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.

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.