Do Geothermal Systems Require Frequent Repair?

December 4th, 2014

There can be some concern in regard to repairing geothermal systems because of how the system is set up. As such, one of the main concerns is how frequently do geothermal systems need repair? The answer is: very infrequently. Not only are geothermal systems made to be durable, their operation is very different from more traditional systems, so the risk of malfunction is far less. Understanding how geothermal systems work helps explain why geothermal systems do not have the same frequency of breakdowns as other systems, so let’s take a look at how a geothermal system works.

Geothermal Operation

A geothermal system takes advantage of the steady temperature of the ground below the frost line to heat your home. It does this via a ground loop filled with a solution (typically anti-freeze) that absorbs the latent heat and transfers this heat to the ground-source heat pump. The heat pump concentrates the heat, then distributes it to your living spaces.

What About Repairs?

The ground loop is a simple component that does not have mechanical parts; in fact, the main mechanical component in a geothermal system is the heat pump. Furnaces and boilers are mechanical devices with moving parts, which makes them more prone to developing problems; a geothermal system does not have multiple moving parts. Additionally, unlike traditional combustion heating systems, geothermal systems do not generate heat; instead, they transfer heat. This, too, helps the system to be more stable. None of the geothermal components are exposed to the outdoors, which helps protect the parts from corrosion and damage. Lastly, the average lifespan of the equipment is some of the longest around: ground loops have an average lifespan of 25-50 years and the heat pumps have an average lifespan of 20-25 years.

Geothermal systems are the most energy efficient heating and cooling system available, so don’t let the possibility of geothermal repair in Lino Lakes keep you from considering a geothermal system for your home.

Have questions? Contact Air Mechanical, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

November 27th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system.

Here at Air Mechanical Inc., we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

Can You Benefit from Zone Heating in Apple Valley?

November 17th, 2014

Have you ever had a disagreement with a family member about the temperature in the home? Many people have individual temperature preferences that lead to arguments in the house about whether it is kept too cold or too hot. But you can keep from ever hearing an argument about the temperature again by installing zone control.

A zone control system is installed as a set of dampers in the ductwork that open and close to let more or less airflow in and adjust the temperature in a given room. Each room has a thermostat that controls only the damper in the duct that leads to that room, and there is also a master thermostat that controls all of the areas of the house. This means your family members can choose to keep a room warmer or colder according to their preferences. There are many other benefits to zone heating, detailed here.

Even Temperatures throughout the Home

One of the ways zone heating helps homeowners is by keeping temperatures even throughout the house. In large houses or homes with unique architectural designs, one area of the home often feels warmer than the others. Heat rises, so it may be that the upstairs areas are typically warmer, or it could be that a large window in a single room keeps it cooler. In any case, zone heating can help keep temperatures even no matter where you are in the home since you can adjust that zone separately from the others.

Save Money

Another way zone heating benefits you is by saving you money. For one, you won’t feel the need to blast the heat throughout the home just to make the downstairs feel as warm as the second floor. Additionally, you can save money by turning off the heat to unoccupied areas of the home. If you don’t use the upstairs rooms throughout the day, try shutting off the heat in that area only. And in the summer, you can continue to save money by using the same set of dampers and thermostats for zone cooling as well!

Are you interested in a zone heating system for your home? Call Air Mechanical, Inc. to ask how you can get zone heating in Apple Valley today!

Which Air Cleaner Is Best For My Home?

November 10th, 2014

Professionally installed air cleaners are one of the most effective methods to provide higher quality indoor air for a house. There is a wide variety of air cleaners currently available, and it is important that you make the choice for your home with the assistance of indoor air quality specialists. These professionals will identify what sort of contaminants you need to have removed from the air circulating through the rooms and HVAC system of your home, and then determine which air cleaner will best target and remove them.

When you call Air Mechanical, Inc. for help with air cleaners in Ham Lake, MN or the surrounding areas, you’ll have the help of experts who will dedicate themselves to making sure you receive the finest installation possible.

There are two broad categories of air cleaners to consider, mechanical and electronic.

Mechanical air cleaners

These cleaners work by capturing pollutants that try to move through them on a mat of fibers, filtering them out from the airflow. There are many different levels of effectiveness of mechanical filters, measured by their MERV rating. The higher the rating, the smaller the particles the filter can trap. However, you need to be cautious of extremely high MERV ratings, since you do not want to restrict the airflow from your heater or air conditioner and make it inefficient. (For example, the high-efficiency HEPA filters are mostly for commercial use and will interfere with residential systems.) A properly selected and installed mechanical air cleaner can filter out more than 99% of the contaminating particles circulating through a home’s HVAC system.

Electronic air cleaners

A weakness of mechanical air cleaners is that they do not affect gas and odor molecules, which will slip through them. If you need stronger air cleaning power to deal with chemicals, smoke, and bad odors from your HVAC system, then an electronic air cleaner is perhaps your best choice. One of these systems ionizes the air and changes the charge of the pollutants in it. The ionized pollutants are then drawn toward a set of collector plates where they are trapped. An effectively installed electronic air cleaner can capture particles down to 0.1 microns in size. These cleaners require electricity to run, but only a small amount and their operation should not have a noticeable impact on energy efficiency.

Contact us for help with air cleaner installation

If you are looking into air cleaners in Ham Lake, MN or the surrounding areas, call our team.

Air Mechanical, Inc. has served the 7-county Metro Area with healthier air quality since 1985, and we will locate the ideal air cleaner to serve your home and family.

3 Common Furnace Repairs That Annual Maintenance May Prevent

November 3rd, 2014

Maintenance isn’t just a quick check of your heating system; it provides a tune-up for your entire heating system. During a routine maintenance appointment, your heating system is thoroughly inspected, cleaned and adjusted, and all moving parts are lubricated. In addition, small issues like worn fan belts and corroded wiring are fixed before they can cause bigger problems, which helps to reduce the need for furnace repair in Blaine. If you haven’t scheduled annual maintenance for your furnace yet, call Air Mechanical, Inc., today.

Repairs Maintenance Can Help Prevent

Maintenance can’t prevent all repairs, but there are some that can be avoided with consistent annual maintenance:

Fan Problems

The fan in your heating system has several components that, when left unattended, can fall into disrepair. Problems commonly detected and attended to with regular maintenance are: friction created by dry ball bearings in the fan shaft; loose or bent fan blades; loose motor mounts; worn fan belts; motor issues and electrical issues, including frayed wiring.

Burner

The components in your furnace can become dirty. When the burner is covered in a layer of dust and dirt, problems can develop, such as uneven heating, an inability for all the burners to light, and excessive wear and tear. During routine maintenance, the burner is inspected and cleaned, so that it can function optimally.

Ignition

Many of today’s furnaces light via electronic ignition. There are two types of electronic ignition: intermittent and hot surface. With both types, the igniters can become dirty. The fuel nozzle in the intermittent pilot can become clogged, which can block the gas from flowing. With the hot surface igniter, dirt on the outside of the igniter can act as insulation, and the igniter won’t become hot enough to light the gas jet. Part of routine maintenance involves cleaning the components, which helps prevent issues caused by dirt and grime.

Maintenance is good for you and your system. Help prevent repair with your furnace in Blaine this year by scheduling fall maintenance today with your Air Mechanical, Inc., expert.

How Honeywell WIFI Thermostats Save Homeowners Money

October 27th, 2014

Poorly maintained components of your HVAC system can be a major drain on your energy bills. Dirty or worn down parts keep your unit from running as efficiently as it should, although a technician may be able to make some necessary adjustments during a maintenance visit. A dirty furnace filter or AC filter can prevent the proper amount of airflow from getting to your system, causing it to work harder. But one of the most surprising drains on your energy bills is an out-of date thermostat. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can save money installing a Honeywell WIFI thermostat in Oak Grove.

Manual Thermostats Can Cost You a Lot More

If you currently use a manual thermostat, you may be spending a lot more than you should. Manual thermostats are sometimes hard to read, as they contain dials and sliders that may be somewhat difficult to align. You may end up setting the thermostat too low in the summer, and even if you’re only off by one or two degrees in can make a significant impact on your energy spending throughout the month.

Save Money by Scheduling Your Heating and Cooling to Come on Throughout the Day

You can save money using a digital, programmable thermostat instead of a manual model. Digital thermostats have a clear display and allow you to vary the temperature throughout the day for increased savings. Set the temperature lower at peak hours to save on heating costs at those times. Additionally, you can save a lot of money by scheduling the thermostat to come on 30 minutes before you arrive home, instead of leaving it on throughout the day.

Use Your Honeywell WIFI Thermostat Anywhere

And with Honeywell WIFI thermostats, you may be more likely to take advantage of these programmable features since you can set your thermostat from a smart phone or computer no matter where you are located. Let’s say you set your thermostat to come on 30 minutes before you arrive home, but an unexpected meeting will keep you at work an extra hour. Simply pull out your smart phone, open an app, and delay your thermostat an hour—it’s that easy!

Save money and your system by using your HVAC system sparingly with the help of Honeywell WIFI thermostats in Oak Grove. For installation services, call Air Mechanical, Inc. today!

Which Type of Water Treatment System Is Right for My Home?

October 20th, 2014

Your family’s health and happiness is the most important thing. And one of the best ways to stay healthy and happy is by drinking plenty of water. Studies show that drinking more water increases concentration, wards off sickness, gives you energy throughout the day, and may even boost your mood. So to keep your family members in the best shape that they can be, you want to ensure they get plenty of clean, potable water.

If you get your water from the municipal water supply, it usually runs through a water treatment facility first. This filters out many particles that could be contaminating the water. Furthermore, the city adds chemicals such as chlorine to kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses and may add fluoride for residents’ dental health. But some particles may still find their way into your pipes, which is why many homeowners seek additional water treatment. Here are some of the water treatment systems you can use to protect your water.

  • Filtration Systems: A standard water filter generally filters out most of the particles that could enter your water supply, such as some bacteria and sediment. Water passes through a series of filters that strain these substances out, usually installed as cartridges attached to your pipes.
  • Specialty Cartridges: In your home, you may be concerned about specific contaminants because they are common to your area or because a family member is particularly sensitive. In this case, you can install a specialty cartridge that targets specific contaminants such as arsenic or nitrates.
  • Water Softener: Hard water is common to many homes, and for some people it may not become a problem. But the minerals in hard water—most commonly magnesium and calcium—may eventually cause blockages in the pipes, reducing the water pressure and ruining large appliances such as the dishwasher. A water softener replaces these minerals with sodium so you won’t need to replace your plumbing and fixtures too soon.
  • Reverse Osmosis System: Finally, a reverse osmosis system is perhaps the most powerful filtration system, removing even very small particles via a thin membrane which only allows water to pass through. Reverse osmosis can even filter out the sodium ions produced by your water softener.

To choose the right system for your home, you need professional advice from experts who can test your water for common contaminants.

To schedule water treatment system installation in Andover, or to have any lingering questions answered, call the technicians at Air Mechanical, Inc.

A Guide to Whole-Home Air Purifiers in Ham Lake

October 13th, 2014

You know that there are pollutants in the air outside, but did you know the indoor air may be just as bad? Investing in an air purifying system for your house is the best way to prevent family members from developing health problems and keep from aggravating any existing allergies or respiratory problems. Today, you can purchase a variety of air purifiers in Ham Lake to ensure your family’s health and comfort at home.

Mechanical Air Purifiers

There are two different types of air purifiers that can filter out particles from the air, mechanical filters and electronic air cleaners. Mechanical air filters work with your HVAC system. As your air conditioning or heating system runs, the mechanical cleaner can filter out most of the particles that pass through. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are the most successful of these, but are rarely used for residential purposes. Instead, you may choose a high efficiency filter with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of 14-16.

Electronic Air Purifiers

Electronic air cleaners are more effective than mechanical filters because they can catch smaller particles through the use of ions. There are two basic types of electronic air cleaner—an electrostatic precipitator and an ion generator. An electrostatic precipitator sucks in air and the particles in the air become charged and collect on plates that you should clean every few months. Ion generators, also known as ionizers, use ions to charge particles so that they collect on surfaces of your home, instead of blowing through the air.

UV Germicidal Lights

UV germicidal lights are best for those with allergies and asthma and are often used in conjunction with other air purifiers. UV germicidal lights sterilize and kill living microorganisms such as bacteria and other viruses that may be airborne, particularly if your home does not have adequate ventilation.

A qualified technician can help you choose what type of system is best for your home and your family’s needs.

For more information about installing air purifiers in Ham Lake, call the indoor air quality experts at Air Mechanical, Inc. today!

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.