Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for February, 2015

How to Tell If Your Heat Pump Is Low on Refrigerant

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Refrigerant is the lifeblood of any heat pump system. A heat pump moves heat from one place to another by evaporating and condensing refrigerant to capture and release heat in different areas, depending on the mode it’s using. Without sufficient refrigerant, a heat pump would lose the ability to actually operate as a heating or cooling system. Refrigerant is not consumed during normal heat pump operation, which means if your heat pump is low on refrigerant it was either not charged properly on installation or it has a leak in the system. How can you tell if your heat pump is low on refrigerant? Read on to find out.

Low Output

Heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling functions, which they accomplish by simply reversing the flow of refrigerant through the system. Therefore, if your heat pump begins to experience a drop in heating or cooling output, you may have a problem with your refrigerant level. This is often the first sign of a refrigerant leak, so be sure not to ignore it if it happens.

Gurgling Sounds

You should always pay attention to any unusual noises that your heat pump is making, but gurgling sounds in particular are an indication that you have a refrigerant leak. As the refrigerant leaks out of the system, more and more air gets into the line. The air bubbles in the refrigerant line are what make the gurgling sounds, like the last few drops of a drink traveling through a straw. This is an almost certain indication that not only do you have a refrigerant leak, but that it has progressed pretty far already.

Pooling Liquid

You should conduct a visual inspection on your heat pump every once in a while, paying special attention to the area around the unit. If you notice any liquid dripping or pooling around the heat pump, you may well have a refrigerant leak.

If you suspect that your heat pump has a refrigerant leak, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We provide quality heat pumps and services throughout the Brentwood area.

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Potential Problems with a Boiler’s Circulator Pumps

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Boilers can heat homes in two ways: with the steam created from the hot water or with the hot water itself. Steam flows on its own through your system’s piping because it is under significant pressure, but hot water systems need a little help pushing the hot water through the piping; this is where circulator pumps come in. As you can probably imagine, problems with a circulator pump or pumps means that the hot water needed to heat your home; should this happen, you’ll need to call for heating repair in Pittsburgh, and you’ll want to call professionals you can count on. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has been helping customers in the Pittsburgh area with heating since 1933, and we bring this experience to every job we do, so call us today!

Types of Circulator Pump Problems

There are a few kinds of problems that can develop with circulator pumps, such as:

  • Leaking – when leaks develop with a circulator pump, they typically develop at the joints where the pump meets the pipe into which it is soldered. The reason leaks are likely to occur here are that the pump has rubber phalanges that act as seals at these joints, but these seals can sometimes dry and crack, which causes leaking.
  • Electrical issues – circulator pumps need a small amount of electricity to turn the wheel inside the pump, known as an impeller. A relay switch is responsible for delivering this electricity, and if the switch becomes faulty, the electricity won’t be delivered as needed.
  • Broken impeller – as mentioned above, the small wheel inside the pump is the impeller, and its job is to push the water forward. Impellers look like miniature water wheels, complete with small blades that help push the water forward. Impellers can crack, which hamper their ability to push the water forward as needed, and the result is usually low heat.

Circulator pumps are critical to the proper operation of your heating system, and as such, should only be repaired by a trained professional. If you are in need of heating repair in Pittsburgh, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment.

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Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Boehmer Heating & Cooling hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

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Is a HEPA Filter Right for My Home?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

For people with allergies, it can sometimes feel as if the very air is out to get them. The air inside the average home is full of all sorts of lung irritants, most of which are too small to even see. Dust mites, pollen, insect and pet dander are just a few of the common airborne pollutants capable of making an allergy sufferer’s life miserable. Though the situation may seem hopeless, there are actually a number of solutions available to improve the air quality in your home. One of those solutions is a HEPA filter. Let’s take a look at what a HEPA filter is, and whether you should consider installing one in your home.

What is a HEPA Filter?

HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air.” It is a classification of air filters that are capable of capturing all airborne particles that are .3 microns or larger. For a point of reference, a micron is one millionth of a meter. HEPA filters are comprised of fibers woven so tightly that they are capable of capturing individual viruses and bacteria. Most HEPA filters also include a fan to help move air through the filter.

When Should I Consider a HEPA Filter?

HEPA filters are pretty heavy duty. They are often used in environments that must be kept as sterile as possible, like hospitals and server rooms. That doesn’t mean that they’re overkill for your house, though. Quite a few people make use of HEPA filters to help improve their quality of life. The most common reason for a homeowner to use a HEPA filter is due to severe allergies. Most allergens are simply too small to be taken care of by frequent dusting or vacuuming. They can always find their way back into the air, and from there into your lungs. A HEPA filter is a pretty surefire way to keep your air clear of even the smallest allergens, especially if you install a whole-house model.

If you are interested in installing a HEPA filter in your home, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling to schedule an appointment with us. We provide professional air cleaner services in the Baldwin area.

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