3 Common Geothermal Repairs

August 15th, 2014

One of the major advantages of having a geothermal system to provide your home with heating and cooling is that it will last for many decades; the ground loops will often endure for more than 50 years. Geothermal heat pumps require fewer repairs than most other home comfort systems, but they will still need occasional professional attention, as well as annual maintenance.

If you detect problems with your geothermal heat pump—such as a drop in cooling or heating power, strange noises from the indoor cabinet, or indications of leaking from the ground loops—call for repairs immediately from technicians experienced with geothermal work. At Clean Air Act, we provide air conditioning repairs in Portland, OR that can take care of your geothermal system, no matter what is wrong with it.

Some of the More Common Geothermal Heat Pump Repairs

  • Acid flushing the ground loops: Geothermal heat pumps can work in closed-loop configurations, where the same refrigerant circulates through the loops; or in open-loop configurations, which connect to the water line that brings in fresh water. An open-loop configuration can develop an accumulation of deposits that will increase water pressure and even block the loops. Technicians can use an acid-flush to eliminate the obstructing build-up in the loops.
  • Sealing ground loop leaks: The plastic ground loops are designed for decades of service, but they can still suffer from leaking at times. Fortunately, sealing a leak will only require targeted digging that can be done quickly and with little interruption to your life. The technicians will first place a colored dye into the refrigerant, and then locate where the dye color reaches the surface of your property. This will identify where they need to dig to seal the leaks.
  • Standard heat pump repairs: Geothermal systems are heat pumps that use the earth for an exchange medium, and therefore they can require the standard repairs for the indoor cabinet that other heat pumps encounter: burnt-out motors, failed capacitors, stuck reversing valves, iced-over coils, damaged fan blades, etc. These repairs are no more difficult for a geothermal heat pump than they are for a standard heat pump.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems are more extensive than standard air-source heat pumps, so they need to have experts familiar with their layouts perform any necessary repairs. You can’t simply turn to any HVAC company that handles heating and air conditioning repairs to handle the work. Look to a company like Clean Air Act. We have more than a decade of experience working on geothermal systems in Portland, OR. Along with repairs, we also do installation and maintenance work.

How Can a Bad Capacitor Affect Your AC?

August 8th, 2014

Essential components of your air conditioning system (and most electro-mechanical machines) are the capacitors. A capacitor is used to store energy in an electrostatic field. Attached to motors, capacitors perform the job of stabilizing voltage and providing the necessary jolt to start the motor in the first place. In an air conditioner, capacitors are connected to the three main motors: the compressor motor, the blower motor, and the outdoor fan motor. Each of these has a separate capacitor to start it up (the start capacitor) and to keep it running (the run capacitor).

Failing capacitors are one of the common reasons for malfunctions in an AC. Thankfully, if you catch capacitor problems in time, repair technicians and easily swap them out for new ones without any serious effect to the AC. However, if bad capacitors are ignored, you may end up with a non-functioning air conditioning system right when you need one the most.

For urgent air conditioning repairs in Beaverton, OR, call the experienced professionals at Clean Air Act. We have 24-hour emergency service for your convenience.

Troubles from bad capacitors

The most common problem that bad capacitors can cause is “hard starting.” This is when the compressor of an AC has difficulty starting up, stutters trying to turn on, and then shuts off a short while later. There are a number of different causes for hard starting (the worst of which is a compressor approaching the end of its life), but a bad start capacitor is one of the most common. It is not always easy to diagnose that a start capacitor is the problem. A technician will examine the capacitor to see if there is visible damage to it (splitting, bulging, leaking oil) and run electrical tests to make certain.

A motor connected to a run and start capacitor may still attempt to start if one or both of the capacitors has failed, and this will result in a motor that hums and will not remain running for long. If this continues, the motor will begin to grow hot and will eventually burn out, requiring that the entire motor be replaced. If you encounter this humming sound or motors that will not stay on, stop trying to use the air conditioner and call for repairs right away.

Before a capacitor fails, it may start begin to make a clicking noise. This will help alert you to the problem before either the compressor or the fans cease working.

In most cases of capacitor problems, such as damage or a loss of charge, the capacitor will need to be replaced. Leave this in the hands of professionals, who will find the right replacement unit and will handle removing the old one safely. (Oil leaking from a capacitor can be dangerous to touch.)

Call Clean Air Act for air conditioning repair service in Beaverton, OR that will take care of failed capacitors or any other problem that can endanger the cooling in your home.

Sounds That Can Indicate the Need for Repair for Your AC

July 31st, 2014

Just as people sneeze when suffering from allergies or a cold, your air conditioner will also display some common sounds when it doesn’t feel well. However, deciphering what is and isn’t a “bad” sound can be hard for the untrained ear, especially when it comes to identifying the need for air conditioning repairs.

To help you identify sounds that can indicate a developing problem, our Clean Air Act technicians have put together a list of some of the most common “problematic” sounds:

Hissing

Hissing can indicate a couple of serious things: the first is a refrigerant leak, and the second is an issue with your compressor. Refrigerant leaks can hiss because at certain parts during the cooling cycle, the refrigerant is under high pressure (you may also hear a bubbling sound with the hissing sound). If the hissing sound is coming from the compressor, you may have a leaky valve or the compressor itself may be malfunctioning. Both of these types of problems require timely professional repair.

Banging/Clunking

If your AC makes a sound or sounds akin to sneakers in a dryer, there is a very good chance something has come loose and is banging around your system. Typical components that do this are bent/loose fan blades and loose motor mounts. Having components bump around your system is never a good thing as they can cause damage, so once you hear that noise, call an expert.

Screeching

This is a very serious sound; if you hear it coming from your air conditioner, turn it off immediately and call your technician. Screeching sounds can indicate that the pressure inside your compressor is too high; a compressor under too much pressure can blow. Repairing compressors is not a DIY kind of job, especially when one is screeching. Instead, call a professional right away.

Making strange sounds is just one of the ways your air conditioner can tell you when something is wrong, so don’t ignore them. Most air conditioning problems do not repair themselves on their own, and the longer you let them go, the worse the problems can get. If you are hearing abnormal sounds coming from your air conditioner, call Clean Air Act now and let our trained experts help you with your air conditioning repair in Portland.

3 Problems That Can Happen with Geothermal System

July 23rd, 2014

When it comes to reliable heating and cooling for a house, geothermal heat pumps offer one of the best options available today. Using the stable heat of the earth as a medium for exchange, a geothermal heat pump can provide heating and air conditioning that is far more efficient than that of an air-source heat pump. No matter the temperature outside, you can turn on your geothermal system and receive the comfort you need.

Although geothermal systems have remarkable durability (the ground loops can last for more than 50 years), they can still sometimes run into problems. When any of these problems occur, you need to contact professionals in geothermal air conditioning repair in Portland, OR to handle the work. Clean Air Act can handle the geothermal services you need to restore your system whenever you encounter any of the problems below.

  • Leaky ground loops: This is thankfully uncommon, because the plastic loops that circulate the water through the system (or circulate a solution of water and anti-freeze) are made from strong materials and will not corrode like metal pipes. But leaking can still occur, and if you notice a loss of heating or cooling, leaks along the loops may be the issue. Repair technicians can track leaks by placing a dye into the system and then locating where on the surface the water is escaping. The technicians can then excavate a small area to reach the damaged loop and seal it.
  • Scale build-up in the loops: If you use an open-loop system that circulates water from the municipal system, the loops can begin to pick of mineral scale from impurities in the water supply. This scale can eventually cause the loops to develop clogging and high water pressure. Technicians will use an acid-flush to clean out the loops.
  • Standard heat pump problems: Keep in mind that for all its advantages, a geothermal system is still a heat pump similar in many ways to an air-source heat pump and can suffer from the same types of repair problems. The interior cabinet components could suffer from breakdowns due to wear and tear, such as broken blower motors, electrical connection failures, and frost appearing over the coils. Most of the time, the repairs that you will need for your geothermal systems won’t have anything to do with the buried loops, and your technician will be able to take care of the necessary work above-ground.

If you detect a drop in the heating or cooling reliability of your ground-source heat pump, call for professional repair work right away. Installing a geothermal system is not a DIY job, and neither are repairs for one.

Clean Air Act is available 24 hours a day with emergency heating and air conditioning repair in Portland, OR. We specialize in geothermal repairs and replacements, so make us your first choice when you need help with your ground-source heat pump.

How Compressor Problems Affect Your Whole Air Conditioner

July 18th, 2014

The outside unit of your air conditioner houses some very important components of your system. Your air conditioner cools your home by absorbing the heat from inside and releasing it outside. The compressor and the condenser coil in the outside unit of your AC are vital for releasing the heat outdoors. If the compressor runs into problems it can seriously affect your entire AC system, and you may need air conditioning repair immediately.

The compressor is a vital component of your air conditioning system. During the evaporation stage of the refrigeration cycle, the refrigerant becomes a low pressure gas and absorbs heat from the air in your home. As the refrigerant moves to your outside unit, the compressor changes this low-pressure gas into a high pressure gas, so it can move into the condenser, release heat, and cycle back through the system again.

If your compressor isn’t working properly, your air conditioner may lose some cooling power or your system may have trouble starting up. If your compressor fails entirely, however, you will get no cooling power at all, and you may need major repairs or replacement.

There are many signs your compressor may be struggling. If you hear grinding noises in your outdoor unit, it may mean that something has interfered with the compressor or the compressor motor, such as a buildup of dirt, or that these parts need lubrication. However, grinding can also be a sign of wear and tear that indicates a need for replacement. Another sign that your compressor needs repair is hard starting.

You can prevent premature failure of your compressor with regular maintenance by an AC technician. Regular maintenance can help prevent compressor issues because a technician will lubricate the motor and clean parts that can cause your compressor to become worn. If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, for example, your compressor may become damaged as it is designed to handle a certain refrigerant charge.

Compressor problems can be serious, but an AC technician may be able to repair the problem if found early. For air conditioning repair service in Beavercreek, OR, call Clean Air Act today

Why Is My Air Conditioner Making a Buzzing Noise?

July 8th, 2014

You’re used to the hum of your air conditioning welcoming you home on a warm summer day. But what happens when this familiar sound becomes overshadowed by something else? One common noise you may hear from your AC system is a loud buzzing sound coming from your outdoor unit. Don’t let this sound ruin your familiar summer soundtrack. If you hear any strange noises coming from your AC, turn off the unit and call a professional technician for air conditioning repair.

Here Are Some of the Reasons You May Hear a Buzzing Noise in Your AC Unit

Loose Parts

A buzzing sound may indicate loose or damaged parts within your system. Loose bearings, for example, may occasionally rub against one another. While this may not seem like a huge problem at first, it may cause other components of your system to suffer premature wear and leave you with a system that breaks down when you need it most.

Motor Issues

Your AC unit relies on motors to operate the compressor and the fans. If anything interferes with this motor, such as a bent blade, or a lack of lubrication, a buzzing noise may occur. A defective motor can eventually cause your fans to stop working, or it can lead to a faulty compressor that won’t properly cool your home. It’s imperative that motor issues are checked as soon as possible to avoid a malfunctioning system later on.

Other Electrical Problem

Buzzing may often indicate any number of electrical issues, such as a loose contactor for the capacitor in your system, which requires the expertise of a professional to diagnose. Never attempt to fix electrical components on your own; a technician is far more qualified to keep your home and air conditioning system safe during repairs.

That mysterious buzzing is never a friendly sound. When you encounter strange noises from your air conditioning unit in Portland, trust the professionals to locate the source of the problem and give you back that familiar AC hum. For air conditioning repair in Portland, call Clean Air Act today!

Leading the Way with Independence Days!

July 3rd, 2014

The term “Fourth of July” is the popular name for the U.S. federal holiday officially known as Independence Day. It isn’t surprising that we would come up with a different name from the official one, since “Independence Day” is one of the most common holiday names across the globe. Most of the nations in existence today won their independence from another power, whether through wars, treaties, or long transitions.

What might surprise many people is how old U.S. Independence Day actually is compared to the similar holidays of other nations. Although the U.S. is still considered a young nation, it was one of the first to make a full break for its colonial master with a new constitution. Most countries that celebrate a national Independence Day are commemorating events that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, when many older empires at last relinquished control over their colonies.

How substantial is the difference in time for the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? U.S. Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, making our country unusual in that almost no existing nations celebrate an independence event from the eighteenth century.

In terms of age, there is only a tiny handful current countries that celebrate an independence day that occurred earlier than the United States. Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans in 1291 with “Swiss National Day,” held every August 1—although this only gained status as a national holiday in 1994. Sweden Celebrates “National Day of Sweden” to commemorate events in 1523 and the election of King Gustav I during the War of Liberation against Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Romania comes almost a hundred years after U.S. Independence, with its 1877 freedom from Turkish rule.

The most recent Independence Days to come into existence are for Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and celebrates the day on May 21, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and celebrates the day only a day after the U.S., on July 5.

Does anyone else celebrate a literal “Fourth of July,” an Independence Day that also falls on the fourth day of the seventh month? Yes: Abkhazia, a small Central Asian country that declared its independence from the Republic of Georgia in 1999 (although not all countries recognize it). Coming a day (like South Sudan) on July 5 is the independence of the small Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde, which became free from Portugal through signed agreement in 1975.

Everyone at Clean Air Act hopes you and your family enjoy a vibrant Independence Day/Fourth of July this year!

How Do Technicians Detect AC Refrigerant Leaks?

June 27th, 2014

Your AC works much like a refrigerator; it moves heat from the inside of your home to the outside. Refrigerant is vital to this process. As it cycles through the AC system, it changes from a liquid to a gas and back again. This allows the refrigerant to absorb the heat in your home and release it outside so that indoor blowers can circulate cool air.

If your system has a refrigerant leak, it will not be able to complete this cycle, which may result in reduced cooling or no cooling at all. While this may initially cause only a little discomfort, the leak could force the evaporator coils to freeze, which may eventually cause system failure. It’s important to remember that only an AC technician is qualified to handle refrigerant and check for leaks, which are usually not visible to the human eye alone.

A technician may detect refrigerant leaks either during a scheduled maintenance call or when you call for air conditioning repair. You should call for repair as soon as you experience problems with your system. However, sometimes the leak is small enough that you don’t immediately notice the signs. This is why you should consider scheduling maintenance to check for common AC problems such as refrigerant leaks. We recommend scheduling maintenance once a year to decrease the chances of a serious leak that halts your AC system.

One sign of leaking refrigerant that your technician will look for is frozen evaporator coils. However, this symptom is not enough to determine the source of the leak. Refrigerant moves through your AC system rapidly via a looped tubing system with hundreds of connectors to help join the various twists and turns. Sometimes, refrigerant works its way slowly out of one of these joints. In many cases, leaks can only be located with a specific refrigerant detector that pinpoints the location of the leak.

Refrigerant leaks can be caught early with regular maintenance checks by a qualified technician. If you suspect a leak, don’t wait to call for repairs. When you run into problems and need reliable Portland air conditioning repair service, call Clean Air Act today!

Troubles with the Motors in Your Air Conditioning System

June 19th, 2014

Depending on your type of air conditioner, you will have at least one fan as part of your system. Each fan plays an important role, and if there is a malfunction or breakdown with the fan’s motor, your whole system can be affected. Motors are complex, so it is best to use a qualified technician from Clean Air Act, Inc. for your air conditioning repairs in Beavercreek, OR.

Why Use a Specialist?

The motors in your air conditioner need to operate at a certain capacity in order to do their job correctly. The motors have small, intricate parts, including a system of wires that make the motor run. In addition, the motor, like other parts of your air conditioner, is tied into your home’s electricity, so unless you have the training to both repair your motor and work with electricity, it’s better to use a trained professional for your fan motor repair.

What Can Go Wrong With The Motors?

Three separate motors can leave a lot of room for malfunction. Let’s start with the fan motors.

Fan Motors

The fans’ jobs in your air conditioner are to move air (air flow) and help with the heat release and cooling process in your system. When one of these fans malfunctions, it can affect the whole system.

Typical problems with fan motors include:

  • Wiring and other electrical issues
  • Burnout from stress
  • Breakage of the small components within the motor itself

Many times the fan motors can be repaired, but there is the possibility that the motor may need full replacement.

Compressor Motor

The compressor’s job is to take the cool refrigerant gas that enters from the evaporator and turn it into a hot, high-pressure gas that moves to the condenser. This is how your AC releases its heat.

Common problems that can occur with a compressor motor are:

  • Problems with pressurization due to issues within the compressor or from the intake valve
  • Electrical problems
  • Breakdown due to overheating
  • Issues with the run capacitor

The compressor is a complex component, and because it works under pressure, it is not a part that should be handled or repaired by an untrained person.

Motors Not Running? Give Us a Call

The best way to stay on top of potential motor repairs is to have bi-annual maintenance conducted on your air conditioning system. During regular maintenance appointments, your AC is thoroughly inspected and cleaned, including the components and wiring. If you suspect something may be off with one of your air conditioner’s motors, don’t ignore it – it could become a bigger issue than it has to be. Call Clean Air Act today and schedule air conditioning repair service in Beavercreek, OR.

Repairs That Will Make Your AC Run More Efficiently This Summer

June 12th, 2014

Repairs aren’t just for when there is a total breakdown with your system; you can actually make repairs that can help prevent bigger problems from developing. We have seen this happen over and over again at Clean Air Act: a small issue gets ignored until it becomes a big problem that usually costs a lot more to fix. You can avoid serious problems by scheduling your air conditioning repairs quickly.

Common Repairs That Can Make Your AC Run Better

These are some of the more common repairs we have done for our Portland customers that have helped increase their energy efficiency:

Leaky Ductwork

Leaky ductwork can be responsible for up to 30% of total air loss in your air conditioning system. Ducts leak air due to holes, cracks, or poor connections. By having your ductwork inspected once a year, you can keep on top of any leaks that may have developed, and save money and energy at the same time.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can start off quite small – so small that their presence can be hard to detect. The one thing you can count on when it comes to refrigerant leaks is that they will become worse, so even if you can’t detect it, your air conditioning technician can. Refrigerant leaks can lead to reduced cooling power, icing on the coils, and possible breakdown, so it’s best to take care of a refrigerant leak sooner rather than later.

Damaged/Broken Fans

There are two fans in your air conditioning system: the condenser fan and the indoor blower. These fans help with the heat release and cooling process, as well as to keep air moving through your system. Typical fan problems can include:

  • Motor issues
  • Electrical issues
  • Broken or bent fan blades
  • Worn or broken fan belts

When one of the fans malfunctions for any reason, the cooling process and air flow will most likely become compromised, leading to repairs that can be large. As such, having your fans repaired can help save you money and discomfort by attending to them quickly.

Be More Efficient by Scheduling Professional AC Repairs

Attending to air conditioning repairs quickly helps your air conditioner to run better; it also prevents small problems from turning into large ones. The longevity of your air conditioner is tied to how well it runs during regular use; an air conditioner in need of repair is not one that runs well, so premature wear-and-tear can set in. Call Clean Air Act today to schedule air conditioning repairs in Portland, OR and let us help your AC be more efficient.