Air Mechanical, Inc Blog : Archive for September, 2014

How to Choose the Most Efficient Furnace for Your Home

Monday, 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.

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A Few Options for Heating Replacement This Fall

Monday, 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.

 

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Some Reasons to Schedule Drain Cleaning

Monday, 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.

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The Different Types of Sump Pumps

Monday, 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.

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The History of Labor Day

Monday, 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.

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