Air Mechanical, Inc Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Sherburne County’

Andover Heat Pump Question: Why Won’t My Heat Pump Start?

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A heat pump that just doesn’t start one day is quite a common problem. The following are the most common problems that lead to an unresponsive heat pump.

  • A faulty thermostat
  • A faulty contactor
  • Some problem with the time-delay relay mechanism
  • A fault with the thermostat cable
  • The unit may be off due to a safety device being left open and exposed to high/low temperature, high/low pressure
  • A problem with the control module

There are instances in which the thermostat is not set correctly. This could lead to your heat pump not starting. If your emergency switch has been turned off, it could also lead to your pump being unresponsive. Apart from this, if your pump plug has been pulled out or the circuit breaker has tripper due to a surge, it could also lead to the same problem.

These may seem too obvious or simple but they are often the cause of an unresponsive heat pump. Other similar, simple problems may include a condensate pump switch being left open, the outdoor reset button may have been left off or the unit may have been locked out. In the last case, you can always turn the system off and turn it back on to get it to start working.

So before you go ahead and make that call to the service technician, make sure you check the following:

  • Ensure that no emergency switch is off
  • Make sure all breakers for the outdoor and indoor units are on
  • Check your fuses if possible
  • Check the safety switch on the condensate pump if you have one

If the problem persists even after trying all these steps, it is time to call the Andover heat pump technician. For any heat pump repairs that you need, give Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call!

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HVAC Guide: Green Building Trends for New Homes

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

In a society with an increasing an eye on reducing waste and creating energy-efficient spaces, it might not be as surprising to know that the green building market has been steadily increasing over the past few years, and in years to come is expected to triple from what it is now.  The variety of green building trends for new homes in Ham Lake which are in place today are staggering and exciting, and will ultimately change the way we build homes and business facilities, permanently.  According to the Earth Advantage Institute, below are the latest green building trends for new homes to watch for in the near future.

  • Urban Density:  Homeowners are opting to build in the empty space between existing homes or buildings.  These lots are desired by those who want to be closer to city-centers and hotspots.
  • Green Multi-Family Homes:  An increased interest in energy-saving building options and an increase in the number of multi-family homes being built mean an increase in green multi-family homes.
  • Energy Upgrades Drive Home Remodels:  Consumer preference has switched to remodeling in order to save energy in their upgrades.  Thus contractors have begun to offer these types of services as a standard option in remodeling projects. This includes new, energy saving HVAC equipment.
  • Development and Testing of New Materials: National labs and research departments are working with construction firms in order to produce test facilities and sensor-filled buildings which track real-time energy performance of new materials and equipment.
  • Consumer-Friendly Home Energy Tracking Devices:  Sensor-based energy and water monitoring systems are being used by consumers to save money all throughout their homes and the number of companies creating these tracking devices is increasing, making them easier to come by.
  • Energy Education for Commercial Tenants:  Commercial building energy disclosure is pushing building owners to be more energy efficient, this in addition to educating tenants on ways for them to contribute to saving energy means that more commercial buildings are going green.
  • Transparency in Home Marketing:  Consumers who have instant access to information are more educated and can see through housing scams more easily. Real estate agents who are forthright and educate clients even further on the benefits of having energy efficient home features means more confidence in the green housing market.
  • More Accurate Appraisals:  With more educated consumers looking for Certified Residential Green Appraisers, the lending community is beginning to follow suit and pay attention even further to the added value and return on investment for green homes and green remodels.
  • Broader Adoption of Residential Energy Ratings for Homes:  Energy labeling systems are being put into place nationally, thus causing homeowners to be more educated regarding energy savings possibilities.  More extensive usage of residential energy ratings for homes means homeowners are undertaking more energy upgrade work.
  • Smart Grid-Compatible High-Performance Homes:  More new homes are utilizing “grid-aware” appliances which monitor and report their own usage with the ability to increase or decrease electric usage remotely, thus saving energy.

For more tips on how to improve your Ham Lake home, or for any plumbing, heating, or air conditioning service you need, give Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call!

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Common Heat Pump Performance Problems: A Troubleshooting Guide from Maple Grove

Monday, August 27th, 2012

The heat pump in your Maple Grove home needs to work year round to provide heat and air conditioning. This is why you want to make sure it’s performing as efficiently as possible to save on energy costs and prevent break downs. You should schedule an annual maintenance check-up and inspection with a certified HVAC technician to test the efficiency levels.

However, there are a few common causes of performance issues to be aware of so that you can be sure your heat pump performs at optimal levels. Call Air Mechanical if you have questions about heat pump performance issues, or to make an appointment for an annual inspection and professional cleaning.

Airflow Issues

There should always be a certain amount of airflow (measured in cubic feet per minute) in your heat pump to maintain proper efficiency levels. If the airflow is less than 350 cfm per ton, it could increase your energy costs. You should make sure your Maple Grove HVAC contractor checks the airflow whenever your heat pump is inspected. Always keep the coils clean. Sometimes the ducts are not the right size, or the fan speed needs to be increased, but often cleaning the coils will help airflow, which is why it is important to clean and maintain the components of your heat pump. A certified technician will know what methods are best, so if you suspect an airflow problem with your heat pump, call a professional heating technician.

Air Leaks in the Duct System

Inefficient or poorly-designed duct systems may not distribute air properly throughout your home because of potential air leaks. There should always be a balance between the intake and return air in a forced air system, which helps maintain a neutral pressure within the house and increase efficiency. Some contractors argue over how tightly a house should be sealed for this reason, but if your heat pump is losing heat through leaks in the air ducts, this will greatly affect its efficiency.

Improper Refrigerant

Refrigerant leaks are another common cause of low performance levels in heat pumps. Most heat pumps already have refrigerant when they leave the factory and shouldn’t have any issues. Heat pumps that are charged with refrigerant when they are installed can sometimes have the wrong amount of refrigerant. Either too much or too little refrigerant will lower the heat pump’s efficiency and performance levels. Always check the recommended refrigerant amount or ask an HVAC technician before you add refrigerant yourself.

If the heat pump in your Maple Grove home isn’t working properly, it is also affecting your heating bills. Call Air Mechanical today to set up an appointment.

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Plumbing Guide: Garbage Disposals Are A Kitchen Necessity

Monday, August 20th, 2012

For most Andover homeowners, the garbage disposal is an essential kitchen convenience.  Food preparation and cooking become much easier when peelings and scraps can just be whisked into the sink and down the drain.  Most municipal water treatments plants now have the technology to extract the pulverized food debris from waste water and turn it into sludge that can be sterilized and disposed in a landfill or used for fertilizer.

 When to Replace a Garbage Disposal

Obviously, when your garbage disposal stops working it’s time to either fix or replace it. While it’s possible to service a garbage disposal, it would probably be cheaper to replace it. But if your disposal is still operating, how do you know when it’s time to for a new one?

Garbage disposals don’t last forever. No matter how well it’s made, any appliance exposed to thousands of gallons of running water, detergent, food scraps, bones, and the occasional spoon accidentally dropped into the drain is going to wear out. A disposal in good condition should be able to dispatch a few potato or apple peels in a matter of seconds. If your unit seems to take forever to accomplish a simple grinding task, it may be time for a new one.

A foul odor emanating from the disposal that won’t go away after a thorough rinsing may also be a sign that it’s time to replace it. As the components in the grinding chamber wear out, food can get trapped inside and rot. You may adapt to the smell, but guests will probably not appreciate it.

Even if your disposal is in good shape, you may want to look into replacing it. Garbage disposals are rated in horsepower. Basic models are usually rated in the 1/5 to 1/3 horsepower range, while top of the line models are in the 3/4 to 1 horsepower range. The difference may seem small, but it has a major impact on performance. If you have a smaller unit in the 1/5 to 1/3 range that is a few years old, and you like to cook, it may be worth your while to consider replacing it.

 Size Matters

Most manufacturers offer a range of models with increasing power ratings. If you do a lot of cooking and use your disposal a lot, the few extra dollars investment in a 3/4 or 1 horsepower disposal is worth the money. Not only do more powerful units dispatch food scraps more easily, but they can handle tougher jobs like bones and meat scraps that might jam a smaller disposal. More powerful disposals are less noisy and they tend to break down less. The only drawback of larger disposals is that they tend to be larger and take up more space. It’s best to consult a Andover plumbing contractor like Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing before buying a new disposal to make sure it will fit under your sink.

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Plumbing Tip: Plumbing Noises – Where They Come From and Why They Occur

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Under ideal conditions, you would hear nothing from your Rogers plumbing system except the sound of running water when you turn on the tap. Unfortunately, that is not always what actually happens. In fact, your plumbing can make all types of funny and sometimes alarming noises for no reason that you can easily discern.

For instance, one common plumbing noise sounds like a hard knock or hammer blow. This usually occurs when you turn off a tap and can be rather alarming. Sometimes you can even feel the reverberation of the impact that caused the sound. But why is this happening? Usually, this “water hammer” noise is the result of the dramatic shift in pressure in the system when you suddenly stop the flow of water from a faucet.

This sudden stop creates a kind of shock wave, which then travels back through the pipes and causes the loud knocking sound that you hear. This is easily fixed with a device that is known as a water hammer arrester. These devices help to dissipate the force of the pressure shift and can keep the noise from occurring at all.

There are also all kinds of whistling, squealing and squeaking noises that your plumbing can make under certain circumstances. These types of sounds are often caused by a worn out washer somewhere along the line that is having trouble regulating the flow of water. It can be a little difficult to pin down the source of these noises sometimes, especially if they occur no matter which faucet is turned on. But with a little hunting and trial and error you can usually track down the source.

Rattling sounds are also common and generally occur when your water pipes are not well secured to a rigid surface. If this is the case, the force of the water running through the pipes can cause the pipe to vibrate, creating the sound you hear as it bangs against whatever solid surface is nearby. For problems like this, simply securing the pipes in place better can put an end to all of your rattling issues. If you have any plumbing problems in Rogers, call Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today!

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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 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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Andover Plumbing Q/A: Why Do I Need Water Filtration?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Like most Andover homeowners, you’re probably asking yourself why you need water filtration – what exactly happens to your water that makes it necessary to install an entire new system in your home to keep it clean? There are a few things that might be an issue here and your specific circumstances will determine which affects you the most.

 Common Water Contaminants

While most homes don’t suffer from all of the following, there is a good chance you will have at least some of these contaminants in your home:

  • Sediment
  • Bacteria
  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Sulfate
  • Viruses

This is only a partial list too – there are a number of other, more exotic substances that might be in your water. Now, this doesn’t mean your water suffers from all or even most of these problems. Many homes only have one or two contaminants and they may not even be immediately dangerous to your health.

But, here’s the issue – and the number one reason that most homes in Andover should have a water filtration system. Things change. While your home may not suffer from virus or sulfate infiltration now, it could later. Things happen to the water supply – pipes get old, things get into the water tables and chemical levels change at treatment plants.

The only way to combat these problems is to have a good water filtration system already in place. Specifically, a reverse osmosis system that can remove all of these contaminants through an advanced chemical process.

 Testing Comes First

To make sure you have the right system in place to tackle your water contamination problems, make sure you first contact someone to perform full water testing on your home’s drinking water. Because some of these contaminants must be treated with chemical infusions through pumps or special cartridges, it is important to know in advance what you’re up against. Call Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today if you think you need water filtration in your home!

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HVAC Tip: Save Money in the Long Haul with AC Maintenance

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Every year, it’s recommended that you have a Rosemount HVAC contractor visit your home and tune up your air conditioner. This visit will ensure the system is ready for the intense, regular use it will receive during the hottest months of the year. How much money can this visit save you, though? Let’s take a closer look.

Cost of Operating Your Air Conditioning

An air conditioning system on average costs a homeowner between $500 and $1500 per year to operate depending on the length of the cooling season and the efficiency of that air conditioner. That number represents top efficiency for the unit, however. When a system has dirty filters, hasn’t been cleaned properly or the thermostat is no longer calibrated accurately, the cost increases – sometimes dramatically.

Just how much more could you be spending on cooling each month when this happens? The EPA’s Energy Star website estimates an increase in cost of between 10-30% resulting from poorly maintained systems, and it can be even higher if your system is old and is severely affected by a drop in energy efficiency.

Annual Tune Up Necessities

So, what should be at the top of your tune up list? If you call a Rosemount HVAC contractor, they will perform a variety of tasks including:

  • Inspect Coolant and Pressure Systems
  • Calibrate the Thermostat
  • Tighten Wiring, Capacitors, Relays and Contacts
  • Clean the Evaporator Coil
  • Clear and Clean the Condenser and Condensate Drain
  • Inspect the Condenser Fan and Motor
  • Check Compressor Efficiency

This is just a starter list for standard tune up of a central air conditioning unit. You can supplement this tune up by checking your filters once every 30 days and clearing away debris from around any outdoor units. You should also check your thermostat monthly to ensure it is working properly. If not, call for an inspection to avoid heavy increases in operating costs.

Major repairs to your air conditioning system generally take less than a day and when you’re on an annual maintenance plan, they cost significantly less than if you needed someone to fix the device in an emergency situation. To schedule an appointment today, give Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call!

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Heating Replacement Tip: Signs You Need a New Furnace

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Replacing your Brooklyn Center home’s furnace is probably not something you want to think about. After all, a new furnace is a big investment and not something you probably have too much experience with. And sometimes having your current system fixed or tuned up is all you need to get your home heating situation back on track. But there are certain situations in which it makes more sense to just go ahead and get a new furnace rather than simply patching up the old one.

For instance, if you have to call for either minor or major repairs to your furnace on a regular basis, it’s probably time to consider investing in a replacement. All of those repairs cost money and chances are that the furnace you’re paying repeatedly to replace isn’t going to last that much longer anyway.

Rather than continuing to dump money into a furnace that just isn’t cutting it anymore, you’ll be better off making the investment in a new unit. The truth is, you’re going to have to do it sooner or later and by buying a new furnace now, you’re actually saving all of the money you would have spent on repairing the old one for another year or so.

Also, a furnace that requires such frequent repairs is probably not functioning all that efficiently either. When you replace it with a newer model, you won’t just save money on repairs. You’ll also likely notice a considerable savings on your monthly energy bills because of how much more efficient your new model is.

Even if you haven’t been repairing your furnace often, you may be able to notice some signs that the old unit isn’t quite up to the task anymore. If you’re suddenly having some significant humidity problems in your house or if your home isn’t being heated evenly, there’s a good chance your furnace is on its way out.

And, in fact, even if your furnace is functioning just fine but is more than 10 years old or so, it’s very likely you’d benefit by replacing it. That’s because the newer furnaces available now are so much more energy efficient than their predecessors that the savings you’ll incur monthly will quickly make up for the initial installation investment.

Of course, you don’t want to get rid of a good furnace if you don’t have to. But if your Brooklyn Center home’s furnace is getting close to the end of its expected lifespan, you may very well benefit by putting out the money for a new one now so you can start saving right away on your monthly energy bills.

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