Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog : Archive for July, 2012

Linwood AC Question: Will My Air Conditioning Work Better with Dehumidification?

Monday, July 30th, 2012

There are a number of common misconceptions about humidity and air conditioning and how one affects the other. In truth, humidity is a major part of the discomfort we feel when the mercury rises. It can be 78 degrees outside but feel miserable simply because the humidity is high. So, many people in Linwood wonder whether a dehumidifier is a good solution to moderate heat and how it will work in tandem with an air conditioner.

Humidity and Your Air Conditioner

First, remember that air conditioning naturally lowers humidity because it cycles air through its condenser and evaporator coil. Conditioned air is naturally lower in humidity, regardless of what’s going on outside. So, if it is hot outside and humid, an air conditioner alone is very effective. On the other hand, a dehumidifier is useful is when the temperature isn’t that high but the humidity is.

Dehumidification not only lowers the relative humidity in your home, it reduces the need for cooling because you will feel more comfortable. Not only that, but a dehumidifier costs significantly less to run. So, when the temperature outside isn’t that high, there is no need to use thousands of watts per day of electricity just to stay comfortable.

This also reduces the overall wear on your air conditioner. Since it doesn’t need to run 24 hours a day to reduce humidity, wear and tear on the device is reduced and you save a tremendous amount of money on repairs and eventual replacement costs.

When to Use a Dehumidifier Alone

Generally, the Department of Energy recommends setting your air conditioner to 78 degrees and using a combination of a dehumidifier and fans to stay cool while it is off. If the temperature rises above that level, the air conditioner will turn on and supplement your dehumidifier. Consider too that a dehumidifier will reduce the burden placed on your air conditioner to pull humidity from the air. Humid air takes more energy to cool than dry air. Despite the fact that dehumidifiers will often raise the air temperature by 1-2 degrees, they save energy and make you more comfortable.

So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce your energy bill and enhance the longevity of your Linwood air conditioner, look no further than a quality dehumidifier. Call Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today if you have any questions about installing a dehumidifier in your home!

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Rogers Plumbing Q/A: Why Is There a Sewer Smell in Our House?

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Detecting a sewer smell in your Rogers house is never pleasant on a number of levels. Of course, the main thing you are most likely concerned about is that the smell makes it hard to be in your house. But there are other reasons to be concerned when you smell something like this as well. For one thing,  it likely means that there is a problem somewhere in your sewer, drainage or venting system.

In most cases, you will need to call in a Rogers  plumbing professional to determine the exact cause of the sewer smell and eliminate it. This can sometimes be expensive if the problem is widespread or difficult to locate, but it does not have to be. Some causes of a sewer smell in your house are relatively easy to remedy, particularly for an experienced professional.

For instance, the smell may be the result of leaks in certain pipes and can be eliminated when those leaks are repaired. Or a low water level in your toilet could be the culprit. The constant presence of water in your toilet bowl is actually what keeps those sewer gasses from seeping up and into your house. So if the water level in the toilet bowl drops for some reason, the gasses can be allowed to escape into your house. This is especially likely if you have a toilet that does not get used often and where the water may have evaporated over time.

Another common reason that a sewer smell can develop in your house is that the vent pipe has become clogged. Since it is the job of this pipe to vent sewer gasses out of your home, it is not surprising that a blockage in this system could cause the odors to build up inside. What ever the cause, the Rogers plumbing professionals at Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are ready to help 24 hours a day!

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Air Conditioning Tip: Breakdowns – How to Handle an Overloaded AC

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The last thing you need on a hot summer day is for your Vadnais Heights air conditioner to suddenly cut out. Without the cooling power it provides, your house will get uncomfortable quickly. Fortunately, once you know why this happens, there are several things you can do about it.

Why Air Conditioners Cut Out

The most common reason for air conditioner failure is an overabundance of pressure in the unit. This happens because the coil gets too hot, causing the pressure to rise in the entire device. As the pressure rises past a certain point, an automatic safety shutoff system is engaged. If you can stop the coil from heating up to this point, you can keep your Vadnais Heights air conditioner running.

How to Keep Them Running

Of course, this is easier said than done. Since your condenser unit with the coil inside is located outside in the heat, it’s only natural for it to get hot during the day – especially an extra hot day when you’re using your air conditioner a lot. You also need to be careful not to put anything over or up against your outdoor condenser unit.

While this may block the sunlight, it will also keep heat in the system and prevent the air conditioner from removing exhaust naturally. So in order to keep your air conditioner as cool as possible, make sure there is nothing up against the vents or impeding air flow in any way. Once you’ve done this, try and find a way to provide shade for you air conditioner without placing objects near the device. Blocking out direct sunlight is the best way to keep your air conditioner cool as long as you can do it without interfering with the system’s natural air flow.

Getting it Back On

If your unit does cut out on you, don’t despair. The best thing to do is to wait about a half hour to give your unit a chance to cool off on its own. Then, spray the coil and other overheated areas with a fine mist of cool water. This should lower the temperature enough that the system can come back on without any further complications.

If the problem persists despite the work you’ve done to keep it cool, you may want to call in a Vadnais Heights air conditioning professional like Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to take a look and make sure nothing is broken or worn inside to cause the overloads. Most of the time a little maintenance will take care of the problem, but if not, you’ll want to get repairs done quickly to avoid a full breakdown.

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Plumber’s Tip: Common Types of Building Supply & Drain Piping Materials

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Have you ever wondered what the various pipes in your home and other buildings are made of? How come some Bloomington plumbing systems use different materials than others? What are the differences between common types of pipe materials? This brief guide covers all those questions.

Plastic

The newest piping material is plastic. Usually made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), plastic piping has been in use in some form or another for about 50 years. Although many purists tend to shy away from plastic piping, it is popular as a material for both water supply and drain piping because it is cheaper and easier to cut than copper, and doesn’t present the corrosion problems of other metal piping materials.

Sometimes, plastic piping can crack or break because it was installed improperly, especially when done by an installer who is not used to working with ABS or PVC materials. These pipes have to be installed differently than copper would be, so it is important to use a contractor with expertise.

Copper

Despite the relatively recent popularity of PVC and ABS, copper has been and remains the industry standard for most piping jobs, especially building water supply lines. Copper has advantages over other metals in that it is softer and easier to manipulate, doesn’t corrode easily and isn’t toxic to humans and animals.

There are three kinds of copper piping used in plumbing, which are assigned letter types depending on the thickness of the pipe walls. Type M is the thinnest and is used for above ground plumbing, while Type L and Type K copper piping have thicker walls. Occasionally, flexible copper tubing is used for plumbing, but because of the high cost, use is usually limited to spaces where the extra flexibility is essential.

 Steel

Galvanized steel piping is not commonly used for drain piping or building water supplies any more, with both copper and plastics being far more common choices for new construction. The zinc coating on galvanized pipes stalls rust, but doesn’t prevent it completely, which can shorten the life of the pipe and cause flaking on the interior pipe walls.

Cast Iron

Although not often used in new construction, cast iron can still be found in a lot of buildings because it has been used as a plumbing material for more than a hundred years.

For more information about installing new pipes in your Bloomington home, give Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call!

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Air Conditioning Guide: The Ins and Outs of Ductless Splits Air Conditioning

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

So, it’s time to install a new air conditioner in your Stillwater home and you’re pretty sure there just isn’t enough room in the walls or ceilings to place the necessary ductwork. No problem. There is a rapidly evolving technology that allows you to have air conditioning without ductwork. It’s called mini-split ductless air conditioning and it relies on individual units placed in key locations around your house. Here’s how they work.

Multi-Zone Cooling

The first step is to install a central unit. This is your compressor and condenser and is usually placed outside like the core of a central AC system. These units range between 15,000 and 40,000 BTUs depending on how much cooling your home needs and will support up to 4 zones within your house.

Once the central unit is installed, smaller room-sized units are placed throughout your house. These units are designed for between 9,000 and 18,000 BTU spaces and are usually placed high on the wall of your room to distribute cooled air. The smaller units are connected to the main unit by refrigerant lines that are run up the side of your house (or inside if you want them out of the elements).

Because each indoor unit is individual and has its own thermostat, you save electricity by having direct control over each part of your home. In fact, the average ductless split system uses something like 30% less electricity than a standard air conditioning system.

Is it Right for You?

This is the most common question we hear and to be honest, it really depends on your needs. If you have a large house – we’re talking 3,000 square feet or bigger, a multi-zone ductless system may not provide enough cooling on its own. Most systems only support up to 4 individual units and therefore cannot cool massive spaces. However, if you have a smaller home, or more importantly have no space for ductwork, these systems are much more efficient than installing multiple window units.

For more information about which air conditioning system to install in your Stillwater home, give Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call!

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