What Is a SEER Rating?

April 22nd, 2014

As intricate electro-mechanical devices, air conditioning systems come with a lengthy list of technical specifications. Most of these are unimportant for you to know as a consumer; trusth the expertise of your professional installers and repair technicians to handle the mechanical side of the air conditioner when you need help.

There is one specification about which you should have some basic knowledge: the SEER rating. Understanding SEER means understanding how efficiently your current or future air conditioner uses power to provide you with cooled air. Although the SEER rating isn’t the only specification on an air conditioning system that matters, it will often be a deciding factor on whether you choose to install a particular model, or to judge the performance of your current model.

For the repair and installation assistance on your air conditioning in Oak Grove, MN that takes into account all the complexities of an AC, look to the experience of Air Mechanical, Inc.

Seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER)

SEER is an acronym of “seasonal energy efficiency rating,” and the number represents how well a unit transforms available electrical energy into cooling power. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently the unit uses electricity, which will mean lower power bills (if the unit is installed and sized correctly and receives annual maintenance).

SEER is a ratio: The amount of cooling power the unit provides (measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units) ÷ the amount of electricity it uses (measured in watt-hours), as measured over a full season of cooling. This separates SEER from another important rating, EER, which measures the ratio over only a single test.

What numbers can you expect to see for SEER? For an air conditioning unit to receive the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR label of efficiency, it must have SEER of a minimum of 14. High-efficiency air conditioning systems can score around 21–22 SEER. In general, the higher the SEER of a unit, the more expensive it will be to install. However, the savings from efficiency will allow the unit to eventually pay off these higher installation costs.

Keep SEER in balance with other criteria

Just because a unit has high SEER doesn’t mean it’s the best unit for you to install. Efficiency doesn’t mean an AC will provide you with sufficient cooling, only that it works with less energy waste. Rely on professional installers to factor all your needs in order to find the air conditioning system in Oak Grove, MN that will keep you cooled down and also deliver excellent energy savings.

Call Air Mechanical, Inc. if you need AC installation or repairs to restore a system to the promise of its SEER rating. We’ve created custom comfort since 1985.

Common Kitchen Plumbing Repair Issues

April 15th, 2014

Considering the amount of water that flows into and out of a kitchen on a daily basis, it’s surprising that the plumbing there doesn’t require more repairs than it does. However, modern kitchen plumbing is designed to endure a great deal of stress, and proper cleaning helps keep away issues like clogged sinks and leaking pipes.

But no kitchen can avoid repairs entirely. Because of this, we have decided to highlight a few of the common repair issues you may encounter in your home’s kitchen.

When you need expert kitchen plumbing repair in Anoka, MN, call up the company with almost four decades of experience servicing the 7-County Metro area: Air Mechanical, Inc.

3 common repairs for kitchen plumbing

  • Eliminating clogs: Clogs occur in a kitchen more often than anywhere else in a house because of the amount of food that goes down the drains, which includes the major nemesis of pipes: liquid fat, oil, and grease (collectively known as F.O.G.), which turns into waxy solids that rapidly congest drainpipes. Although a sink plunger can handle basic clogs, when the build-up inside drainpipes reaches a level where clogs happen consistently, you’ll need professionals to clean out the drains. Also, never resort to the use of chemical drain cleaners, which can damage pipes and leave behind toxic residue.
  • Fixing broken garbage disposals: Kitchen disposals take plenty of abuse, and some of it is unnecessary. You should never put anything down a disposal that human teeth couldn’t chew. Chicken bones and unpopped popcorn kernels are major offenders, but people sometimes put actual “garbage” items like paper products into disposals. (Perhaps the “garbage” part of the name should be retired.) Disposals can clog or break because of these objects. You should never reach your hand into a disposal to attempt to fix a jammed flywheel or any other issue. Call professionals to handle these repairs, which could include fixing electrical problems.
  • Grease trap repairs: Not every kitchen has a grease trap to prevent F.O.G. contamination, although we definitely recommend installing one. But grease traps sometimes need repairs as well, especially if they don’t receive routine cleaning. If a grease trap starts causing a sink to back up, call for repairs.

Although there are some simple kitchen plumbing issues you can handle on your own (such as plungering away a simple clog), a trained plumber should take care of most problems so you’ll avoid accidental damage and leaking. Air Mechanical, Inc. can perform the kitchen plumbing repair in Anoka, MN that will restore your appliances, drains, faucets, and anything else that might encounter difficulty.

3 Problems with Gas Piping That Require Repair

April 8th, 2014

Gas piping is used with your furnace, hot water heater and similar appliances, bringing natural gas into your home to provide fuel for heating. Gas piping in Spring Lake Park is very common, and usually quite reliable to boot. But like any other appliance, gas piping can run into trouble from time to time. When they do, you need to call in a professional to handle it. Here are 3 problems with gas piping that require repair.

At Air Mechanical Inc. we professionally handle gas piping in Spring Lake Park and throughout the surrounding communities, and we’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction!

  • Leaks. Leaks in your gas line don’t happen very often, but when they do they constitute a serious danger to your home: not only can they poison you or your family members, but they could result in an explosion. Natural gas is normally odorless, which is why a specific scent, like rotting eggs, is added. If you smell it, you need to turn off the gas and call a repair technician immediately. If possible, clear your home of all pets and family members, and refrain from doing anything involving open flame, such as turning on a gas range or lighting up a cigarette.
  • Blocks. Blockages in your gas piping can be caused by contaminants in the line, damage to the pipe or a build-up of gunk at the access point. Regardless of the exact cause, the result is the same: the gas won’t flow and the appliance relying on it will not function. In some cases, it might not entirely restrict the flow of gas, but merely slow it down.
  • Valve issues. Valves at the end of a gas line can result in either leaks or blocks, depending on the exact nature of the issue. The good news is that they’re fairly easy to replace, but as with other repair issues, you need to address the issue immediately in order to avoid real trouble.

If you encounter problems with gas piping that require repair, keep your home and family safe, first by evacuating the house, and then contact the gas company. Once they have allowed people back into the house, call the experts at Air Mechanical, Inc.

Boiler Repair Guide: The Circulator Pump

March 28th, 2014

A boiler is an excellent alternative to using a forced-air system such as a gas furnace to heat your home. Boilers use hydronic power—the power of water—to circulate heat to radiators and baseboard heaters that send out clean, dust-free warmth into rooms, and they perform more efficiently on average than furnaces. Another advantage of boilers is that they have low maintenance and repair needs, which leads to longer lifespans.

The reason that boilers do not require as many repairs as systems like furnaces and heat pumps is because they operate using only a small number of mechanical parts. However, they aren’t completely free of moving parts: an essential component of a boiler is the circulator pump, which sometimes needs repairs to keep a boiler running.

If you have troubles with the circulator pump on your boiler, or if you need any other kind of boiler repair in Andover, MN, call Air Mechanical, Inc. We’re available 24/7 for your convenience.

The Circulator Pump

Without the circulator pump, the hot water in a boiler would have trouble moving through the pipes to the terminal points to send out heat. Convection currents from heat would move the water along the pipes, but at only a fraction of the power. The circulator pump contains an electric-powered impeller motor that removes the hot water from the tank to circulate through the pipes to the baseboard heaters or radiators. At the same time, the pump draws in cold water to start the heating cycle.

If a circulator pump wears down, it can begin to cause problems. An overworked pump can cause circuit breakers to trip, which is often an early warning sign that the pump needs repairs. Broken inside components and valves can cause the pump to stop working. A pump can also develop leaks because of corrosion, and this will cause the water pressure inside the tank to drop and reduce the heating throughout the house. A leaking pump or one with interior damage usually must have a full replacement, although sometimes a repair specialist can put caulking around the joins and flanges to keep the pump operating for a few more years.

Because the circulator pump works almost silently, any strange noise coming from it should prompt you to call for repairs. Loud noises often indicate that a large amount of air has gotten trapped inside the pump, or that a bearing has come loose. Loose bearings usually mean a pump that’s past repair, but trapped air is something a technician can fix.

Whatever problem ails your circulator pump, whether it calls for repairs or a new pump, you can trust to Air Mechanical, Inc. to come to your assistance. We’ve offered boiler repair and other HVAC system services in Andover, MN since 1985. Give us a call today and speak with one of our HVAC experts about your boiler repair needs.

3 Major Sources of Bathroom Plumbing Clogs

March 21st, 2014

Your home’s kitchen and the bathrooms receive the most running water down their drains, and are the places where you will most likely encounter clogs. The majority of bathroom clogs you can fix using a simple plunger (always keep one handy) but sometimes a clog will resist all plunging attempts. In that case, forget about using a bottle of liquid drain cleaner (those chemicals are acidic and toxic, good for neither your drain nor you). Instead, contact a plumber with the experience and the tools to quickly and safely clear up that aggravating bathroom clog.

We’ve put together a short list of the 3 most common reasons for clogs blocking up your bathroom drains. When you need professional assistance with your bathroom plumbing in Oak Grove, MN, call Air Mechanical, Inc.—24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

3 Causes of Bathroom Drain Clogs

  • Hair:
    It’s difficult to avoid hair going down into a sink basin, tub, or shower. When hair goes down into a drain, it will often get caught in the sludgy debris that lines the pipes. Hair will continue to accumulate until it forms a thick mass that will lead to a slow drain and then a full stoppage. To help prevent this, you can purchase drain covers that will help keep most hair out of the drain.
  • Soap scum:
    The residue of soap will build up in sinks, showers, and tubs, and it will also get down in the drains. This accumulation—especially when combined with hair—can eventually block off the drainpipe. This is more common in older plumbing systems with pipes that have less smooth interiors. Here is another situation where a good drain cover can help slow down the deposits.
  • Toys and other small objects:
    Your bathroom contains an assortment of small objects that like to gather at the edges of sink and on the ledges of showers. It’s easy for one of these to tip over and fall down the drain, lodging in the pipes. Common nuisances include the caps of toothpaste tubes, children’s toys, and medicine bottles. Plungers usually can’t do anything about this type of problem, and you’ll need a plumber to help—especially if the item that went down the drain was valuable.

Help Prevent Clogs With Bio-Clean

To fend away clogs, have professional plumbers give your drains the Bio-Clean treatment, which uses the natural power of bacteria to eat away at clogs without leaving toxic residue—and Bio-Clean agents will remain in your pipes afterwards, keeping away further build-up.

Air Mechanical, Inc. offers Bio-Clean to unclog your bathroom sinks and keep them that way. Give us a call today for all your needs for bathroom plumbing and other drain and sewer services in Oak Grove, MN.

Problems Caused by Faulty Thermostats

March 12th, 2014

The thermostat has a tremendous amount of power for so small an object. This unobtrusive unit attached to a wall in your house has full control over the heating and cooling systems that make indoor life comfortable year round. But because people often overlook the thermostat, they don’t realize when a thermostat with a fault is creating trouble with their HVAC system. Sometimes, what seems like a malfunction in the system cabinet will turn out to be a problem with the thermostat.

Bringing in professional technicians when you have problems with your heater or AC will make sure that you discover thermostat problems. Experts will know how to track repair issues to their source and avoid unnecessary tampering with unrelated components. And thankfully, thermostat repairs are among the faster ones for technicians to accomplish.

Air Mechanical, Inc. performs heating system repairs for thermostats in Anoka, MN, as well as installations of thermostat upgrades to help homeowners get the most from their heating and cooling.

Problems That Can Stem From Thermostat Faults:

  • The heater/air conditioner won’t start up – Whenever a home comfort system refuses to turn on when it should, the usual conclusion is that the system has broken. However, the problem could be that the thermostat isn’t working right. Sometimes this is due to a miscalibration in the unit that makes it read the temperature incorrectly and consequently not turn the heater/AC on when it should. At other times, wiring defects can cause the thermostat to lose its connection to the system.
  • The heater/air conditioner won’t stop running – This is the opposite problem, although the cause is similar. Either a miscalibrated thermostat keeps sending incorrect instructions to the HVAC system to keep working, or the specific wire that turns the heater/AC off has broken.
  • Uneven temperatures Thermostats that develop quirks will lead to your home experiencing hot and cold spots where they shouldn’t be. If the thermostat keeps switching the HVAC system on and off at the wrong times, it will lead to poor distribution of temperatures to the rooms farthest from the central unit.

Have Professionals Find Out What is Wrong

There are many causes for a thermostat to begin working incorrectly: miscalibration, incorrect placement in the way of direct sunlight or drafts, wires wearing down, computer system errors in digital models. Don’t try troubleshooting any of this yourself beyond making basic temperature adjustments. (Remember, the thermostat may not be the issue.) Instead, speak with a professional heating service in Anoka to help you find out what the issue is with your thermostat.

Air Mechanical, Inc. has technicians ready 24-hours a day to help you when your heating or cooling starts acting abnormally. Give us a call today and ask us about how we can upgrade your thermostat as well.

What Can a Humidifier Do for My Home

March 7th, 2014

Most people know how terrible high humidity can feel during the summer, which is why they wish the weather would switch to a “dry heat.” Although a dry heat brings some relief during hot spells, dry air in general isn’t good for your home—especially during winter when the cold temperatures cause a plunge in moisture. To find the right balance of humidity in your home, you’ll need to have professionals install a humidifier.

Here are three benefits your home will receive from a humidifier. When you think that humidifiers in Blaine, MN will help solve moisture problems in your house, contact our indoor air quality specialists at Air Mechanical, Inc.

Here Are Some Benefits From a Humidifier

  • Better indoor comfort: Finding a balance in humidity inside your house will help you feel more comfortable with the temperature in cold weather, and consequently you’ll need to run your heating system much less. The same way that high humidity makes people feel hotter, low humidity makes people feel colder. The dry air absorbs moisture from your body, and this causes you to feel that the air is colder. With humidity in the 33%–55% range, your indoor comfort will increase during cold weather, and you can give your heater some time off.
  • Improved health: Low humidity is linked to a number of health issues, such as dry skin and itching; breathing trouble and respiratory infections; congestion and nose irritation; and the rapid spread of flus and colds. Dry air is also an environment that favors the growth of a number of viruses. You can expect fewer colds and other infections if you have your air balanced with a proper humidifier.
  • Improve your furnishings: A house with too little moisture in its air will develop cracks along wood fixtures and warping of floorboards and walls as moisture is pulled out of them (the same way it pulls moistures from your body). This will not only affect your home’s construction material, but it can also affect your possessions as well. Wooden musical instruments are particularly subject to the cracking and warping from lack of moisture in the air.

Upgrade Your Life With a Whole-House Humidifier

Although you can alleviate some problems with low moisture in your home with a portable room humidifier, this will only address a small part of the trouble. With the installation of whole-house and room humidifiers, you can tackle the problem in full. Air Mechanical, Inc. can help you with proper moisture control for your home in Blaine, MN. Give us a call today and we can help you select the right size humidifier and then install it. You’ll have the best comfort and health in your home. We also offer a variety of HVAC services in Blaine.

3 Benefits to Installing a Humidifier in Mounds View

February 28th, 2014

Homeowners often recognize the problem with dry air inside their homes and invest in a portable humidifier to help combat the problem. These smaller humidifiers do a decent job if you only need to raise the humidity in one place (such as an infant’s room) for a short time, but to supply your house with a complete solution to aridity, you should consult with professionals about installing a specially-sized humidifier to help with humidity throughout your home.

To find out more about humidifiers in Mounds View, MN, call Air Mechanical, Inc. and talk to our indoor air quality specialists. They can determine the sort of help your house needs to combat dryness and select a humidifier that will solve your problems.

Why Should You Have a Humidifier Installed?

Dry air is often a problem in places with extreme cold climates like Minnesota, and powerful heating systems contribute to the problem. Here are 3 benefits you’ll receive if you reduce that dryness with a humidifier.

  1. Improved health: Aridity contributes to a number of maladies, such as colds, flus, and breathing problems, and also makes it easier for infections to spread. Dry air also causes skin and eye irritation, sore throats, and allergies. Balanced humidity will make your home a healthier place all around.
  2. Better comfort: The same way that high humidity increases the feeling of heat, low humidity increases the feeling of cold. Winter temperatures will feel much more comfortable with a humidifier helping out—and you won’t need to run your heater as much. And, as a bonus, you’ll have fewer problems with static electricity!
  3. Protect your furnishings: Dry air can cause damage to your floors, paint, furniture, as well as personal belongings.

Humidifier Options

There are a number of different types of humidifiers available. Most fall into one of two different categories. Steam humidifiers evaporate water, and ultrasonic humidifiers use a misting process that does not involve boiling water. When you consult with technicians, they will help you pick the right model, and also help you decide if you want individual room humidifiers or a whole-house humidifier. The one you pick will depend on the severity of your problems with low humidity.

At Air Mechanical, Inc., we offer a wide variety of models and brands of dehumidifiers. We’ll find the right one for your home. In need of other HVAC system services in Mounds View too? We’ve got you covered. Call us today to set up an appointment.

3 Reasons Why Garage Heating in Mounds View Is a Good Idea

February 19th, 2014

Among the ways to save energy on heating during the winter is the advice “only heat rooms when they are in use.” (A zone control system is very helpful with this.) So when we suggest that you install garage heating in Mounds View, MN, it will run contrary to your expectations. You hardly use the garage except when you park your car, and as long as the car has some shielding from the outdoor weather, it will be fine. Why heat up such a large space that receives so little use?

We have three very good reasons. We hope that after reading this you will call up our heating specialists at Air Mechanical, Inc. and talk about your options for garage heating installation.

Reasons to Install Garage Heating

  1. Protect your water pipes: If you’ve lived through at least one Minnesota winter, you’ll know how important it is to keep the pipes of your plumbing (and your boiler, if you use one) from freezing. When pipes freeze, the increase in pressure often leads to them bursting, requiring expensive replacements. In most homes, important water pipes run through the garage without sufficient insulation. It only requires a basic heating system in the garage to protect your pipes from this threat.
  2. Keep the rest of the house warmer: During the summer, the attic is a place where intense heat gathers, and it can infiltrate into your home and raise the temperature. That’s why you have insulation in the attic. The garage creates the same problem as the attic, but in reverse. The cold temperatures in your garage will seep into your home and force your heating system to work harder. Insulation isn’t much help in this case, because there’s a door leading straight into the home that will often be open. Heating the garage will reduce your home’s heating bills and eventually pay for itself.
  3. Get more use from your garage: An unheated garage isn’t a spot anyone will want to stay in longer than absolutely necessary during the winter. Park the car, get out, run for the door. But how much usable space in your garage goes to waste because of this? You can add a worktable, or a space for building hobbies. How about a spot for the massive model train you always wanted to build? There are so many ways to use that garage space for more than car storage, and garage heaters will help you realize its full potential.

There are a few options for garage heating, with electric the most popular. You will need to work with a professional installer to make sure you get the right type and size for your garage. Call our specialists in heating in Mounds View at Air Mechanical, Inc. today to get started.

Other Anniversaries of Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2014

For more than a hundred years, people in countries around the world have marked the 14th day of February as a time for lovers to give each other gifts and for children to write cards to each other and eat heart-shaped candy. But Valentine’s Day isn’t the only important event to occur on February 14th. There are many other anniversaries to mark on this day. Here are a few:

1400 – The death of King Richard II: The same English king whose engagement resulted in the first love poem mentioning Valentine’s Day (from court poet Geoffrey Chaucer) dies in prison in Pontefract Castle after his cousin Henry overthrows him. He probably starved to death, although another famous author, William Shakespeare, would portray his death as murder.

1859 – Hello, Oregon: The Oregon Country is admitted to the United States of America as the 33rd state.

1876 – Who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for his new invention, the telephone. Another inventor, Elisha Gray, applies the same day for a similar device, sparking a long controversy over who invented what first.

1912 – Hello, Arizona: Continuing the statehood tradition that Oregon established, the Territory of Arizona is admitted to the U.S. as the 48th state. Women are granted the right to vote in Arizona the same year, eight years before the rest of the nation.

1929 – The world’s most infamous mob hit: Unknown assailants shoot down seven people in Chicago, IL. Six of the dead are gangsters in the mob of Bugs Moran, an enemy of Al Capone in the business of selling Prohibition bootleg liquor. No one is ever arrested or charged for the crime—but there isn’t much doubt who masterminded it.

1931 – “I am… Dracula”: The most influential vampire movie ever made, and the start of Universal Studio’s famous monsters series, Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, premieres in theaters. Universal cannily uses Valentine’s Day to promote the film as “The Story of the Strangest Passion the World Has Ever Known!”

1961 – The Periodic Table becomes larger: The 103rd chemical element, Lawrencium, is discovered at the University of California. The name comes from the laboratory where it is synthesized, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

2005 – Now it’s easy to watch funny animal videos: A group of college students launch a video sharing website call YouTube.

Even if Valentine’s Day itself isn’t a major holiday for you, February 14th has many reasons to celebrate—unless you are a member of Bugs Moran’s gang or a supporter of Richard II. All of us at Air Mechanical, Inc. would like to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, however you observe it.