Posts Tagged ‘Gresham’

Air Conditioning Repair Calls May Need to Replace Your System Instead

Monday, September 18th, 2017

air-conditioning-repairWe’ve officially arrived at the end of summer, with accompanying cooler weather and a reduced workload for your air conditioner. Older systems that have labored over the summer will finally see less use, which means that now is the perfect time to schedule a repair call to address any lingering problems that may have affected it over the summer. But what if repairs aren’t the best option? For older air conditioners, it might be a better idea to replace them instead rather than pay for repairs and force them through another hot season next year.  (more…)

What to Look for in AC Repair Services

Monday, September 4th, 2017

air-conditioning-repairLate summer sees an uptick in air conditioning repair calls, as problems get worse under months of daily use and with weeks of warm weather still to come. If you’ve been putting off an issue with your air conditioner until the end of summer, or your experience an unexpected problem with your air conditioner at the end of the season, you need to schedule a repair service as quickly as possible. (more…)

Causes of a Faulty Fan in Your Air Conditioning

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A basic part of air conditioning operation is the fans. There are two fans in an AC: the indoor blower fan that sends air from the return vents past the evaporator coil (cooling the air) and then out into the ventilation system; and the outdoor fan that pulls in exterior air and exhausts heat. The fans are not only crucial for sending air through the vents, but for permitting heat exchange to occur.

If the fans in your air conditioner develop faults, you will need to have professionals look into their operation, diagnose the problem, and apply targeted repairs. This isn’t something you should attempt to do on your own. For the necessary air conditioning repairs in Gresham, OR that will take care of your fan problems, contact Clean Air Act any time of the day or night.

Reasons for fan faults

  • Failing capacitors: A fan that has trouble starting or remaining on may have problems due to the capacitor. Capacitors are the cylindrical components that transfer voltage from the electric system into the fan motors. If a capacitor begins to fail due to age or overstress, the fan will experience problems starting; usually you will hear an odd clicking noise as the fan attempts to start up. Call for repair technicians to replace the capacitors or install a “hard start kit” to solve the problem.
  • Bent fan blades: This is a common trouble for outdoor fans, which can sustain damage from rocks, gravel, sticks, and other debris that enter the outdoor cabinet. When fan blades suffer from damage that bend them, the blades will start to strike the edge of the fan casing, creating a terrible noise and spreading around the damage. When you hear loud mechanical noises coming from the cabinet, shut down the system and call for repairs immediately.
  • Fan motor failure: The fan motor can suffer from a number of electrical and mechanical issues. The most common is motor freeze from stress on the mechanical moving parts due to wear and tear or excess dirt. If there is too much stress on the motor, it could burnt out and fuse its wiring, in which case the motor must be replaced. Smaller issues that can stop the motor include broken relays and loose wiring, which are usually simple fixes for a repair technician.

Fan, motors, and capacitors are too complicated for non-professionals to handle, so don’t turn to amateurs or a DIY guide for the work: call Clean Air Act and let our training and expertise fix the fans that are threatening your cooling. For all your needs for air conditioning repair service in Gresham, OR, put your trust in us.

How Do Limit Switches Work in Air Conditioning Systems?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Your air conditioning system has a lot of components which work together to cool your home.  Here is some information about the limit switches in your AC to help you better understand its operation, and to let you know when you need to call a Gresham AC technician.

What are Limit Switches?

Limit switches are used in a variety of devices for both commercial and residential applications.  Limit switches are created with two main purposes in mind.  They control electrical circuits by either activating or deactivating them, starting or stop specific electric pulses. One of the easiest examples to understand is the light which automatically turns on when the fridge door is opened, and which shuts off again once the door is closed.  Most of the time limit switches are kept out of site, and in fact we often don’t even know when they are in use.

How Do Limit Switches Work in Air Conditioning Systems?

AC limit switches are quite common.  The main example is the link between the air handler blower and the thermostat.  When the thermostat reaches the preset indoor temperature an AC limit switch is flipped. This stops the air conditioning system from creating any more cold air.  An additional AC limit switch turns off the air handling unit simultaneously so that warmer air that has not been cooled does not continue to blow through the vents.  When the temperature read by the thermostat rises once again, both air conditioning limit switches are flipped back on, creating cold air and blowing it through the vents for distribution.

When a limit switch goes bad it will cause an AC to short cycle, turning the air conditioning system off too quickly, or not turning the AC off at all.  It could be that the AC limit switch is stuck or that its wiring has short-circuited.  Whatever the case may be, it is important to contact a trained AC company in Gresham such as The Clean Air Act, Inc. for repairs. Call us today if you need AC service in the Gresham area!

Duct Size and Central Air Conditioning

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Having proper duct size is vital to having a Portland air conditioning system that functions appropriately.  If the air ducts are too small not enough cooled air will reach the intended rooms, if the ducts are too large the air will not have enough force to make its way from the AC to the room vents.  As such there are some AC industry standards for duct sizing which should be followed by any Portland air conditioning professional.

Air Duct Sizing for Central AC Systems

While there are many misused rules of thumb in the AC industry, there are also some newer standards which have been put into place such as “Manual D” methods of design that have already begun to improve performance of AC systems in homes and offices.

There is a difference between what is needed for an AC system supply ducts and return ducts.  Supply ducts tend to need smaller ducts while return ducts will often need to be larger.

Proper air duct sizing greatly depends on the square footage of the building being cooled, the air conditioner capacity or BTUs, how many ducts will be utilized, where they are positioned, and how many vents there are.  Additionally, the entire system will need to be properly balanced so that the AC works efficiently.

Duct sizing is based on the air volume that will be produced and the velocity at which it will be flowing through the ducts.  Determining the proper combination of these factors with the AC that will be used is essential to having a duct system that works efficiently.  A good rule of thumb for proper air flow is to have anywhere from 600 to 900 feet per minute of air flow flowing through the ducts.  To reach this, the cubic feet per minute will be determined, which will then be compared with a standard friction rate of 0.1 inches of water per 100 feet.  This calculation will result in an appropriate duct size for either rectangular or round ducts based on the size of the building and how powerful the AC is.

Air ducts should be properly sized prior to being installed.   Call The Clean Air Act, Inc. today to learn more about AC installation!


How Do I Determine the Cooling Capacity of My Central AC or Heat Pump System?

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

For any type of air conditioning system in Gresham, the cooling capacity is measured in BTU’s. This is important to know if the system doesn’t seem to be adequately cooking your home, and there are many different ways to check the cooling capacity of your AC system.

1. Air Conditioning System’s Age and Serial Numbers

An air conditioner’s age will usually give you a general idea for its cooling capacity, and if you aren’t sure, you can always check the serial number. Because serial number formats vary by the year the equipment was made, you can check to see how old an air conditioner is from looking at the serial number.

The first four digits of every serial number is the week and year the unit was manufactured.  For example, the serial# 1188E53294 on a compressor unit tells us that it was made between 1980 and 1990, and to be more exact, week 11 in 1988.

2. Air Conditioner’s Model Number

You should also look at the model number for your specific model because some manufacturers also vary how they assign each number in the serial number; however, they usually stand for tonnage or MBTUH. You can always call us if you aren’t sure how to read the serial number or model number.

3. AC Equipment’s RLA Numbers

RLA stands for “Rated Load Amps,” which means that it’s the manufacturer’s rate of the cooling capacity (also known as the draw) or load while it’s operating (minus the draw when you start the system). Most air conditioning compressor or condenser units will draw 5 to 6 RLA per ton of cooling capacity. You can check the data tag on the compressor for the RLA rating; however, this will need to be translated into BTUH for the total cooling capacity.

Feel free to call one of the Gresham air conditioning experts at Clean Air Act if you have any questions how to calculate your AC system’s cooling capacity.

How Does Natural Ventilation Work?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Traditional ventilation systems in Hillsboro require the use of mechanical air handlers and fans to move air between the inside and outside of your home. However, there are alternatives that naturally pull fresh air into your home. Not only are these systems better for the environment because they use less electricity, they create a more natural flow of air that add to the comfort of your heating and air conditioning systems.

How Does Natural Ventilation Work?

There are two primary ways to employ natural ventilation in a building – either stack ventilation or wind driven ventilation. The former uses much lower pressure levels which means most buildings with natural ventilation opt for wind driven ventilation. While there are specific benefits to both systems, the best engineered systems tend to use both for a more even approach to natural ventilation.

Stack ventilation is incredibly simple. The idea is that warm air rises so when air enters a building, it heats up, both because of the people in the building and because of the indoor temperature. As the air rises and exits the building, it creates a vacuum that pulls new air in through vents placed at ground level. Simply opening windows can create this effect.

Wind driven ventilation uses the same concepts of stack ventilation but takes advantage of building design and the landscape to create pressure zones around the home. For example, the pressure on the side of a building that gets buffeted with wind will almost always be higher than the opposite side. Using ventilation based on this concept allows designers to create partial vacuums to draw new air in and expel old air.

What Is Best?

Most buildings today are built using mechanical ventilation because it can be better controlled and because it is more reliable than natural ventilation. That said, there are an increasing number of natural ventilation solutions for indoor air quality using modern technology to control the opening and closing of vents. For a small home, a system that allows you to have the natural ventilation benefits of an open window without losing all the energy you pay so dearly for is fantastic. Just be sure it will fit your specific needs by calling The Clean Air Act.

Improving Indoor Air Quality with UV Germicidal Lights?

Monday, April 30th, 2012

To improve the indoor air quality use ultraviolet germicidal lights in Portland homes to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and toxic mold that can cause respiratory problems and other health concerns. These microorganisms spread by releasing airborne spores containing the genetic material used to create a new organism. UV lights use a wavelength of ultraviolet light to destroy the organism’s DNA, which takes away their reproductive capabilities and also kills them.

UV germicidal lights are fairly inexpensive and can be installed to work with your existing forced air HVAC system. They are typically used in tandem with either an electronic or mechanical air cleaner. While air cleaners can filter pollen and other irritants, UV germicidal lights destroy the viruses and mold spores once these pollutants have been trapped by the air cleaner. After the air has been filtered through your HVAC, it will circulate more easily through system and increase the efficiency of the unit. In addition, UV lights are useful in killing hidden mold growth, which can only be detected by special thermal imaging equipment.

Homeowners with particularly chronic allergy problems or extremely poor indoor air quality choose to install both types of air cleaners, in addition to a UV light, for the ultimate protection from indoor air pollutants—from bacteria to pet dander.  If your home lacks adequate ventilation, or if you are unable to control the source of common pollutants, you might benefit greatly by installing UV germicidal lights. Poor indoor air circulation can exacerbate the spread of harmful microorganisms, so make sure you have proper ventilation if you don’t have UV lights in your home.

UV germicidal lights have also been used to filter tap water because they are more reliable and easier to install than other water treatment systems. However, they are typically used to provide cleaner indoor air quality.

Call Clean Air Act if you have questions or concerns about the quality of the air inside your Portland home.

The History of Heat Pumps

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Thermal energy is the natural movement from warm temperatures to colder temperatures creating energy in the change of temperature to the mass.  A heat pump typically is a device that moves the air (or other matter) in the opposite direction from its natural flow.

A heat pump often uses an intermediate fluid called a refrigerant which absorbs heat as it vaporizes and releases the heat when it is condensed,  using an evaporator to absorb the heat (or energy) from inside an occupied space and forcing this heat to the outside through the condenser. The key component that makes a heat pump different from an air conditioner is the reversing valve which allows for the flow direction of the refrigerant to be changed, allowing the heat to be pumped in either direction.

Timeless Technology

While mechanical movement of this energy, what we can actually call a pump,  has been a relatively recent invention,  the concept of this principal of physics has been in use since ancient times. Harnessing the power of geothermal energy (produced from the heat of the earth itself), natural hot springs “pumped” warm air into cool spaces in China and Europe thousands of years ago.

By 1852, Lord Kelvin had theorized the heat pump, but it took nearly 100 years to actually build one.  In the last half century, the technological advances have made heat pumps part of our lives in many ways.

First Pump

In the 1940s a man named Robert Webber was motivated to build the first known heat pump while tinkering with his refrigerator.  Accidently burning his hand on the outlet pipes of the cooling system, he was quite painfully awakened to an idea about the transference of heat.

Recognizing the freezer was constantly producing heat to cool its interior, he connected the outlet pipe to the storage tank of his hot water heater, extended that into a flow through pipes which heated air nearby, and  then used a fan to blow the warmth into another room.

The first heat pump was a crude, but effective method to provide comfort.  Creating a full-size version soon after, Wagner could heat his entire home.

Heat and Electricity

Today Portland heat pumps are built in many ways and shapes to heat or cool buildings of many sizes.  Combined with geothermal forces close to the Earth’s surface or potentially  deep within its fiery core, heat pumps are able to energize the turbines that can produce huge amounts of electricity

As technological improvements are refined during this time of climate change and dwindling fossil fuels, heat pumps promise to play an important part in our futures.

If you are interested in having a heat pump installed in your home, call Porland HVAC professionals Clean Air Act Inc.!


Benefits of Getting a Home Energy Audit

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

You may have heard of home energy audits, in which you inspect your home to find ways to improve its energy efficiency. What you might not know is all the ways an audit can help you save energy and be more environmentally friendly for your next heating installation in Portland. Here are the four main benefits of getting a home energy audit:

Learn About Loss

The main idea behind getting a home energy audit is to figure out the heat loss (or gain) of your home. That is, how much heat are you losing to the outside world? Heat that doesn’t stay in your home obviously does little to benefit you in terms of keeping your house warm, and can be costly in terms of increased utility bills and repair costs over time.

Identify Weak Spots

Aside from determining how much heat your home is losing, a home audit can also point you in the direction of weak or thin spots in your home’s insulation. By identifying areas that are letting out the most heat, you can prioritize your strategy to prevent heat loss. Most often, this starts with doors and windows.

Opportunity to Upgrade

A good home energy auditor will present you with solutions for your heat loss problems, creating an opportunity for you to upgrade the equipment or materials in your home. This can solve your heat loss problems in one fell swoop. Such solutions include energy efficient glass, new sealant around doors and windows or upgraded insulation, especially in upper floors.

Save Money

Preventing heat loss increases the efficiency of your heating system, which saves you money. Your heating bills are reduced, and your furnace has to run less, which means fewer repairs and a longer life for an expensive piece of equipment. In short, spending money on a home energy audit and heat loss solutions are sound investments.

The benefits of a home energy audit are numerous, which is all the more reason to take advantage of having one done in your home. It is also a good thing to do for the environment!  So call The Clean Air Act today to have yours scheduled.