Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Little Canada’

Why You Should Regularly Clean the Sump Pump and Well in your Carver County Home

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Keeping the sump pump clean in your Carver County home has many benefits. Not only does a clean sump pump run more efficiently, which lowers your energy bills, but it also helps prevent malfunctions. The sump pump in your home pumps out excess groundwater that could potentially flood your basement and cause major water damage and mold growth.

To prevent flood damage in your home, make sure your sump pump well is free of debris and that the pump it is maintained regularly. Call Air Mechanical any time if you have questions about how to maintain sump pump or to have it professionally cleaned and inspected. Here are some specific reasons why a clean sump pump is important.

Float Switch Malfunctions

Most submerged sump pump models have a floater or similar device that detects the water level inside the well. Once the water table reaches a certain point, the float switch turns the pump on. If debris or dirt gets trapped underneath the switch, it can get stuck in the “on” position, which causes the motor to run constantly and potentially overheat.

Clogged Filters

Most filters in sump pumps are designed to allow smaller particles through, but larger pieces of debris can clog the system and cause it to shut down. An overheated motor or tripped circuit could result from a clogged filter because the motor has to work harder to pump out the water. If you aren’t sure how to check the filter for debris, call a professional plumber for advice.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

Try to keep debris from falling into the well, and clean out any large particles that you can see in the water. For a quick plumbing maintenance chore that you can do yourself, fill the well all the way with a hose and test the floater switch to make sure it’s working properly. At least once a year, hire a professional plumber to drain your well and clean the inside of the well and the pump. Your plumber will also inspect the pump to make sure it is in good working condition.

You can help maintain the sump pump in your Carver County home simply by keeping it clean!

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Furnace Repair Guide: Furnace Air Temperature

Friday, January 20th, 2012

When your furnace turns on every day and warms your Chaska home, just how hot is the air being blown through your vents? It’s a common question and while it varies depending on the type of furnace you have and the length of your ductwork, normally, the air is about the same temperature in most homes.

The Heating Process

When you turn on your furnace, it ignites fuel (gas or oil) or heats elements (electricity). A blower fan blows air through the heat exchanger and then into ductwork that distributes the heated air to vents around your home. When the combustion occurs and air is first heated, the temperature is between 140 degrees F and 170 degrees F.

This is extremely warm and could be dangerous to anyone if they got too close to it or it was blown directly into your home. However, as the heated air is distributed into your home it starts to cool. In some cases, it loses a significant amount of its energy in the ductwork.

This is intended, of course, because the temperature would be much too high if it was distributed directly to your rooms. That’s why high velocity ductwork often requires regulation to avoid overheating of the air. Cooling like this is normal and results in a better, more evenly distributed airflow.

When Something’s Wrong

To know something is wrong with your heating system, you must first understand what temperature air normally is when distributed through the vents. This will vary depending on which room you are in and how big your home (and furnace) are. However, if you notice a sharp drop off in comfort level in your home, it takes longer to heat rooms when cold or if that heating is suddenly uneven, it may be time for someone to inspect your furnace and check for potential problems.

A technician will then check to see if the air is being heated to the target 140-170 degrees F or if heat is being lost in the air handler or ductwork. There are a number of issues that can contribute to lost heat in your heating system – the easiest way to be sure the problem is solved properly is to call a Chaska professional when you notice the problem.

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HVAC Guide: How to Fix a Faulty Furnace Blower

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The blower fan on your furnace is designed to distribute warm air through the ductwork in your Little Canada home evenly, ensuring you use all of the energy consumed by your furnace. If the blower doesn’t turn on when the furnace turns on or it continues to run when the furnace is off, it can cost you money and result in cold rooms. Here are some tips on how to fix a faulty furnace blower.

What is the Problem?

First, check to see what the problem is. If your furnace blower remains on all of the time, it may be a thermostat issue. Make sure the fan isn’t set to stay on continuously (a common setting for most air handlers). You should also check the limit control switch to make sure it is working properly. If this is broken, it needs to be replaced which is a relatively simple fix.

If the furnace blower isn’t turning on at all, you may have a belt problem. This can be fixed by you if you have the proper tools. To repair the belt problem, first turn off all electricity to the device. You’ll need to remove the old furnace blower belt, so release the tension in the pulleys before removing the belt.

Installing a new belt is not unlike doing so for your car. Make sure to check the blower or your user manual for proper tension when you install the new belt. Make sure you purchase the right size belt and set it to the right tension. If you cannot or you do not feel comfortable doing so, you should call a professional to inspect and repair the problem for you.

Getting the Blower Back Up and Running

Once your new belt is in place, test the system carefully, starting with the lowest setting (if there are variable settings). If it does not yet work or if something sounds strange, call a technician right away. You don’t want the motor to burn out or something else more substantial to go wrong with your furnace or air handler during the middle of the winter.

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Heat Pumps and Zone Control Systems: A Guide from Champlin

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

When you’re putting a heat pump in your Champlin home, it may also be a great time to look into having a zone control system put in as well. These types of systems can do a lot to both lower your energy bills and make your home as comfortable as possible throughout the year.

Zone control systems actually allow you to set different temperatures in different parts of your home. They use a system of dampers to direct more heat to certain areas and less to others. For instance, you may like to keep the living room nice and cozy in the winter because you’re typically just lounging around when you’re in there.

When you’re working in the kitchen, on the other hand, you’re usually generating some heat yourself from the stove and oven, so you don’t need to keep the temperature quite as high as it is in other parts of the house in order for the kitchen to remain comfortable. Of course, in the summer, these situations are likely reversed, and a zone control system will allow you to adjust accordingly.

Having the type of refined temperature control that zone control systems provide can be beneficial on several levels. It certainly helps make your home more comfortable, but it can also make it easier to reduce some of your home heating and cooling costs because you don’t have to heat or cool your whole house to keep it that way.

Zone control systems can also be a great way to end those constant thermostat battles that tend to erupt from when certain members of the household prefer one temperature, while the rest of the people in the house are more comfortable with another.

If you’re thinking of integrating a zone control system with your heat pump, you should make sure that the heat pump you get is as compatible as possible with this type of system. Most heat pumps will, in fact, work with zone control systems, but certain types are better than others.

The most important thing to look at when you’re trying to find the best heat pump to fit with a zone control system is the type of compressor the unit has. Heat pumps are available with one-speed, two-speed and multi-speed compressors and this affects how well they work at part of a zone control system. For best results, it’s good to opt for a two-speed or multi-speed compressor when you’re installing a zone control system as well.

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Where to Turn for Your Indoor Air Quality Concerns in Wazata

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The quality of the air inside your Wazata home is incredibly important. It has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of your family and in some cases can affect the cost of your heating and cooling. But with so many worries out there and so many people trying to offer advice, where do you turn when you need help? Here are some resources to help you if you’re worried about indoor air quality.

  • EPA Resources – The US Environmental Protection Agency provides a huge number of resources for homeowners and business leaders worried about indoor air quality. The EPA keeps a complete list of hotlines and clearinghouses to call depending on where you live as well as a list of state health department resources according to their 10 region breakdown of the country at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html.
  • Asthma Help – If you suffer from asthma and are looking for help from an expert to handle an attack or deal with conditions leading to your attacks the Asthma No Attacks hotline is available both online at www.noattacks.org or offline at 1-866-NO-ATTACKS. The Allergy and Asthma Network is also available at www.aanma.org and the American Lung Association has a number of useful resources for anyone concerned with their lung health at www.lungusa.org.
  • Radon Help – If you are concerned about radon in your home, Kansas State University operates a number of hotlines including 1-800-SOS-RADON for test kits and 1-800-55RADON for your radon related questions.
  • School Help – For school administrators and indoor air specialists, the American Association of School Administrators has a number of indoor air quality resources at www.aasa.org/iaq-resources.aspx.
  • ASHRAE – To learn more about the standards followed by contractors throughout the United States and recommended by the EPA, visit the ASHRAE website at www.ashrae.org – the American Society of Heating and Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers is responsible for evaluating new technologies and determining best practices for ventilation and air quality control.

And of course, if you are interested in the state and local regulations that affect air quality in your area,  visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

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Heat Recovery Ventilator – What Is It and When Do You Need It? A Question From Stillwater

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

While the design of modern homes is to retain as much energy as possible while minimizing the cost of heating and cooling, that very design can have a negative impact on your Stillwater home’s indoor air quality. Because air cannot pass freely between indoor and outdoor environments, you are stuck breathing the same air day after day.

Luckily, there are t options that will exchange the heat in your indoor air to the outdoor air as it enters your home. In effect, you can retain all of the heat your home produces each day before it leaves the house. It works equally well in the summer to retain the cooled air your air conditioning units produce.

How Heat Recovery Works

Heat recovery ventilators come in many forms, including simple ventilation, heat exchange, or air exchanging. There are even some indoor heat pumps that will carefully draw heat from the air as it’s removed from your home and recirculate it through your air ducts.

The idea is the same no matter how the system is installed. As air leaves your home through a ventilator, a counter-flow heat exchanger transfers energy between the air leaving and entering your home. So, instead of warm air leaving and cold air entering, the air coming into your home takes the heat from the air leaving your home. Air comes and goes, but heat stays inside.

In the summer, the same system works in reverse to remove heat from the air coming into your home and keep it outside. The one thing to keep in mind with a heat recovery ventilator is that it doesn’t retain the humidity in your home as an energy recovery ventilator would. If you live in an area with very high or very low humidity during summer or winter, an ERV may be a better solution for your needs.

Air Quality Benefits

The goal of a good heat recovery ventilator is not just to retain the heated or cooled air in your home. It is also to ensure you have clean, fresh air to breathe each day. Most people don’t realize, but when you don’t circulate your air and your home is sealed up with enhanced weather-stripping and high quality insulation, unwanted contaminants begin to build up. A heat recovery ventilator makes sure you not only get fresh air, but that it’s properly filtered and the heat or cooling your comfort system produces is retained. No money is lost, energy is saved, and your family stays comfortable and healthy – everyone wins.

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Energy Efficient Home Cooling Tips in Fridley

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Having an energy efficient air conditioning system in place is a great way to keep cool this summer in Fridley for less. But that is far from the only thing you can do to help reduce your energy bills throughout the hottest months of the year. In fact, there are several simple steps you can take to start cutting down on your cooling costs right now and lighten the cooling load that your air conditioning system has to bear.

One of the main things to remember when you are trying to keep your house cool is that every door and window is potentially letting in warmer air from outside and letting the cooler indoor air escape. You can cut down on this considerably if you simply take the time to seal up these access points and any others you are able to find.

Putting up plastic over unused doors and windows and checking all areas of the house for drafts and adequate insulation will dramatically reduce the cost of keeping your house cool in the summer. Also, you can keep the sun from warming up your indoor air by drawing the blinds, particularly on those windows that let in the hot afternoon sun.

Putting up light colored siding and reflective roofing will also do a great deal to keep your overall cooling costs down. That is because these materials are able to direct the heat of the sun away from your house rather than letting it be absorbed so that it can heat up the inside. The vast majority of the heat that your air conditioning system has to remove from your house comes in through your roof and walls, so blocking this access point is extremely helpful in keeping your overall cooling costs down.

All of these are steps you can take to reduce the total cooling load that your air conditioning system has to deal with. But if you want your system to continue to function at peak energy efficiency, you will have to take care of it as well.

This typically means having someone come in once a year to perform a thorough inspection and maintenance of your air conditioning system and to clean out any debris that may have accumulated over time. Having this done will make it possible for your air conditioner to continue to function at the highest possible levels of energy efficiency for years to come.

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Whole House Air Quality System. What Is It? When and Why Do You Need It?

Friday, June 24th, 2011

There are many ways to control the indoor air quality of your home. The easiest way to is to clean your vents and ducts. This reduces the number of pollutants like mold and dust that get into your air each day. In some cases, however, you may need something more powerful and that’s where a whole house air quality system comes in.

What Does Whole House Air Quality Provide?

There are many filters and purifiers on the market that can be operated in a single room such as your living room or the bedroom of your child. However, if you have a more substantial contaminant problem, a whole house system actually attaches to the source of fresh air.

Most whole house systems integrate directly into the ventilation ducts and fans of your house. This ensures the air is purified and cleaned as it enters your home, not after it has circulated for some time. Air cleaners are also integrated into ducts where UV lighting and ionizers can remove bacteria, viruses, smoke and exhaust fumes that come in from outside.

Your furnace and air conditioner will also be filtered above and beyond standard manufacturer filtering, ensuring there are less contaminants traveling through your ducts to start with.

When Do You Need It?

The upgrade to a whole house system isn’t just for those suffering from dust, pollen and pet dander. These can easily be removed with regular cleaning of your ducts and a HEPA filter in each room affected. However, if your home tests high for various gases, exhaust fumes, or molds that are beyond your control, a whole house system is a great way to protect yourself.

In particular, these systems are useful when the contaminants come in from outside. Most indoor contaminants can be removed with careful maintenance of your comfort system, but if your neighbor has a leaky exhaust pipe or if you live near a busy highway, you can’t do much about it other than to filter the air as it comes inside.

Choosing a whole home air quality system starts with knowing what you need to filter. So, proper air testing is highly recommended. After testing, make sure your current systems will integrate well with the new air quality controls. If everything works properly, you’ll be well on your way to fresh, clean air in no time.

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