Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Minnetonka’

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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How to Add Freon to a Central Air Conditioning Unit: A Guide From Isanti

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

An air conditioner cannot cool your Isanti home without an adequate amount of Freon. So if you’ve noticed a drop off in the cooling power of your central air conditioning system, inadequate Freon levels may be the culprit. But before you try to add more Freon to your unit, there are several things you need to know.

Low Freon Means a Leak

The truth is that your central air conditioning system should never need to be “topped off” with Freon. The coolant in your unit is part of a closed loop system and doesn’t get used up like fuel. Instead it continues to circulate through your compressor, absorbing and releasing heat to keep the air passing through it cool and comfortable.

If the level of Freon inside your air conditioner drops below the proper level, it generally means there’s a leak somewhere in your system and you’ll need a qualified professional to find that leak and make the necessary repairs.

Professional Access and Expertise

Even if you’re inclined to add Freon to your unit, you’ll probably have a hard time getting your hands on it. As an EPA regulated substance, Freon can only be purchased by EPA certified technicians. If you’re able to purchase this type of coolant for your air conditioner, you’ll need to make sure you know what type your unit uses. Most air conditioners these days use either R22 or R-134a. It’s important that you only use the type of Freon that your air conditioner is built for.

Potential for Harm

Freon is regulated so strictly because it is an extremely hazardous substance. It can harm you or your family and it can do a lot of damage if accidentally released into the atmosphere. To top everything off, if you do accidentally release it, you could be subject to some hefty EPA fines.

In extreme cases, you can do irreparable damage to your air conditioning system by trying to add Freon inappropriately or without proper training. For all of these reasons, it’s best to let a certified professional check and, if necessary, top off the Freon levels in your AC system. For the minimal cost of this service, you can avoid risking the health and safety of your family as well as that of your AC system.

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My HVAC System Has a 10 Year Warranty – Why Do I Need a Maintenance Agreement?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

While every new furnace sold comes with a limited 10 year warranty for the unit and parts, it is a good idea to supplement your warranty with a more complete maintenance agreement with your HVAC provider. Why pay for a secondary maintenance plan when you already have a warranty?

For the most part, the limited warranty provided by the manufacturer is meant to cover things like faulty parts, abnormal breakdowns or recalls. If your system simply needs to get a checkup because you use it a lot or there is a clog that isn’t caused by the actual furnace or air conditioner, you will likely end up paying the maintenance cost. So, by paying for an upgraded service plan, you cover all potential breakdowns and you’ll never again need to worry about your system. It’s like getting the upgraded warranty for a new car that covers everything from a busted crankshaft to old windshield wipers.

Help Your System Last Longer

Another benefit of a maintenance agreement for your HVAC system is that the system lasts longer when it is regularly maintained. The best maintenance agreements come with unlimited checkups and service visits, any day of the week, any time. So, if you think your system is running poorly, call a professional in to check it out and it won’t cost you anything. The ability to do this will ensure your HVAC system lasts significantly longer than if you were forced to wait until you could afford an extra visit from your repair man.

So, not only do you ensure your system keeps working, you add a lot of valuable years to its lifespan. Imagine how much money you’ll save if your furnace or air conditioner lasts for 20+ years instead of just 10. Any breakdowns after the 10 year mark would require hefty repairs or replacement since your warranty is expired. So, it’s in your best interest to keep your system running smoothly throughout its lifespan.

Ultimately, an HVAC system is only as good as what you put into it. If you’re careful about your investments and are willing to spend a little extra now, you’ll stand to benefit far more in the future from a smoothly operating, efficient heating system.

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Where Are My Shut Off Valves?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Whenever you want to do some home repairs on your plumbing, whether it is to change a leaky faucet or fix knocking pipes, you need to shut off the main water supply. But, most home owners do not know where their main shutoff valves are, especially if they have just moved in or are renting a home that is unfamiliar to them. To help, here are some common places you can look for shutoff valves in your home.

  • Water Meter – The Water Meter, which you can usually find in your basement or just outside your home, will have a shutoff valve attached directly to it. Usually there will be two shutoff valves – one on each side of the meter (supply and home). To effectively shut off your water supply, turn the valve located before the meter.
  • Toilet Supply – Sometimes you do not need to cut off the main water supply to your entire house. It can be disruptive and the people in your home may not appreciate not having drinking water or a shower while you are working on the plumbing. So, when working on the toilet, always look for the toilet water valve located behind the tank. Sometimes this valve will be on the floor – other times it will be located on the wall just behind the tank.
  • Finding Wily Supplies – Sometimes the water supply may not be located where you would expect. It might be behind appliances or access panels or above your head somewhere. Most of the time, the water supply will still be in the basement, so start there and look carefully for the root of the pipes. Since most of the pipes in your home will originate at the supply line, you can usually trace them back to a single source.

If you still cannot find your main water supply line and shutoff valve, that does not mean it is hidden in the floor somewhere or outside. Sometimes, the supply lines are just in odd places, either because of strange construction or poor renovations by a past owner. If this is the case, get a second pair of eyes to help you hunt or as a last ditch option, call a plumber who will be able to more easily follow the lines back to their source. Nine times out of ten, you should be able to find and handle a main water supply on your own. But never rule out calling for a professional’s help if things get more complicated than anticipated.

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