and 400 feet into the ground, and pipes connected with a U-joint are lowered into them, which are then joined to a horizontal pipe that runs to the heat pump.
  3. Pond or lake loops: Even though it goes against the name “geothermal,” water can also be used as a heat exchange medium for a geothermal system. If a home has a body of water close enough, the loops can be placed at least eight feet below the water surface to take advantage of the stable temperatures (and to avoid freezing during winter).
  4. Open loops: All the above systems are closed loop, which means they circulate an antifreeze refrigerant through them. With an open loop system, water is used as the refrigerant, and once it is used it returns to the ground. An open loop system connects to the fresh water supply to the house so it always has water available.

Which loop system will work best for my home?

To find this out, contact Air Mechanical, Inc. and arrange for an appointment. We will bring our years of experience to the task of determining which of the various geothermal loop systems in Oak Grove, MN will provide your home with year-round comfort and energy savings.

Common Bathroom Plumbing Repair Issues

August 5th, 2014

No spot in your house uses more water on a daily basis than the bathroom(s). The stress put on the drains and waste water and freshwater lines in a bathroom are immense, and even the best cared-for bathroom will eventually run into plumbing issues. When this time arrives for a bathroom in your home, make sure that you call for professional plumbing repair in Ham Lake, MN. Unless the issue is a clog that is simple enough to eliminate using a plunger, you must leave bathroom plumbing to trained professionals, or else you risk massive leaks, damage to construction material, and even flooding.

Here are some of the more common issues with bathroom plumbing that can lead to repairs. Since 1985, Air Mechanical, Inc. has helped homeowners in the 7-county Metro Area with home comfort. We are ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to help with any plumbing emergency your house may encounter.

The common bathroom plumbing problems

  • Sink and shower drain clogs – The drains in bathrooms typically encounter two problems that will lead to clogs: hair and soap scum. Although you should keep a drain cover over both drains to help prevent excess hair and soap from entering them, you can’t stop all of it. Hair will form into thick clumps down inside the p-trap (the curved pipe section below the drain) and soap scum will develop on the pipe lining and gradually build-up. Soap scum can also create an acid that can eat through the pipes. Plumbers can use professional drain cleaning methods to clear out these blockages.
  • Leaking toilet – A toilet can start to leak water for a variety of reasons. The most frequent causes are loose gaskets between the tank and bowl, a decaying wax ring in the base where the toilet connects to the floor, and cracks along the bowl. It usually takes a plumber to detect what the exact reason for the leaking is. Whatever the cause, it must receive attention immediately. Not only can a leaking toilet lead to flooding into the bathroom and unsanitary conditions, but water damage to the floor material can weaken it to a dangerous point where the weight of the toilet can cause it to break through the floor. (Yes, this happens… far more than you might think.)
  • Weak water pressure – Build-up of scale inside the pipes of your bathroom can lead to a drop in water pressure, and even eventually a loss of water flow entirely. You will need plumbers to descale the plumbing. In many cases, a plumber will recommend that you install a water softener for your home that will remove the minerals that are causing the development of scale.

Air Mechanical, Inc. has highly trained professionals for your needs for plumbing repair in Ham Lake, MN. Call us any time of the day or night to restore your bathroom’s plumbing.