How to Estimate Size for a Replacement Gas Furnace

April 9th, 2014

Gas furnaces are designed to be long-lasting and reliable, but sooner or later, they need to be replaced just like any other appliance. Furnace specialists can replace your old furnace with a new one, but before that happens, you need to determine the size and type of furnace for your home. The easy solution is to simply ask for a furnace the same size as your old one, but that may not be the best option.

Here’s how to estimate size for a replacement gas furnace in Oregon City:

Sizing matters because an improperly sized furnace can cost you a great deal. If it’s not powerful enough to heat your home… well… it won’t heat your home! If it’s too powerful, on the other hand, it will cycle on and off throughout the day, costing you a great deal of money in unnecessary wear and tear. Proper sizing is critical for maximum furnace efficiency.

Estimating that size is trickier than it seems. In the first place, you have to take the furnaces AFUE (annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating into account. The higher the rating, the more efficiently it will heat your home, and the smaller it will need to be. In most cases, your new furnace will have a higher AFUE rating than your old one, so you might not need to spend as much as you thought.

Other factors involved in calculation include your home’s exposure to sunlight (which can naturally warm you home if you have a lot of it) and the amount of insulation it has (which will help it better retain the heat generated by the furnace). And of course, you need to estimate the square footage of your home, which remains the primary factor in determining the proper size.

As you might imagine, the calculations to estimate size for a replacement gas furnace can get very complicated with all of those variables to consider. That’s why you need trained professionals like the ones at Clean Air Act to help. We handle furnace services in Oregon City and we can properly size your new furnace to ensure you get the most value for your money. Give us a call today to set up an appointment!

Furnace Repair Issues to Take Care of at the End of Heating Season

April 4th, 2014

With winter fading, your home’s furnace will see less use, and soon the air conditioner will start up to keep you cool for the middle of the year. However, in Oregon we can expect our heating systems to come back on a few days during the summer, so it’s wise to make sure that your furnace has all its necessary repair needs taken care of after the hard labor over winter.

The stress of heating season will take a toll on any furnace, no matter its age; if you notice anything about your furnace that seems amiss during the spring, call up professional technicians to look into the issue and see what they can do about it. For high quality furnace repair service in Portland, OR, rely on Clean Air Act and our around-the-clock, around-the-calendar services.

Here are some common problems that furnaces can encounter at the end of winter that need prompt repairs:

  • Dirty burner: The burner is where the natural gas coming from the municipal line is burned to change it into the high temperature combustion gas that heats the air. The burner can develop a layer of dirt and grime across it during the winter, and this will restrict the oxygen necessary for the burners to ignite. If the burner in your furnace struggles to come on, sometimes goes out, or you hear a booming noise from inside the cabinet when the burner tries to come on, you will need to call for service to remove the burner and clean it. (Do not attempt to remove it on your own; you should not tamper with anything connected to a natural gas line.)
  • Failed electronic igniter: Electronic igniters have started to replace standing pilot lights as the method to start burning the gas coming from the burner. These igniters work similar to light bulbs, with current running through them creating a hot surface. Igniters will not last as long as a furnace, and they can burn out during the winter because of repeated use. A repair technician can easily replace a failed igniter.
  • Bent fan blades: The blower in the air handler can suffer damage due to debris getting into the cabinet (something that can happen during winter), and this usually results in bent fan blades. Misaligned blades will strike against the air handler casing, causing further damage unless fixed. Technicians will use special tools to straighten the blades without accidentally bending them too far the other way.

As mentioned above, you do not want to tamper with any appliance connected to a gas line: that includes your whole gas-powered furnace. The potential for injury from carbon monoxide exposure or explosion is too great to risk. If you think your furnace need attention, call up trained professionals right away and do not take any more steps yourself.

Clean Air Act can solve the problems in your furnace quickly and with minimum disruption to your heating. Trust us for all your need for furnace repair in Portland, OR.

How to Keep Your Heating System Maintained During the Summer

March 28th, 2014

Although summers in Oregon can turn unpredictable, residents still will need to use their heater on only a few occasions. Otherwise, it’s air conditioner season, and people will spend little time thinking about their heating systems until fall starts.

However, your heater needs some care and maintenance during the summer season to make sure that it is in prime shape for the end of the year. If you leave it alone for the next few months, it could cost you in money and comfort the next time you need it for an extended period.

Here are some ways you can maintain your heating in Oregon City, OR during the coming summer. For whatever professional help you need, contact Clean Air Act today and talk to our heating specialists. If you require repairs for your heater or air conditioning, you can reach us 24 hours a day.

Ways to keep your heater in good shape during its summer vacation

  • Schedule a regular maintenance visit if you haven’t already: You should have your heater given a professional inspection and tune-up once a year, preferably in the fall before the cold weather starts. If you weren’t able to have a maintenance visit year, then it’s never too late to start. Before you shut it off for a long stretch, schedule a maintenance check-up that will see that it doesn’t have repair needs or serious cleaning and adjustment that should be done.
  • Take care of impending repairs: Has your heater recently indicated signs that something in it needs fixing? If so, don’t let it go during the summer and think about taking care of it in fall or winter, when the problem might turn into a breakdown. Use the summer months to call in a repair technician to take care of the trouble. After all, the best time to have a heater down for repairs is when you don’t actually need it to keep you warm.
  • Regularly change the air filter: If you use a forced-air system like a furnace or a heat pump, your air conditioner will use the same set of ducts and vents as your heater during the summer. That means it will also use the same filter on the return vent to prevent debris from entering the system. You need to keep this filter free from clogging, or else it will have a negative impact on both your AC and heater. Change the filter once a month during the summer when you are regularly using your air conditioner, and you’ll protect both systems.

Replace if necessary…

If you think your heater is coming to the end of its service (inflated bills this winter, too many repairs, etc.) then use the summer as a time to schedule new installation to replace it.

At Clean Air Act, we want your heater ready to go whenever the cold strikes. Call us for the assistance you may need to get the most from your heating in Oregon City, OR.

Energy Saving Options with Heating Systems

March 17th, 2014

There are many way to reduce your energy bills through more efficient heating. You can install a new thermostat with better control features, maintain lower temperatures and add an extra layer of clothing, have improved insulation placed in the attic, and schedule regular maintenance for your heating system to keep it running effectively.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the larger ways to save energy with heating system installation. Call Clean Air Act today to talk about all of these and more options for superior energy-saving heating in Portland, OR.

3 heating system options that can save energy

  1. High efficiency small ductwork systems: This upgrade in your ductwork goes a long way toward cutting down on the amount of heat lost through a standard ventilation system. The small ducts take up a third less space than standard ductwork (which means they’ll work for many homes that couldn’t fit ducts at all), and with 65% less surface area for the heated air to pass, there is far less heat loss on the way to the vents. They also have custom gasket connectors that reduce air leaking common in standard ductwork.
  2. High velocity heating systems: One of the problems of standard forced-air heaters like furnaces and heat pumps is that the heated air they send into rooms rises and gathers at the ceiling, taking longer to fill up the room with warmth and often leaving cold pockets. High efficiency systems send out the air at speeds around 2000 feet per second, which generates currents inside a room that eliminate cold pockets of air and distribute heat quickly. You will need to run your heating system far less with this sort of delivery system. (As a bonus, high velocity heating creates far less noise than standard forced-air systems.)
  3. Geothermal systems: If you want to take a big step toward energy savings and benefiting the environment, look into have a geothermal heat pump installed in your home and property. Geothermal heating is stable and reliable thanks to the consistent temperature of the earth where the coils run. They have very little energy loss, and even with the higher expense of installation, the savings from a geothermal system are so high that it will pay for itself in 5–10 years… and last another 30–40 years after that.

Find the right way to save money with your heating

Not all of the above options will work with every home. You will need HVAC specialists to assist you with finding the best way to bring energy-saving heating to you. Talk to our skilled technicians at Clean Air Act today to start on the road toward better heating in Portland, OR that will cut down on your energy bills.

Why Air Handler Installation Makes Sense

March 5th, 2014

The air handler is an essential component for any forced-air heating system. The blower fan in this unit does the job of distributing the air from the HVAC cabinet and sending it into the ductwork toward the vents, maintaining a continual airflow. In heat pumps and air conditioners, the air handler also contains the refrigerant coils necessary for conditioning the air. Without an air handler, the heated and cooled air you need for your comfort would never reach you.

Air handlers can be installed with a new HVAC system, or added later as a replacement for an older air handler. Contact Clean Air Act in Portland, OR for heating or HVAC installations that require expert work with an air handler.

It’s vitally important that you have professionals take care of air handler installation. Air handlers aren’t simply fans: they house powerful blower motors hooked to fans inside casings, and also include dampers and filters, and, if necessary, heating and cooling elements. An air handler must be properly sized to fit a specific furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner. If you update your current HVAC system, or if you get a new one, you will also need to have new air handler installation from a professional to make the two work together properly. Have technicians inspect your new HVAC system so they will know what kind of air handler you need.

Air handler installation requires specialized work. The flanges of the air handler’s cabinet must hook up to the ductwork system as well as the HVAC system cabinet, and then wired into the power system as well as the thermostat that controls the fan. (Thermostats have separate wires to control the fan and the heater/cooler.) For heat pumps and ACs, the air handler must also connect to the refrigerant line.

It’s possible for an air handler to break down before the HVAC system fails, in which case you can have a replacement put in instead of needing to replace your whole system. With professional assistance, you’ll find a new unit that works superior to your old one.

For excellent work with air handlers, look to Clean Air Act. We have over a decade of work with cooling and heating installation in Portland, OR. If you’re experiencing poor airflow from your vents, or if you wish to update your HVAC system, call us for help with air handler installation.

Using Your Heat to Promote Indoor Air Quality

February 26th, 2014

How clean is the air in your home? Before you answer, think about how much dust develops around the rooms in your home and how often you need to clean it. Whenever you wipe off a thick accumulation of dust from a shelf or countertop, consider that this debris was floating around in your home’s air, cycling through your ventilation system. Unless you can have your windows and doors open during the greater part of each day—impossible in Oregon—you’ll have an issue with the quality of your indoor air, and it can lead to health problems along with a dusty home.

However, even though these contaminants gather in the vents attached to your heater, you can use your heater as a tool to clean the air. It only takes a few basic additions that top Portland, OR heating services can install for you. At Clean Air Act, we take our name seriously: we’re ready to help you make your heater a helper in keeping your air clean.

Here are ways to make your heater part of the solution:

  • Air cleaners: An easy addition to your heater that will take care of the problem of larger particles of dust and dirt circulating in your indoor air. Your heater already has a basic filter installed; this is not for air quality, but to protect the interior of the heater’s cabinet. Installing HEPA filters will provide protection from particles down to 0.3 microns, which will trap most of the dirt that can get into your air. You can also install more advanced electronic filters, which ionize that air to capture even smaller particles and help remove gaseous pollutants like smoke and exhaust.
  • Dehumidifiers: One of the major threats to your indoor air quality that can develop inside your home’s ductwork is the growth of microbacteria: mold, mildew, viruses, and fungus. Excess humidity entering the ductwork promotes the growth of these hazardous pollutants. However, installing a special dehumidifier to your heating system will lower the humidity inside the ducts to keep these problems from developing. A dehumidifier runs the air that circulates through your ventilation system through evaporator coils that remove the moisture from the air. Dehumidifiers are easy to install for professionals.
  • Humidifiers: Air that is too dry is also of poor quality. When the air in your home becomes too arid, it can create skin problems, eye and nose irritation, sleeping difficulty, and an increase in cold symptoms. If dry air becomes an issue because your heater is removing too much moisture from the air, professionals can install a whole-house humidifier to your heating system.

It’s easy to schedule installation: contact Clean Air Act today! Our professional heating services in Portland, OR are an important part of our dedication to better indoor air quality.

3 Alternate Options for a Home Heating System

February 17th, 2014

In the long history of home heating, the system that has stayed the most popular is the furnace. You probably have spent most of your life with a furnace keeping you warm. Furnaces have many advantages, but they aren’t the only heating system available now. Just because furnaces are the most common heater doesn’t mean you necessarily should select one for your next installation—especially if you have moved to a new house or are planning to construct one.

Let’s go over 3 alternate options to the standard furnace that you should consider among the many heating systems in Portland, OR. Each of these offers attractive benefits, and one may be the ideal choice for your home. For help selecting, sizing, and installing a new heater, contact our heating specialists at Clean Air Act today.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps operate similar to air conditioners: using the exchange of heat from one location to another to raise the temperature of a home. In fact, heat pumps are air conditioners… except they can switch the direction they move heat. This means that a heat pump gives you both heating and air conditioning in one package. They also run at superior heating efficiency compared to a furnace and will reduce your annual heating bill. Heat pumps have the drawback of losing heating efficiency during extremely cold weather, but the winter climate in Oregon should not pose any serious problems for them.

Geothermal heat pumps

Geothermal systems are heat pumps that use the earth instead of the air as the medium for heat exchange. Refrigerant cycles through underground coils to move heat from the earth to inside your home. (During warm weather, the process reverses.) Geothermal systems are incredibly energy efficient, quiet, safe, and environmentally friendly. However, they won’t work for every property and require extensive work to install.

High velocity heating systems

This is one of the newer advances in heating technology, and it represents an exciting advance over standard forced-air systems that use ductwork. These systems operate like heat pumps, but instead of channeling the heated/cooled air through large ducts, they use small, flexible tubes that fit easily into walls and ceilings. The air enters rooms at high speeds, creating convection currents that more evenly and effectively spread heat without creating pockets of cold air. They operate much quieter than standard heat pumps.

So what sort of heating system should you have installed? It depends on your home and your budget goals. Matching you to the right heater requires professional input and installation, so don’t try to make the choice on your own. For excellent installation of heating systems in Portland, OR, call Clean Air Act today.

The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

February 14th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without the traditional greeting cards, whether accompanying a gift of flowers and candy, or sent between children in a school room. For commercial greeting card companies, February 14th is as important to them as the December holidays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love predates printed greeting cards by a few centuries. In fact, the reason that sending romantic greeting cards became popular was because of the most un-romantic thing you can imagine: a reduction in postage rates.

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of “Penny Posts” that used a uniform rate of one old penny per letter throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Printers took advantage of the ease with which people could send letters to each other on Valentine’s Day by crafting cards with love poems on them. Many of these verses were collected in 1797 in the book The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which was a resource for the lover with a romantic soul but not the most confident poetry style.

By the mid-19th-century, the Valentine’s Day greeting card was flourishing across England. Although people still followed a tradition of creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards from lace, ribbons, and flowers, commercially produced cards now overtook them. In 1835, the English post office mailed 60,000 valentines. As production expenses dropped, the English card manufacturers branched out creatively with humorous and sometimes vulgar cards… many of which we would find startlingly familiar in the 21st century. One of the common jokes on these cards was to design them to look like marriage certificates or court summons.

Across the Atlantic, the United States was slower to embrace the popular British custom. It wasn’t until 1847 that a U.S. printer mass-produced greeting cards for Valentine’s Day. Only two years later, American journalists noted how rapidly people in the country had embraced the tradition, turning into a fad that has never died down. The woman who printed the first U.S. Valentine’s Day card, Esther Howland, is today recognized by the Greeting Card Association with the annual “Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

The greeting card industry certainly has reason to thank Ms. Howland. Her idea of going into business printing romantic greeting cards, which came to her after she received a traditional English valentine when she was 19 years old, now sells 190 million cards in the U.S. every year. That number doesn’t include the smaller exchange cards used in elementary school classrooms, which would swell the number to 1 billion. (Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards each year? Teachers!)

Whether you send out Valentine’s Day cards—handmade, store-bought, digital—or not, we at The Clean Air Act hope you have a happy February 14th.

Things to Know about Air Handler Installation

February 6th, 2014

If you have a forced-air heater or AC unit in your home, the air handler is a crucial part of its performance. Without the air handler, the conditioned air from a heat pump or a furnace would never leave the cabinet and flow through the ductwork to the rooms of your home.

When you need heating installation in Portland, OR for a new air handler, contact Clean Air Act. We’ll explain a few things you should know about air handler installation.

First, only professionals can perform installation

Or, at least, only professionals can handle it correctly and safely. As we’ll further explain, air handlers are complex machines that require intricate work to connect them to an HVAC unit. Amateur installation can cause many serious problems. At best, mistakes will lead to a non-functioning air handler. At worst, mistakes can lead to injuries from electrical mishaps. Professionals must be involved from the start, since it takes their expertise to select the proper-sized air handler for your heater/air conditioner.

Second, air handlers are more than just fans

Fans are a key component of an air handler—but the unit consists of more than just a single blower. Air handlers will contain refrigerant lines (if connected to a heat pump), complex electrical connections that route wires directly to the field supply, special filters, and flanges to hook up to the ductwork.

Third, air handlers require sealing

Once an installer has hooked up the major connections for the air handler—the condensate line, the ducts, the refrigerant—the unit must be sealed properly so that it is air tight and no outside air will get drawn into it. This is important for the HVAC unit to maintain proper temperature and not pull in outside contaminants.

Fourth, air handlers require testing

The last step that an installer does is run the air handler to see that all its components are working, the airflow level is correct, and there are no refrigerant leaks. The test will also make sure that the unit is operating within safety parameters.

For your Portland, OR heating installation services, you should only rely on top-level professionals. Clean Air Act has years of experience installing air handlers, and we carry the top brands. Along with installation, we offer 24-hour emergency service and an excellent maintenance program.

Signs Your Heat Pump Needs Repairs

January 27th, 2014

For Portland’s weather, a heat pump is a great option for year-round comfort in your home. They can handle any level of heat with their cooling power, and our winter temperatures rarely drop to the extremes that will give their heating much trouble.

But a heat pump is only as good as the state of repair that it’s in. When your heat pump shows any signs of troubling behavior, you need to have professional repairs done on the double. We’ve put together a list of common warning signs of a heat pump that needs attention.

Call Clean Air Act for heating repair technicians in Portland, OR who can handle your heat pump issues.

Warning signs of heat pump problems

  • Ice developing along the coils: If you notice ice along the coil that is currently operating as the evaporating coil (indoor coil in cooling mode, outdoor coil in heating mode), then your heat pump could be suffering from one of two problems. There might be a refrigerant leak, in which case you will need repairs to find and seal the leak and then recharge the lost refrigerant. The second possibility is the coil has become too dirty to allow easy heat absorption, and this will require a technician to remove and clean the coil. Just scraping the ice off will not do any good. It will come back and continue to grow.
  • Grinding or clicking noises from the cabinet: Unusual noises from a heat pump cabinet are rarely good signs. The two most common warning noises are clicking and grinding. Clicking is usually a signal that one of the capacitors is on the edge of failing. (Capacitors transfer voltage to start the motors and keep them running.) Grinding tends to mean motors that have lost lubrication or become dirty and will soon burn out. In both cases, you’ll need a repair technician to replace the failing unit(s).
  • The heat pump remains stuck in one mode: If your heat pump refuses to cool or refuses to heat, then the issue is probably from the reversing valve. This valve allows refrigerant to change the direction of its flow through the unit, which is how the heat pump switches from heating to cooling. If the reversing valve malfunctions, the heater will remain in one mode. Call for repairs to have the reversing valve replaced.

You need professional repairs

Heat pumps are complex devices that require a precise balance of different systems—refrigerant loops, compressors, air handlers, motors, thermostats—to work accurately. Without special training and tools, it’s almost impossible to repair them. Amateur repairs are likely to do the opposite: cause further damage to the unit.

Put away the do-it-yourself kit and call up Clean Air Act. We have heating repair technicians in Portland, OR ready 24/7 to assist you.