Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Brentwood’

Picking Out the Most Efficient HVAC System

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

money-saving-home-performanceEfficiency is more than just a buzzword. When your heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are efficient, you know that they use a minimal amount of fuel or electricity, and you save more money in the long run. An efficient furnace or air conditioning system often costs more than one that is closer to the minimum federal rating, but that pays off in the long run.

What you save often offsets the cost of a brand-new highly efficient air conditioning or heating system, and financing may be available from your local contractor. That’s why it’s so important to work with the pros, but we have some advice to get you started with picking out the most efficient system for your needs.

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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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How a Furnace Limit Switch Helps Keep Your Home Safe

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Through urban legend and other unreliable means, furnaces have garnered a level of concern around their ability to be safe. While safety should always be taken with any type of combustion system, today’s heating systems are equipped with a number of safety mechanisms and devices, many which are redundant, that ensure your personalized safety. If you have a furnace, one of these safety mechanisms is a component known as the limit switch.

What Is a Limit Switch?

The limit switch is part of your blower assembly and helps with the operation of the blower while also keeping your system safe from overheating. In regard to blower operation, the limit switch is the device that doesn’t allow your blower to start pushing air through your ductwork until the generated heat has reached the correct temperature; this keeps your furnace’s fan from blowing chilly air into your home. The second job of the limit switch has to do with your safety. This is because the limit switch is also equipped to sense when the air around the heat exchanger becomes too hot, and if the switch senses this, it can instantly kill the burner and extinguish all combustion.

Common Problems with the Limit Switch

Should your limit switch malfunction, you may see the following:

  • Constant running of the blower
  • Blower won’t turn on
  • Burner won’t stay lit

Operating your furnace, or attempting to operate the furnace, with a safety mechanism malfunctioning is not advisable as your safety and the safe operation of your system may be at risk. It is also not advisable to try and repair the problem yourself; instead, call an expert for assistance.

If you have questions about the safety mechanisms on your furnace in your Brentwood home, or are experiencing heating issues with your furnace, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We offer professional furnace services in the Brentwood area.

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What Can Happen if Your Heat Pump Loses Refrigerant

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The heat pump is one of the most efficient types of home comfort systems available for both heating and cooling. More and more, people are making the switch to heat pumps since they require little energy to run and may last longer than many other types of AC systems. However, like any type of electro-mechanical unit, a heat pump requires maintenance in order to run properly and offer the best performance. And one of the key steps of heat pump maintenance involves checking the refrigerant levels.

The term “heat pump” is a bit confusing as it leads many people to believe these are mostly used for heating purposes. However, the design of a heat pump is much closer to that of a standard home air conditioner. Heat pumps use refrigerant to cycle throughout the major components of the system in order to carry out heat exchange. In the summer, a heat pump uses refrigerant to absorb heat from the air in your home and move it outdoors. In the winter, it uses refrigerant to absorb heat form outside, even in very cool weather, to bring into the home.

As you can see, refrigerant, a chemical blend with the ability to convert easily from gas to liquid state and vice versa, is vital in heat pump operation. When refrigerant leaks, you simply cannot get the heating and cooling power that you need as the heat exchange process is jeopardized. But sometimes, the diminishing heating or cooling power is still tolerable, which leads many to believe they can continue to run their system on low refrigerant.

However, you should keep in mind that this is simply not an option. If you continue to run your heat pump at all with leaking refrigerant, you can damage a couple of key components. For one, you may force the indoor coil to freeze over during the evaporation process. But more importantly, you could damage the compressor, one of the most important (and costly) parts of your whole unit.

Only a trained and certified professional can work with refrigerant safely. Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling whenever you experience problems with your heat pump in Brentwood. We know how risky it is to wait for repairs so we’ll get the job done quickly and professionally.

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3 Common Heat Pump Repairs

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Heat pumps are quickly rising in popularity among homeowners looking to replace their heating and cooling systems. This is because these units are extremely efficient, with very high SEERs (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios) so that you are likely to save a lot of money every month in the summer and a high HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) for heating efficiency as well. Heat pumps are efficient because they only move heat back and forth instead of generating it. And heat pumps are very durable, with a lifespan of over 15 years in many cases.

However, even the sturdiest heat pump may eventually run into the need for repairs. You can prevent repairs by calling a technician for maintenance every heating and cooling season. But when you need reliable heating repair in Brentwood, trust the exceptional technicians at Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Heat Pump Repair Needs

Here are a few of the most common reasons homeowners call us for heat pump repair.

  • Not Enough Heat: If you feel little or no heat from your heat pump, you should call a professional right away, before the issue becomes worse. For example, if the reason for reduced heating is leaking refrigerant, it will only continue to leak, which means you may feel no heating at all, and it can cause irreversible damage to the compressor. There may be other problems with the heat pump components, or your heat pump may struggle when the weather outdoors becomes too cold. In this case, a technician may recommend a backup heating source.
  • Strange Noises: One other reason you may call a technician for heating repair is if you hear unusual noises from your heat pump. A banging noise could mean anything from a broken fan to a failing compressor. A hissing noises may indicate refrigerant leaks or duct leaks. It’s best to let a technician diagnose the problem before assuming the worst.
  • Unit Doesn’t Switch into Heating Mode: Heat pumps are basically air conditioners except for one key component, the reversing valve. This part allows refrigerant to switch directions so that it can heat your home. If your unit will not switch into heating mode, it could be a thermostat issue, or you may need to replace this part.

For expert heating repair in Brentwood, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today to schedule an appointment!

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Signs That It’s Time for Boiler Replacement

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Boilers can be remarkably sturdy machines. Some well-maintained iron boilers have lasted over a century, and still see use in homes today. Despite their hardy natures, however, even boilers have a limit to their longevity. When that limit is reached, it pays to recognize the signs so that you can replace your boiler before it fails.

Rising Maintenance and Repair Costs

The easiest way to tell if your boiler is reaching the end of its life is by monitoring the cost of maintenance and repairs. If the cost of simple maintenance is significantly higher this year than it was the year before that, and the year before that, your boiler may be reaching the end of its life. The simple fact of the matter is that wear and tear is inevitable. No matter how well you maintain your boiler system, the years and decades of use will eventually cause parts to fail. This will happen more and more often, causing an increase in repair costs. Which brings us to our next point.

Frequency of Repairs

If you find yourself calling for boiler repair more and more frequently, especially within a relatively short period of time, you may need to replace your boiler. As mentioned above, wear and tear will become more and more pronounced on a system as it gets older. Since different parts tend to experience different levels of stress during normal operation, this can cause a waterfall effect. You may have just finished getting one part replaced when another one fails, and you have to start the whole process over again. This isn’t just annoying, it’s expensive. If it starts to seem like your boiler is in a constant state of disrepair, it’s time to replace it.

Heating Efficiency

If you begin to experience cold spots or other signs of uneven heating, it’s a good sign of problems with your boiler. One or two occurrences isn’t necessarily a sign of a deteriorating boiler. When the noticeable decrease in heating becomes constant, however, that is a reliable indication of a failing boiler.

If you think you may need to replace your boiler, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We offer quality heating replacement throughout the Brentwood area.

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How Technicians Determine the Size of Your New AC

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

In order for an air conditioner to work well for a home, it must be properly sized for the home. The installers need to determine how large a cooling load a new air conditioning system must produce in order to keep the home at the temperature that the homeowner wants for comfort.

Sizing is a complicated process. It’s easy for an amateur to assume that the more powerful an AC, the better it will cool a house. However, an oversized air conditioner can be a major a problem as an undersized one: it will lower the temperature so rapidly that it will shut off the cooling cycle before completing it, only to turn back on a short time later, and continue to repeat the process. This is called “short-cycling,” and it leads to wasted energy and a shortened lifespan for the system.

For your air conditioning installation in Brentwood, PA, call on Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We’ve helped keep homes comfortable in the Greater Pittsburgh Area since 1933.

How Sizing is Done for an AC

The way that technicians find out the cooling load (in tons) an air conditioner needs to supply to both keep a house cool and not to short-cycle, they perform a heat load calculation. This complex calculation collects data about the house to determine how well it traps heat and keeps heat outside. The more heat that stays inside a home, the more powerful an AC is needed to combat it.

The basic part of the heat load calculation is the volume of the house; square footage along is enough to determine how much space the AC must cool down. The technicians then analyze other parts of the home to see where heat is entering and where it is being generated.

Heat can enter a home through poor insulation, especially in the attic, so the technicians look over the insulation in the walls and ceilings. They also factor in the number of windows and the directions they face to see where radiant heat is entering the house.

Technicians look over the number of heat generating appliances in the house and how often they run: washing machine, laundry machine, oven, entertainment center, lights, etc. The number of people regularly in the home also affects how much heat is inside it.

Once the technicians have gathered all the pertinent data (and there’s even more than we’ve listed here), they can plug it into the calculation and return with the amount of cooling load necessary to keep the home comfortable.

The heat load calculation is one of the many reasons to rely on professionals for your air conditioning installation in Brentwood, PA. The only way to receive the right AC working at its best is to leave the job to the experts. Call on the experienced team at Boehmer Heating & Cooling the next time you need a new AC sized and installed.

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What Does the SEER Number Mean for My Air Conditioner?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Just as a car has the miles per gallon rating (mpg) to assess how well it uses its energy source (gasoline, in this case), so, too, does an air conditioning system. This rating is called SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and it tells you how efficient a specific air conditioning system in Brentwood will be. Understanding what SEER means for your air conditioner is important when installing a new or replacement AC, so our Boehmer Heating & Cooling technicians have taken some time to explain this below.

What Is SEER?

As mentioned above, SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and it is a number placed on all air conditioning systems. SEER is rated on a scale of 1 to 23; energy efficiency improves with each higher point.

Today’s air conditioners have to be manufactured with a minimum SEER of 13, a law that went into effect in 2006; prior to this the minimum required SEER was 10.

What Is the Importance of SEER?

SEER isn’t just a number; it tells you how much energy your air conditioner will use to cool your home. According to Energystar.gov, each point higher on the SEER scale equates to an approximate savings of 10% on your annual air conditioning costs. As an example, let’s say an AC with a SEER of 16 will cost you $300 for the year; the same model with a SEER of 21 would cost you $150. By comparing SEER numbers, you can estimate the annual cost of your air conditioning and how much you can potentially save with each SEER number.

How Is SEER Calculated?

SEER is calculated by measuring the amount of cool air an air conditioner expels for every unit of energy it consumes to do so.

Benefits of an Energy Efficient AC

The clear benefit of an energy efficient air conditioner is the savings you can achieve in monthly utility bills. If you have seen your energy bills rise due to an aging or seriously malfunctioning system, it may be time to think about replacement.

The second benefit of purchasing an energy efficient system is the benefit to the environment. Less energy means a smaller carbon footprint and less greenhouse gases for the planet.

Have questions about what SEER means to you? Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

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Principles Behind UV Germicidal Lights

Tuesday, 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.

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What You Need to Know about the Freon Phase Out

Friday, 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!

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