Can I Wait for Air Conditioning Replacement?

July 23rd, 2014

Replacing an air conditioner is a big decision, and shouldn’t be rushed into. But at the height of summer, it can be difficult to overcome the daily heat and humidity with an aging system. When faced with the question to replace now or later, one of the best choices you can make is to consult with a professional. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has helped Baldwin residents with their cooling needs for over 80 years. Below are some questions that may help with your decision about when to replace your current AC:

  • How often do you need repairs?

Have you found yourself calling frequently for  air conditioning repair work over the last 2 years? At some point, the inconvenience and cost of multiple, frequent repairs may indicate you’d be better off with a new system.

  • How well is your current system cooling?

One of the telltale signs that an aging air conditioner is ready for replacement is an inability to cool your home. Whether you are experiencing uneven cooling, or your system struggles to reach the set temperature, if you aren’t getting the cooling you need, your indoor comfort is compromised.

  • How old is your system?

The average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 12 years, but if your system is 8 years old or older, you may be missing out on savings in the form of energy efficiency. This is because in 2006, federal regulations changed, requiring that all air conditioners be manufactured with a minimum SEER of 13; the previous law mandated it be 10.

  • How efficient is your system?

Even if your AC meets the minimum SEER regulation, an older system can still have problems being energy efficient. The best way to asses this is to review your monthly energy costs with a specialist.

Work With a Professional

If the answers to the questions above have pointed you in the direction of needing replacement for your AC sooner rather than later, the best way to ensure you install an air conditioning system that fits your home is to work with an AC installation expert. Many factors go into determining what air conditioner will work best for you, and some of these factors can be complex or even overlooked.

Since 1933, Boehmer Heating and Cooling experts have helped Baldwin customers with their cooling needs. Call us today and schedule an appointment.

Principles Behind UV Germicidal Lights

July 15th, 2014

To combat some of the more serious problems that can affect your air ducts—bacteria, viruses, mold—you can use the power of UV germicidal lights. Normal cleaning and filtering methods will not effect most biological growths, but professional installation of UV lamps can clear out almost all these contaminants and provide you with healthier air.

If you think you have issues with microbacteria or mold growth inside your ventilation system, contact Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and talk to our indoor air quality specialists. They will help with setting up UV germicidal lights for your ventilation system that will protect you and your family from the dangers of biological pollutants.

How Do These Lights Help Clean My Home’s Air?

The principle behind UV germicidal lamps is that ultraviolet light sent out at short wavelengths is lethal to microorganisms. Any type of UV radiation is potentially damaging to organic material (this is why you are supposed to wear sunblock when exposed to the sun’s rays for long periods) but the specifics of ultraviolent germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is to target microorganisms and strip away their nuclei to disrupt their DNA. When this occurs, microorganisms cannot perform basic cellular functions and die. The radiation also prevents the organisms from spreading.

The man who discovered that UV lamps could be effective at stopping bacteria and viruses was Nils Finsen, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1903 for his pioneering work in combating skin tuberculosis using ultraviolet light. UV lamps soon became a standard part of sterilization in hospitals and later moved into food service. Now these lights can be installed inside your ductwork to kill bacteria that passes through the air after going through filtration, cleaning the air that enters your home without leaving any chemical residue. And even though UV radiation can pose a threat to human tissue, with proper professional installation of these lights in your ventilation system you will experience minimal exposure and should never encounter any health risks.

Keep in mind that UV germicidal lights only affect organic material. To eliminate dust and dirt and other non-organic particles that can contaminate indoor air, you must also have a filtration system, mechanical or electronic, installed in your ductwork.

Installing UV germicidal lights in Brentwood, PA may be the optimal solution to problems with your indoor air quality. Should you notice an increase in asthma- and allergy-like symptoms in your home, call for air quality experts to examine your ducts and determine if you will benefit from the sterilizing power of UV lamps. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has experts ready to assist you with finding the best solutions for cleaning your home’s air. Call us today to schedule your next service appointment.

How Can I Save Money on Air Conditioning?

July 10th, 2014

Running your air conditioning in Baldwin, PA can get expensive, but this summer you may be able to cut costs significantly with a few energy saving tips and by considering investing in energy-efficient solutions for your home.

To start saving money on air conditioning today, try some of the following tips:

  • Set a programmable thermostat: There’s no point in running the AC at full blast when no one is home. Today’s digital thermostats have many features to help you increase efficiency. If you enjoy coming home to a cool house, set the thermostat to come on thirty minutes before you arrive. You can also set your thermostat to automatically switch to lower and higher temperatures at warmer and cooler times of the day.
  • Clean or replace air filters: By inhibiting proper airflow and forcing your AC system to work harder than it needs to, dirty air filters not only reduce indoor air quality, but also energy efficiency. Replacing filters on a regular basis or washing reusable ones can help you save every month.
  • Turn on fans: Ceiling and room fans help circulate the air, distributing it evenly throughout your home. Your skin tends to feel cooler with moving air, so you’ll likely be able to lower the temperature and save energy. Open all bedroom doors for increased circulation, and open windows at night to cut down on cooling costs.
  • Regular maintenance: If you schedule regular maintenance by an HVAC professional, your system is far more likely to remain energy efficient than without it. During a maintenance visit, a technician checks for any issues that may inhibit efficiency, cleans AC components, and adjusts refrigerant levels. Air conditioners that are regularly maintained are less likely to need unexpected repairs.
  • Invest in energy-saving solutions: If you have an older system, you may consider buying a new energy-efficient AC unit. This isn’t always necessary though; you can also have a professional add insulation to the outside of ducts to prevent the loss of cool air that often escapes through the ductwork of your home and costs you money.

For energy-saving solutions for your air conditioning in Baldwin, PA, call the AC experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We offer quality air conditioning services from installation and replacement to repair and maintenance.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the signing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th—although many years later.

Our family at Boehmer Heating & Cooling hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

How Air Purifiers Give You Better Indoor Air Quality

June 27th, 2014

When it comes to improving the quality of a home’s indoor air, you have numerous options available: filters, cleaners, UV lights, humidifiers, and repair and cleaning services for your ductwork. One of the most effective ways to cleanse your air and eliminate the majority of pollutants that can lead to health issues is through an electronic air purifier. Working in conjunction with a HEPA filter, an air purifier can reduce the contamination in your indoor air to almost nothing.

Installing an air purifier in Baldwin, PA requires professionals to find the right model and size for you and fit it into your HVAC system correctly. You’ll find this kind of qualified work at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. Call us today to learn more about the choices you have for improving your indoor air quality.

How Air Purifiers Work

The standard HEPA mechanical filter removes 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size, and many ones smaller than that. However, they are not effective against odor molecules or gases—and this is where and electronic air purifier comes in.

An air purifier is not a filter at all. It instead sits in a section of an HVAC system where all outgoing air must pass and creates what is known as a corona discharge in the air. This electric discharge ionizes the air particles: it changes molecules with a positive charge to a negative charge, and those with a negative charge to a positive charge. Large particles—most types of contamination—attract electrons easier, and are therefore more likely to ionize.

The purifier then attracts the ionized particles toward two sets of plates. The negatively charged plate attracts positive ions, and the positively charged plate attracts negative ions. As the contaminants draw toward the plates, they collect together and grow heavier, dropping out of the air.

This method of ionization affects the same particles that a HEPA filter traps, but it also affects gases and odors. Air purifiers will eliminate chemicals, pesticides, carbon monoxide, and most odors from the air, all of which would escape even the best mechanical filters. Purifiers need an electrical connection to work, but only require a minimal amount of energy; you’ll save money in so many other ways that the cost to run the purifier will seem completely unimportant.

Air purifiers come in different sizes and types, and not all will work well for your home or HVAC system. Contact Boehmer Heating & Cooling and speak to our air quality experts, and they will help you locate the right air purifier in Baldwin, PA to give you the cleanest, pollution-free air possible. You can also count on us for the maintenance necessary to keep your purifier working year after year.

3 Reasons to Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance Now

June 20th, 2014

Our Pittsburgh temperatures are starting to climb, so we know a lot of our customers are beginning to use their air conditioners more and more. Generally, doing maintenance on your AC before summer is optimal, but the truth is, if you haven’t had your AC inspected for a while, any time is a good time for maintenance. Why schedule your air conditioning maintenance in Pittsburgh, PA with Boehmer Heating & Cooling now? We’ll give you 3 reasons why now is a good time for your AC to get a tune-up:

Reason #1: Prevent Repairs

During a routine maintenance appointment, your technician will thoroughly inspect your air conditioner, clean parts like the coils and air filters, and adjust and/or repair things as needed. Items like worn fan belts, loose screws, potential electrical issues and possible refrigerant leaks are checked and fixed, if found to be faulty, helping to stave off larger repairs that can come about as a result of smaller items being left unattended. Simply put, routine maintenance helps put you ahead of the curve of potential repairs, which can save you both money and time.

Reason #2: Energy Efficiency

As the summer heats up, so does the use of your AC, and an air conditioner that hasn’t been maintained will most likely cost you more money than one that has. Why? An air conditioner that has been adjusted, lubricated and repaired as needed will run optimally; one that hasn’t won’t. Regular maintenance is a great way to help keep those summer utility bills from climbing up with the rising temperatures.

Reason #3: Indoor Air Quality

Your air conditioner takes in a lot of dirt, dust, and other airborne particles; these particles enter your system and infiltrate the air that is blown back in, compromising your indoor air quality. Cleaning is one of the main aspects of routine maintenance, including parts and filters; in addition, an AC that runs well means your comfort won’t be compromised due to a stressed or malfunctioning system.

Have a Great Summer by Scheduling AC Maintenance Now

Our temperatures are only starting to climb – is your air conditioner ready for real summer heat? The best way to find out is by scheduling a maintenance appointment.

Since 1933, Boehmer Heating & Cooling has been helping customers in Pittsburgh with their air conditioning maintenance. Don’t run the risk of having your air conditioner stop working on the hottest day of the year – call Boehmer Heating & Cooling and schedule your maintenance today!

Air Conditioning Repair Tip: Hissing Sounds

June 13th, 2014

Strange sounds coming from an air conditioner are usually warnings that the system needs to have professionals look into it to see if there are repair needs that must be taken care of soon. Some of the more prominent warning noises are grinding and groaning mechanical sounds, screeching, slapping and clanging, and rapid clicking.

A less obvious noise, but one that is still a cause for great concern, is a hissing that sounds like escaping steam or gas. When you hear this noise from your AC, do not wait: call for air conditioning repair in Pittsburgh, PA right away. Boehmer Heating & Cooling is on call 24 hours a day to service your AC with the necessary help to get it working again and out of danger of a major breakdown.

What That Hissing Sound Means and Why It’s Serious

The hissing sound coming from an air conditioner is the high-pressure refrigerant escaping from a leak along the lines, in the coils, or from the compressor. The refrigerant inside your AC is at a set level, known as its “charge,” that must remain the same for the air conditioner to work correctly. Refrigerant does not dissipate during normal operation, so losing charge isn’t a problem…unless a leak occurs.

When the refrigerant charge in an air conditioning system starts to drop, the AC will have a harder time absorbing sufficient heat along the indoor coil, and this will result in a drop in cooling power. As the evaporator coil struggles to absorb enough heat, the refrigerant will remain too low a temperature, and this will cause ice to start to form across the coil, which will further drop the heat absorption. Eventually, a solid block of ice will cover the coil and no heat exchange—and therefore no cooling—will take place.

The loss of refrigerant also means a change in pressure throughout the AC, and that can cause damage to the system. Most troubling of all is the damage that the low refrigerant can cause the compressor, which may eventually overheat without sufficient refrigerant. A burnt-out compressor usually means the whole air conditioner must be replaced.

How to Solve the Problem

The safest and surest way to deal with leaking refrigerant is to call for professionals. You will have a hard time finding the leak on your own, and even if you could seal it, you would not know how much refrigerant to recharge or even the right blend to use.

Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling when you have a hissing system that needs air conditioning repair in Pittsburgh, PA. We’ve delivered comfort since 1933.

How Do UV Germicidal Lights Work?

June 6th, 2014

Indoor air quality is a significant concern for any prudent homeowner, and if you have a recurring problem with dust or dirt in your home, you may want to add a filtration system to your air conditioning to help. UV lights, in particular, can be used to kill germs and bacteria, helping to keep members of your household comfortable and safe. They’re especially helpful if someone in your household suffers from allergies, if you have a new baby, or if there are elderly family members living in your home. Here in Baldwin, UV germicidal lights can be installed by a number of air conditioning services, but how do they work? We’ve provided a quick breakdown below.

UV stands for “ultraviolet,” a wavelength of light that lies outside of the range of human vision. We can’t see UV light, but it definitely puts the whammy on germs and bacteria. The UV wavelength deactivates their DNA, denying them the ability to replicate and spread. (More specifically, it damages the organism’s nucleic acid by forming new bonds in the DNA. Those bonds thus can’t be “unzipped” when the time comes for the organism to replicate, and it dies.)

The light is simply a lamp, containing mercury vapor tubes that produce the right wavelength of UV light. When you connect the light to your heating or air conditioning system, it’s able to cycle through most of the air in your house. As air passes through the system, it also passes through the light, which kills the germs before the air blows back into your house via a fan. As a result, your indoor air quality goes up and the preponderance of disease-causing germs goes down.

It’s an elegantly simple system and if you have concerns about germs or bacteria in your home, it could be a life saver. For more on how UV germicidal lights work or to schedule an installation, talk to the experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling for help. Installing and servicing UV germicidal lights and other indoor air quality services in Baldwin are a regular part of our operations, and we can install an appropriate array in your HVAC system with little difficulty. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

What Are the Benefits of a Whole-House Humidifier?

May 30th, 2014

When people think of discomfort, “humidity” is one of the words that often springs to mind. A humid climate means your body feels hotter because sweat cannot evaporate rapidly enough to cool you off. However, low humidity is also a problem. Although a dry heat feels more comfortable, it can also cause serious troubles in your home and the health of everyone in it. If these dry conditions remain until winter, they will make the cold feel worse since the aridity will draw heat right from your body along with the moisture.

Although there are some basic ways to raise the humidity of your home if it is too dry, such as hanging wet towels over open windows and boiling water in the kitchen, the best way to achieve continued balanced humidity is with a whole-house humidifier installed into your HVAC system. A small, portable humidifier may work for one room (such as a baby’s bedroom), but isn’t an effective solution for a house that is suffering from low moisture throughout. To have installation of a humidifier in Whitehall, PA, contact the indoor air quality professionals at Boehmer Heating & Cooling today. We can find the ideal size and type of humidifier to protect you and your home all year.

Advantages of a Whole-House Humidifier

  • Comfort: Air that becomes too dry will make you feel colder than the temperature around you because it will absorb the heat from your body. Although you may welcome this during hot weather, once the temperature drops, the chill of the dry air will make life feel unpleasant, and you’ll consequently need to run the heater to compensate. A humidifier can solve this discomfort and save you money on your heating bills. Balanced humidity will also remove much of the annoyance of static electricity.
  • Better health: High moisture aids the growth of toxic molds and spores, but low moisture brings its own set of issues. Dry conditions are ideal for the survival of disease-causing bacteria, and flus and the common cold spread easier in regions of low humidity. This dryness is also terrible for skin and lips, leading to flaking, peeling, and even cracking, and also promotes sinus troubles and sleeping difficulty (this is one of the reasons humidifiers are popular for helping babies sleep). Installing a whole-house humidifier will combat these health problems.
  • Protect your belongings: Dry conditions lead to damage to furnishings. Low humidity will cause wood to start to split, and this can wreck valuable furniture and lead to wood warping. Precision devices, such as musical instruments like woodwinds, guitars, and pianos, are especially susceptible to damage from low humidity. Other items in your home in danger are caulking and glue that help keep the heat seals around your windows and doors. With a humidifier, you’ll have a home safe from the damages of aridity.

Let our professionals at Boehmer Heating & Cooling analyze your home’s humidity levels to determine what sort of indoor air quality option in Whitehall, PA will best help you. Once they’ve determined the system and size necessary, they’ll install it so you can enjoy many years of improved health, higher comfort, and a well-maintained home. Give us a call today.

What You Need to Know about the Freon Phase Out

May 23rd, 2014

Freon is a form of refrigerant gas, used in air conditioners for many years to help cool the air of your home. This can have an impact on your existing system, especially if you have an older system that still uses Freon as its primary form of coolant. Repair services that handle air conditioning in Brentwood can fill you in on most of the details, but with the Freon phase out well underway, we thought it would be a good idea to fill our customers in on the basics. Here’s what you need to know about the Freon phase out.

The phase out was actually kicked off in 1987, when the Montreal Protocol established a timetable for the gradual elimination of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage the planet’s ozone layer. A big part of that was the Freon-based refrigerant gas R-22, which had been in regular use almost since the invention of air conditioning systems over 40 years ago. But R-22 is damaging to the environment, which means that it has gradually been eliminated in new types of air conditioner in favor of several acceptable substitutes (including Puron, Forane, and GENETRON AZ-20.) However, units that were running on R-22 when the protocol was initiated could continue to do so until they finally broke down and could be replaced by more recent versions.

We’re currently in the midst of the timetable by which we are supposed to lower the use of R-22. By January 1, 2015, the U.S. needs to have reduced its use of CFC by 90%, and by 2020, that number needs to be at 99.5%. What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re using an older system that still relies on R-22, now is the best time to consider replacing it with a new one. By definition, it must be very old and with the looming deadlines, air conditioning companies are motivated to install a brand new unit in your home. The experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling can tell you what you need to know about the Freon phase out, and install an updated air conditioning system in Brentwood.

Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!