Addressing Heat Pump Problems

 

People rely on their heat pumps to be running without problems during the winter time. Even if the weather sometimes is mild during the day it can get extremely cold at night, and that is the wrong time for the heat pump to malfunction. However, there are times when heat pump service is not as good as it could be.

 

Erratic Temperature

 

The most common problem that will arise is when the thermostat is set for a given temperature and yet the house registers a few degrees cooler. While this is not a state of emergency, it is a condition of inconvenience and the heat pump may not be working efficiently. The homeowner may want to take a look at the environment surrounding the heat pump first. It may be possible that the house is poorly insulated or snow and ice is covering the outside unit. Both require very easy maintenance to correct. If after adding insulation or removing the ice there still is some difficulty with the temperature that might be the heat pump mechanism itself.

 

The Need for Professional Attention

 

Anything that involves the internal workings of a heat pump is something that may be above and beyond the capabilities of a homeowner. It is possible a new thermostat may be needed because the present one has some calibration problems. Refrigerant is a serious matter because there may be leakage and that can affect the environment. The compressor valves could be malfunctioning or compressor itself may not be running. These are all situations where an HVAC technician is the best alternative. That individual has the skill set and the tools necessary to see to it that the heat pump service is back to where it should be.

 

Maintenance of the heat pump during the winter can be easy or require experienced hands. The first thing is to always check to see whether or not it is the heat pump or something in the house such as poor insulation that is creating the chill. The inner workings of a heat pump should be something that only an HVAC technician should address. A homeowner could make a mistake in trying to fix heat pump and cause even greater problems as a consequence.

Heat Pumps for Mild Weather

Heat pumps provide the best energy efficiency if they are the right model for a given environment. A geothermal heat pump in mild weather does the job, but it isn’t really necessary for a location where temperatures are ordinarily above freezing. The best heat pump service in a warm or hot climate comes from and air – source heat pump.

How They Operate

There is a compressor and two coils within the heat pump along with aluminum fins to facilitate the movement of heat. The refrigerant in the outer coils will pull heat from the environment and evaporate it. The inner coils let out heat from the refrigerant as it goes back into a liquid state. The latest models of air – source heat pumps have thermostatic expansion valves and improve coil design to be more efficient. They also may have a split system where there is one coil indoors and one outside of the house. Depending on the need, cool or warm air comes from the ductwork which will pass through a wall or even the roof of the house.

The air – source heat pump works best with temperatures above 40°F and those with a demand – defrost control will reduce the amount of energy used to defrost the coils. Any heat pump is placed outside should have a means of obstructing the wind which could either be a fence or shrubbery. Overall, the heating efficiency an air – source heat pump is determined by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) and the cooling efficiency is determined by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

Air – source heat pumps are becoming even more efficient with advances in technology. Currently, an all climate heat pump is being perfected that has a chance of reducing energy costs by as much as 60% depending on circumstances. Air – source heat pumps provide a great deal of energy efficiency in the warmer climates, and that optimal use of energy is reflected in substantially lower utility bills.

Getting Better Heat Efficiency in the Cold Months

The not so good news is that we still have a few more weeks of winter. There will still be a chance of very cold nights or when that will drive the wind chill factor down. Yet, a homeowner still can do a little energy efficient work in the house that will allow for better use of heat. The good news is this kind of maintenance isn’t all that expensive.

Do the Easy Things

Greater energy efficiency can be obtained just by changing the furnace filters. A homeowner may want to consider using a permanent filter insert disposable ones. The difference is that an electrostatic filter can trap twice as much dirt as a disposable fiberglass one. Ceiling fans can circulate warm air simply moving switched to running clockwise, and that brings the warm air down into the living space from the ceiling. Tune-ups are recommended and it is possible that the local public utility will provide a free annual checkup. There may be a few appointment openings left, and make sense just to call and find out. Window insulation as a buffer against drafts and a kit is easy to buy at the local hardware store.

Consider Some Routine Maintenance

Putting insulation in the attics encourages efficiency. The ductwork may need to be sealed and cleaned so that less energy is used to create heat. Putting in a programmable thermostat will also help maintain the right level of temperature at a reasonable cost. Some other home improvements may need the assistance of an HVAC contractor. Those who are certified through the ENERGY STAR program are proficient in improving the use of energy in the house. They can provide not just assistance but also advice on how to further economize on energy during the winter months.

Winter will soon be over and it will not be as much need for heat. Just a few tweaks can the house be a little bit more energy efficient as the colder months draw to a close. There is no need to waste a lot of energy keeping the house comfortable. Some minor adjustments can provide all the work that is necessary and conserve energy at same time.

Geothermal Heat the House

 Modern consumers are looking for a way to not only reduce the amount of carbon emissions but also to have needed energy at a reasonable price. The house still needs to be warmed and cooled properly, and simply opening or closing a window is not sufficient replacement for the old fossil burning furnace. Technology has advanced and HVAC systems can offer alternatives that use little or no carbon-based fuel. Geothermal heat pumps can provide both the heat and cool air are necessary to keep the house comfortable.

The Mechanics of Geothermal Heat Pumps

The geothermal system moves heat through liquid fill pipes buried in the ground. Below the surface the temperature of the earth is somewhere around 50°F. Geothermal heat pumps will take this heat from out of the ground through the pipes and process it either for cooling air or for heating purposes. A major benefit is that the amount of electricity needed for the geothermal heat pump to work is a fraction of what a standard heat pump would need. This type of HVAC equipment ordinarily comes with warranties of up to 10 years, and the lifespan is much more. Overall, they are considered much more energy-efficient than standard air-conditioners or gas furnaces.

Something to Keep In Mind

Geothermal heat pumps will ultimately pay for themselves and more, but the installment will require hundreds of feet of piping to be buried deep in the soil. Soil conditions will influence the overall cost of installation, and small lots will require drilling hundreds of feet straight down to reach the heat source. The cost overall is fairly high, and a homeowner should expect to pay as much as $20,000 or more for geothermal heat pump. All this understood these heat pumps will pay for themselves over period of time, substantially reduce utility bills, and the carbon emission created by geothermal heat pumps is almost nil. This is definitely an option for those people who have a great concern about carbon emission and are willing to pay for installation.

Maintaining the Furnace in Polar Conditions

 

polar-vortex-cold-weather

The polar vortex came as a very sobering shock to a lot of people. It is often the case the furnace is taken for granted during the cold months. Freezing or semi-polar conditions should alert the homeowner to the importance of a properly functioning furnace. The last thing that is needed in subzero weather is for the furnace to break down.

The Basics

Furnaces will take in colder air, clean it, heat it, and distribute the air throughout the house by means of the ductwork. That is essentially what a conventional furnace will do and the process repeats itself when the furnace is in operation. An unexpected loss of heat may simply be a thermostat that is not properly set, or it may mean there’s a circuit breaker blown. These are things which are very easily corrected. It is also possible the air filter needs to be replaced and that is easy enough to do. The homeowner can perform any of the tasks.

More Advanced Maintenance

Problems may surface with obstructions to the airflow and there may be difficulty with the gas burners themselves. Some difficulty may arise from the blower motor, and the heat anticipator of the thermostat may be having problems. These are challenges that may be above and beyond the expertise of a homeowner. Such cases would require the services of an HVAC professional and there should be no hesitation in bringing in such assistance. Trouble with the heat anticipator or blower motor can dramatically affect the warming conditions of the house. It is worth paying a service charge to have the problems fixed, and inspection of the furnace warranty may permit for certain expenses to be covered by the warranty, saving the homeowner some money. It is anybody’s guess if a polar vortex happens again. Making sure the gas furnace is operating efficiently will help any home weather the temperature drop.

Dangers of Winter Carbon Monoxide

 

 

Winter is the season when families close the windows to shut out the cold drafts and stay inside to take advantage of the warmth coming from the furnace. There is no problem for this in ordinary circumstances but a defective furnace is a source of very serious health hazards. The worst is carbon monoxide. This is a gas that has no odor but it is poisonous. The possibility of carbon monoxide leaking from the furnace is a reason why a homeowner should take precautions during the winter.

Furnace service can be as simple as having a common monoxide alarm installed. It must be remembered these are not smoke detectors, and will only activate when carbon monoxide is noticed. If there is evidence of carbon monoxide the heat exchanger in the furnace needs to be replaced. Heat exchangers over period of time can develop cracks and that allows the gas to escape. Replacing the heat exchanger, by the way, is the kind of repair work that an HVAC professional ought to be doing. This is not a do-it-yourself project at all because of the danger of the gas that’s involved. It is also possible that the heating system of the house is not venting the flue gases out of the home properly. Again, an HVAC professional needs to inspect to see where any gas leakage is happening.

If a carbon monoxide alarm has not been installed, evidence of carbon monoxide can be symptoms of ill health the residents of the house may have. This can include nausea and drowsiness for which there is no explanation. If these symptoms become apparent it is time to the contact an HVAC technician to inspect the furnace. Winter is a time when people are indoors and the furnace is working at maximum capacity. Some safety precautions to guard against carbon monoxide gas can prevent serious and tragedy from happening during what should be a holiday season.

Heating in Gilbert Arizona

Heating and Air Conditioning Maintenance Gilbert, Arizona

In Phoenix Arizona the winter’s are normally pretty mild sometimes getting below the freezing point. Well for the last four days we have hit those low temps. Temperatures being in the 20′s at night brrrrr  the 50′s is good with me . It’s kinda funny here in Gilbert air conditioning or heater season  when temps rise or  drop like they have every one turns their heating and cooling system on , some for the very first time of the season. Well its winter and some get a surprise , NO HEAT ! That is when every one gets on the phone calling their local heating and cooling company which hopefully is Air Care Cooling & Heating.

 

 

This is why Air Care always try’s to stress to get your air conditioning and heating check up before the extreme weather comes. We do this for two main reasons. The first reason being that it is a heck of a lot cheaper and easier to fix small and less expensive items on a check up than if you have a brake down and have to repair bigger more expensive parts. All of Air Care’s maintenance agreement customers can vouch for this practice. Just about every maintenance agreement customer I have ever talked to and asked how they like the maintenance plan, they all have commented that they enjoy the trouble free summer’s and winters. For the most part they are trouble free but remember we are talking about machines so anything can happen at any time. The second reason is that if every one, no lets say half of all the people in metropolitan phoenix area call for heating service at the same time it will take days if not weeks for all heating and cooling contractors as a whole to get everyone taken care of. What that will entail is some people having to wait to get there air fixed and sitting in a cold home.

 

 

So I guess the message we’re trying to get across is do your heating maintenance check up and don’t be left in the cold without heat or a poorly running heater. A heating maintenance check up will actually save you money not cost you money, although you do initially pay for you heater check up. A proper COMPLETE heating check up will unveil many underlying problems that rob energy and once corrected will be saving you a good chunk of money. Unless of course you enjoy giving away free money to SRP and APS power companies… nah I didn’t think so. Some of the most common issues are loosing heated air through loose or unsealed duct work. Restricted coil or air flow. Low or incorrect freon level. Those are some the most common there is about 25 or so different things we check.  If you need further detail please give us a call .You may check on our air conditioning & heating maintenance page for more details.