Steps Involved With Geothermal Replacement

September 12th, 2014

One of the benefits of a geothermal heating and cooling system is that they last a long time. The ground loop has a lifespan of 25-50 years, and the heat pump has a lifespan of 20-25 years. With this much durability, it is very possible to have air conditioning (and heating) in Portland, OR for a full generation. But, if you’ve moved into a home with an older system, the possibility exists that you may have to replace some part of your geothermal system, and the part most likely to need replacing first is the heat pump. Heat pumps are complex devices, and anyone conducting repairs on a ground-source heat pump really needs to understand how the system works. This is why it’s important to call knowledgeable professionals, like the ones at Clean Air Act, for all your repair and replacement needs.

Replacing a Ground-Source Heat Pump

Geothermal heat pumps, also called ground-source heat pumps, have a replacement process similar to an air-source heat pump, but the connections differ due to the ground-source system. Here is a general overview of the ground-source heat pump replacement process:

  • The technician will disconnect all power to the heat pump
  • The technician will locate all pipes coming into the heat pump from the outside and turn off all valves
  • The technician will disconnect the pipes from the outside that connect to the heat pump
  • The technician will remove the heat pump and any separate parts, such as separate heat exchangers
  • The new heat pump will be put in place
  • The connections to the new heat pump will be checked and additional piping added if needed
  • The technician will connect the new heat pump to the outside connections
  • Once connected, the technician will bleed out any extra air by opening the valves
  • The technician will also add any water/anti-freeze to the system if needed
  • Mechanical tests will be run to ensure the heat pump has been installed correctly
  • Power is restored to the heat pump
  • The technician will run electrical tests of the new heat pump
  • The system will be started and tested

Ground Loop Replacement

It is rare for a homeowner to have to replace a full ground loop, but in case it does happen, the process is fairly quick. Since the original loop is already in place, there is no extra work determining where the loop should go; the technicians will excavate where the current loop resides. The most costly aspect of replacing a ground loop is the digging.

Geothermal replacement needs are pretty rare, but if you do need it, call the Portland, OR air conditioning experts you can count on: Clean Air Act.

How Do Your Air Conditioner And Dehumidifier Work Together Against Humidity in Fall?

September 5th, 2014

The way your air conditioner cools your home is by removing both heat and humidity. Humidity holds heat, so simply cooling the air doesn’t achieve the cool, dry feeling you need to be comfortable. While fall is on the way, we still have our hot, humid days here, and one of the best ways to defeat the humidity is with a whole-home dehumidifier. A whole-home dehumidifier installed into your home can offer a number of benefits. As with any repair, installation or upgrade to your AC, it’s important to always hire professionals, like the ones at Clean Air Act.

 Seamless Integration

Room dehumidifiers can provide a small amount of relief from indoor humidity, but to truly remove it throughout your home, it’s best to install a whole-home dehumidifier. A dehumidifier can be seamlessly added to your existing air conditioning system, and operates with the regular cycling of your AC.

 How Does a Dehumidifier Help?

A whole-home dehumidifier removes excess humidity from your air before it enters your system. Excess humidity is moisture, so this moisture is removed and sent outside your home before it can become part of your air flow. This reduces any extra work your AC would have to do to remove the excess humidity.

 What Are the Benefits of a Whole-Home Dehumidifier?

There are several important benefits to adding a dehumidifier to your air conditioning system:

  • Better comfort levels – humidity makes everything feel sticky, and when humid air is cooled without proper dehumidification, it can feel cold and clammy. By removing the excess moisture, the air will feel as it should: cool and dry.
  • Increased energy efficiency – having a dehumidifier reduces the amount of work your AC has to do. When your AC works less, it uses less energy, which can reduce your energy usage.
  • Better health – moist environments are perfect for mold and mildew, dust mites and other contaminants to thrive. By reducing the moisture level with a dehumidifier, you can reduce problematic allergens and increase your indoor air quality.

Excess humidity can cause health problems, damage household goods and strain your air conditioning. One of the best solutions is to install a dehumidifier in your home. Call Clean Air Act today and schedule your dehumidifier installation in Portland, OR with one of our experts.

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at The Clean Air Act wishes your family a happy end of summer.

Air Conditioner Sizing: Why It’s Important

August 22nd, 2014

When selecting an air conditioner for a home, one factor installers must give serious consideration is the system’s size. In this case, “size” doesn’t mean how much space the cooling system takes up (although that is, of course, something they must consider) but how powerful it is in term of cooling capacity.

Correctly sizing an AC is more important than you may realize. You need your air conditioner to have enough cooling power to keep your home at the right temperature, but an AC that is too powerful will also cause serious problems. This one of the reasons that it’s vital for only professionals to handle installation for an air conditioner—any mistake can lead to a poorly working system that will need to be replaced.

For skilled technicians to size and handle air conditioning installation, look to the experienced teams at Clean Air Act.

When An Air Conditioner Is Too Small…

An AC that cannot provide sufficient cooling capacity will fail to keep the temperature in a home at a comfortable level. It will also unevenly distribute cooling, so that more distant rooms will contain hot spots. The AC will run longer than it should, trying to make up for its lack of cooling power with constant operation, and this will cause the system to age rapidly. It will also significantly raise your utility bills. You may think that a smaller system will save your money, but in the long-run it will cost you money.

When An Air Conditioner Is Too Large…

It may seem odd that an oversized air conditioner can present problems. Why not just turn it down? But the problem with an air conditioner that is too large for the space it is required to cool is that the system will begin to “short-cycle”: it will lower the temperature in the nearest rooms so rapidly that the thermostat will register it has completed the cooling cycle and shut off the compressor early. The compressor will then turn back on shortly after, only to shut down again… and so on. This constant “stop-start” has the same damaging effect you would expect to occur with a car engine doing the same thing: it will wear down faster. Short-cycling also wastes energy, since air conditioners draw the most power when the compressor starts up. The system won’t provide even cooling, either, since the cooling will shut off too soon for the conditioned air to reach the rest of the home.

Have Your Air Conditioner Sized Professionally

In both cases, there is little that repairs can accomplish to fix these problems. You will need to replace the under- or oversized system and start over.

You can avoid this major hassle and expenditure by making sure to hire only experienced technicians to size an air conditioner. Trained installers will perform a heat load calculation for your home to determine exactly the amount of cooling load necessary to keep it comfortable. After that, the installers will have no trouble selecting the AC that will do the ideal job.

Make your first call for air conditioning installation in Beaverton, OR to Clean Air Act. We will make certain that you receive the right AC to keep you comfortable any time of the year.

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!