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

Here’s What Could Happen If You Skipped Furnace Maintenance

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

male technician working on the inside of a furnaceTemperatures around here are mild for now. In fact, if it weren’t for the occasional rain we’re sure you’d be quite content in shorts and sandals. However, for those who are new to the area or even those who are experienced with how fast and how hard winter weather can hit, now is the time to think about your heating system.

What kind of shape is it in? Do you need furnace repair in Shoreview, MN? Have you scheduled your fall heating maintenance appointment yet? This last question is particularly important. Furnace maintenance should be scheduled at least once a year, to fend off repairs, extend the life of your heating system, and more.

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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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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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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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The Hardest HVAC Maintenance: A Guide from a Shoreview Heating Contractor

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Do you hate to work on your own mechanical equipment in your Shoreview home, like furnaces and plumbing fixtures? You aren’t alone. Many people are not cut out to be do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). They prefer to hand off their maintenance and repair chores to Shoreview contractor. That’s not a bad thing. But there are lots of DIYers who prefer to work on their own home repairs – and those are the people who aren’t afraid to take on the most challenging jobs.

If you are looking for good ideas on how to maintain your home’s heating and cooling (HVAC) system beyond the normal filter changeouts, here are some good things to check – things that will help with the overall performance of your HVAC system.

  1. Check the ventilation system. The ventilation carries conditioned air from a main source throughout your home.  It takes a little time and effort to check your ventilation system for things like cracks or leaks around joints, but it is an important maintenance task. You may even find separations between joints or holes caused by nails. A leaky ventilation system could be sending conditioned air into attics, walls, or crawlspaces and making your furnace work extra hard just to keep your living areas warm and comfortable. Take time to visually inspect as much of your ventilation system as possible – usually metal or flex duct – and repair using joint glue, metal filler, or duct tape.
  2. Inspect the insulation. Your heating system works in conjunction with the insulation in your home to provide comfort and warmth while saving you on high utility bills. A home that is poorly insulated or not insulated at all will cause a furnace to work harder and not only send utility bills higher, but increase the possibility of mechanical failure. Replacing or adding insulation in walls and crawlspaces is a relatively easy, yet time-consuming task. You can roll down or tack up fiber insulation or blow in insulation into walls. You can also seal up cracks on your home’s walls, roof, or foundation with a number of different products. Once again, your goal is to make your heating system work less and save you money.
  3. Check the visible components of the furnace. A build-up of dust and dirt can make the moving components of your furnace work even harder, such as the motors, fan belts, contactors, etc. If you live in an area where there is lots of dust and humidity or if your home has several occupants and/or animals, it is particularly important to check your system on a regular basis. This can be done by removing the access panels and taking a vacuum cleaner hose into as many areas as possible. A good, thorough vacuuming should produce immediate results and make your furnace run much more efficiently.

Try these three steps and you may not have to repeat them for another year or so – possibly not ever again while you live in your home.

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Water and Energy Saving Tips from Lakeville

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The cost of the heat, air conditioning and water supply to your Lakeville home continues to rise – it’s no wonder you want to cut your bills so much. But, how can you do that without cutting into the creature comforts and conveniences you’ve gotten used to over the course of the last few decades? Here are a few simple energy and water saving tips to make your life easier.

  • Patching Leaks – Two of the biggest wasters of water are dripping faucets and leaky pipes. The amount of water wasted by a single drip every second could provide for multiple baths per year – it adds up fast. Not only are leaky faucets and pipes easy to fix; they tend to develop into bigger problems as time passes.
  • Drains and Flushing – If you put a piece of toilet paper in the toilet used to clean an eye or wipe the counter, don’t flush. It’s a waste of water. If you notice some extra toothpaste in the sink, don’t rinse yet. You can always use the water from brushing your teeth or washing your face to clean it out. Multi-task and minimize how much water goes down the drain to save water.
  • Fully Loaded – A partially filled washing machine or dish washer is a huge waster of water. Fill it up and wait to run the device until it’s at the brim – the same amount of water is used no matter how much is in the device.
  • Insulate Pipes – Hot water pipes without insulation waste a tremendous volume of energy every year. The cost of running a hot water tank continuously every day can be anywhere from $200 to $300 per year, and that’s with insulation. Consider the cost without it to keep the water warm as it passes to your fixtures.
  • Lower Water Flow – Don’t crank your faucets up to the max just to get a glass of water or to check for hot water. It’s a waste of energy and it’s often unnecessary, especially when waiting for water to hit the right temperature.

If you’re interested in getting the most out of your home’s water supply, there are hundreds of little ways to save water that will add up over time. These are just some of the easiest ways to get started. For more tips, talk to your local Lakeville plumber.

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How Do I Check a Gas Furnace Draft Pressure Switch? A Question from Shoreview

Friday, November 18th, 2011

There are many reasons why a furnace stops working and in many cases, a Shoreview homeowner can perform some simple diagnostics to pinpoint the problem. Finding the problem is one thing – fixing it is another. When in doubt, don’t try it yourself. Call a qualified professional.

But let’s look at one possible problem and solution you may be able to perform yourself – testing the draft pressure switch. The draft pressure switch on a gas furnace allows an electrical current to pass through to ignite the furnace. The pressure switch monitors the draft conditions and won’t allow the furnace’s gas valve to open unless draft is correct.

If the switch is malfunctioning, so too will (or will not) the furnace.

The best way to locate the switch is by consulting with your owner’s manual or by going online and simply typing in the words “gas furnace draft switch.” It is identifiable by its round size and is bolted to the outside of the furnace. It should be nearby the draft inducer motor because the two are connected by a metal tube. The tube may sometimes be the culprit, too. A tube that is blocked with condensation may cause the switch to go bad.

To check for proper function, first turn off power to the furnace, either by shutting down the “on’ switch at the furnace or shutting off the circuit breaker.

Use a volt ohm meter to check if the switch is opening and closing properly. Start by zeroing out the meter’s probes by touching the tips together. Using the dial (could be analog or digital), set the meter to 24 volts. Ground the black probe by attaching it to any metal part of the furnace. Then place the end of the red probe on the metal tube connecting the draft pressure switch to the draft inducer motor.

If the switch is working properly the meter should read at least 24 volts, or very near that. If the reading is short of 24 volts, the switch is not working correctly. At that point you may decide to replace it or call a professional to do the task (recommended).

Always remember that there are many sources which will help you diagnose and repair a problem, especially those available through the Internet. If you search YouTube.com you will find many videos advising you on how to repair certain components. Use all of the resources available to you and keep the phone number of a qualified and professional heating and cooling contractor nearby.

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Scald Free Showers and Bathtubs: Scald Prevention Methods From Ramsey

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

One of the worst things that can happen to you in a shower is when a sudden blast of scalding hot water strikes you unexpectedly. This is a problem for many people and usually happens when someone turns on the cold water at another tap in your Ramsey house. When that occurs, the cold water that you were using to regulate the temperature in your bathroom becomes temporarily unavailable and the hot water takes over.

This usually does not last long, and even if it does, you will likely jump out of the way quickly. But for the moment you are underneath that scalding hot water, some serious damage can be done, particularly to older people or young children whose skin is not as thick as that of an average adult. Also, in trying to get out of the way of the hot water in a slippery bathtub, many people have accidentally fallen and injured themselves more seriously.

So what can be done about these sudden and unexpected blasts of hot water? Well, recent developments in shower and bathtub technology have made it possible for scald free shower and bathtub fixtures to reach the market. These products are designed to maintain a consistent temperature in your shower no matter what type of water or how much is being used elsewhere in the house.

These scald free showers can compensate for the dip in cold water pressure that occurs when someone flushes a toilet in another bathroom or turns on the water in the kitchen. This is accomplished by the addition of a diaphragm that can immediately adjust to any variations in either hot or cold water pressure. With this technology in place, you will never need to worry about being scalded in the shower again.

Of course, these scald free shower heads and bathtub fixtures can cost a bit more than their conventional counterparts. But they are well worth it, especially if scalding water is a problem in your shower on a regular basis. You need to be able to keep yourself and your family safe in the shower and scald free showers are the best way to do that.

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