How Can I Choose the Most Efficient Boiler?

November 10th, 2014

For most homeowners looking to buy a new boiler, all-around comfort and saving money are the two most important factors in selecting the right system. Of course, you want a boiler that radiates heat throughout your home and keeps your family comfortable on the harshest of winter nights. And for many homeowners, saving money upon installation is important as well. But you should also choose the heating system that is the most efficient so that you can save a lot more money over time.

Check the AFUE

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and the AFUE of a furnace or boiler must be displayed on the label of any unit sold in the U.S. The AFUE is represented as a percentage, with the most efficient boilers boasting an AFUE of well over 90%. Boilers built two or three decades ago tend to have an AFUE between 50-65%, while any boiler sold in the U.S. today must have an AFUE of over 80%. This means that replacing your older boiler will already save a bundle every month over your older one. But spending a little extra on a boiler with a higher AFUE should offset the initial cost over time.

Make Sure It’s the Right Size

Another thing to check on is the size of a boiler. You can buy the most efficient boiler available on the market today, but if it’s the wrong size for your home, it won’t do you any good at all. Boilers must be properly sized according to several different calculations in order to provide sufficient heating and save you money over time. If the boiler is too small, you may leave it on for longer to feel comfortable and consume more energy in the process. If it’s too large, it will require a lot of energy to run in the first place.

Ask a Professional Heating Technician

Only a professional technician knows every precaution to take to make sure you have the correct size and model of boiler in your home and that it runs as efficiently as possible. Inform your heating technician about your budgetary and efficiency needs so you can end up with the right sized unit for your home and the most energy-efficient model possible for your budget.

Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. for more information about replacing or installing boilers in Washington D.C. today.

What Types of Contaminants Do UV Germicidal Lights Target?

November 3rd, 2014

The quality of your air depends in large part on what flows through the ducts every day. Your heating and air conditioning system recycles air for use again and again. As you breathe in this air, you also breathe in anything that may have collected in the ductwork. While there are filters in your heating and air conditioning system to prevent this from occurring, they cannot filter out every type of particle, and your ducts may be home to other contaminants that could provoke an illness. Learn about why you should use UV lights in conjunction with your HVAC system to rid your home of bacteria and viruses, surface mold, and even foul odors.

  • Bacteria and Viruses: UV germicidal lights can actually help prevent the spread of disease by sterilizing and killing microorganisms like harmful viruses and bacteria. Ultraviolet light can damage organic material when it comes into contact with it. When people go outside in the daylight for a short period of time, it usually carries little or no effect. But for a microorganism like bacteria, UV exposure can prove fatal. UV germicidal lights eliminate bacteria which could trigger an immune disorder or viruses that make your family members ill.
  • Surface Mold: UV lights are often used specifically to target the mold that may potentially develop on the inside evaporator coil of your air conditioning system. The evaporator coil collects moisture as condensation when refrigerant moves through the coil, which is helpful to homeowners because this keeps humidity levels under control. However, excessive moisture creates ideal circumstances for mold development. As air blows over the wet coil and into your home, you and your family members breathe in the air along with any mold spores that could aggravate allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
  • Odors from Cooking or Pets: Finally, UV germicidal lights can sometimes get rid of lingering odors that are byproducts of cooking as well as pet odors. In fact, sewage treatment plants use commercial UV treatment technology to control odors and reduce the chances of corrosion.

A UV germicidal system may not be the best choice for every homeowner. Discuss your indoor air quality concerns with a technician to decide whether you would prefer an air cleaner or humidifier instead.

Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to speak with an expert about the possibilities of UV germicidal lights in Arlington.

How Thermostat Trouble Can Lead to Heating Repair

October 27th, 2014

The thermostat is an essential part of your heating system: this small, usually unobtrusive device that sits on the wall near the center of a home is responsible for sending instructions to a heater (and air conditioner as well) to turn it on and off and control how long to will continue to run. Without a working thermostat, you don’t have a working heating system.

The thermostat can also malfunction in ways that will causes trouble inside the heater that may lead to it requiring repairs. This is one of the reasons you must not allow a broken thermostat—even one showing only minor miscalibrations—to remain that way for long. Call the excellent technicians at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. whenever you need heating repair in Northern Virginia to restore your thermostat and heater. We have more than a decade of experience with keeping home warm throughout the winter.

The thermostat and heating repair

One of the major troubles you want to avoid from a thermostat is a miscalibration that causes the unit to misread the temperatures in a home. This can cause the heating system to start running too long, and will in turn lead to wear and tear and probably repair needs that wouldn’t have been necessary otherwise.

A thermostat miscalibration can also cause a situation known as “short-cycling.” This is when the thermostat prematurely shuts down a heater’s heating cycle before it can complete because it falsely reads that the heater has reached the target temperature. The thermostat will soon switch the heater back on again… only to have it shut off quickly once more… and on and on. This is a huge waste of power, but it also puts an incredible strain on the heater’s mechanical components. This will lead to issues such as burned-out blower motors in furnaces and heat pump and broken circulator pumps in boilers.

Another common problem with thermostats is when they lose their connection that shuts off the heater’s fan. Thermostats have separate wires to turn on and turn off the blower fan for a furnace or heat pump; if the thermostat loses its link with the wire that turns off the blower fan, the fan will run continuously, leading to it suffering from damage that will require repair needs.

Any time you notice a decline in heating power or detect the heating system turning on and off at strange times, you may have an issue in the thermostat.

Call for repairs fat the first sign of trouble. Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. is here to service all your needs for heating repair in Northern Virginia.

Choosing an Energy Efficient Unit for Furnace Installation in McLean, VA

October 20th, 2014

Furnaces are one of the most popular heating systems for homeowners. There are two main types of furnaces, but before choosing any kind of furnace for your home, it’s important to understand how energy efficiency is rated for furnace systems. Knowing ahead of time how a new system is supposed to perform is an important part of your furnace installation in McLean, VA. Equally important is hiring experts to perform the installation. For over 10 years, Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., has installed, repaired and replace multiple heating systems, and we bring this experience to every job we do.

What Is AFUE?

AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. AFUE is the measure of a furnace’s efficiency in converting fuel to energy. As such, the higher an AFUE rating, the more efficient a particular system will be. One thing to understand about efficiency ratings is that they do not indicate that a system will heat better than another; what the efficiency rating tells you is that a particular system will heat the same as another, but will use less energy to do so. Currently, the minimum AFUE ratings for non-condensing, fossil-fueled furnaces is 78%, but this will change as of January 1, 2015 to 80%, so it’s important to note this upcoming change.

Energy Star

Another way to ensure that you install an energy efficient heating system is to look for the Energy Star sticker on the product. Whole-home appliances earn the ENERGY STAR rating by being at least 15% more energy efficient than the standard. If you have questions about using an Energy Star-labeled product, consult with your technician.

Types of Furnaces

There are two types of furnaces that Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., carries:

  • Gas
  • Electric

Both can efficiently heat your home, but the heating is slightly different as gas furnaces are combustion systems and electric furnaces are not. As far as efficiency is concerned, they are almost equal: a gas furnace can have an efficiency rating as high as 98% while an electric furnace can have one as high as 100%.

Which Furnace Should I Choose?

Choosing a furnace is based largely on your needs, and working with a trained professional can help you address what’s most important, including the system that will fit best in your home.

If you are ready for a new furnace installation in McLean, VA, contact Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Choosing the Right Type of Heating System for Your Home

October 13th, 2014

Replacing your heating system is a great opportunity for you and your household. Why? The installation of a new system offers you the chance to significantly increase your energy efficiency, comfort levels and, best of all, to choose a new system that may be a better fit for your home than your current system. There are a number of choices homeowners have when it comes to a new heating installation in Washington, DC, and the trained and certified technicians at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., are here to help you every step of the way.

Choices of Heating Types

Here is an overview of the heating system types available from Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.:

Furnaces

Furnaces are one of the most widely-used heating systems in the US. Furnaces use ductwork to deliver hot air to your living spaces, so it is necessary to have ductwork in place in order to use a furnace. There are 3 main types of fuel used for furnaces:

  • Electricity
  • Oil
  • Natural Gas

Natural gas is the most popular of fuels, but not all homes have access to a natural gas fuel line; as such, it may be necessary to consider furnaces that use oil or electricity. Today’s furnaces are very energy efficient no matter what fuel is used, so choosing a specific type of furnace will depend on your needs.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can be a great option for homeowners looking to have one system provide both heating and cooling. Thanks to a component called a reversing valve, a heat pump can change the flow of refrigerant in your system so that it can heat or cool, depending on the mode it’s in. Heat pumps do not use fossil fuel; they only use a small amount of electricity to operate.

Packaged Units

Packaged units also offer both heating and cooling, but with different mechanics. With a packaged unit, your air conditioner is fueled by electricity, and the heating component uses natural gas. These types of units offer two different efficiency types, standard and high efficiency. Packaged systems have different capacities, so it’s important to work with a trained professional to ensure that you install a unit that offers the correct amount of heating and cooling for your home.

A new heating installation in Washington, DC, can be a great thing for you, your family and your home, and the best way to ensure that it is a great thing is to work with a trained, certified professional.

If you are ready for a new heating installation, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

Why Don’t I feel Enough Heat from My Boiler?

October 6th, 2014

Boilers tend to be very efficient heating systems. No system is perfect, however, and boilers are just as susceptible to heating issues as any other system. A rare, though quite frustrating, problem is that of the boiler not producing enough heat. Let’s look at the possible causes behind this issue.

Thermostat Issues

It is quite possible that your problem doesn’t rest with the boiler at all, but with the thermostat. The thermostat is the central control for your entire heating system. If it malfunctions it can easily prevent your boiler from providing enough heat, even if the boiler is in perfect condition. Check the display to make sure that everything is set properly. If the display is correct, but the heat is still not turning on, the sensors may be off. An HVAC technician will need to check in order to make a definite diagnosis.

Low Water Level

Though rare, leaks can happen in hydronic radiant heating systems. When this occurs, the lower water supply cannot carry enough heat to effectively warm the house. As usual, a professional will need to examine your system to know for certain whether this is the case. One way to tell, though, is if you notice water pooling on your floor or dripping from your ceiling when your heating is on. It is also possible that the pipes are clogged, which will produce a similar effect.

Burner Issues

The burner is comprised of several flames that serve to keep the boiler lit during use. Over time, however, one or more of these burners may malfunction or become dirty. If this happens, those burners may stop working all together. Your boiler will still provide heat, but it will be less heat than usual because it only has a few burners to heat the water.

If your boiler seems to be underperforming, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Our expert technicians conduct boiler repair throughout the Arlington area.

Don’t wait for your boiler to stop working altogether. Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating today, and we’ll have your boiler back to normal in no time.

Come Support the 14th Annual Renovator’s House Tour

October 3rd, 2014

Polar Bear Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. is proud to support the Capitol Hill Cluster School again this year through their 14thAnnual Renovator’s House Tour, October 18, 2014. This fundraising event wonderfully matches Polar Bear’s commitment to our community and education, with our company’s mission of providing historical preservation with the modern convenience of central air conditioning.

The funds raised during the CHCS Renovator’s Tour have been used to purchase new equipment for the science lab, instruments and uniforms for the school band, and also to make improvements to school facilities, such as the teaching kitchen and playground.

The CHCS Renovator’s House Tour is a walking tour of several homes on Capitol Hill. The emphasis is on clever solutions for everyday problems. Tickets can be purchased online through the school. We hope to see you there on October 18!

Furnace Repair FAQ: Why Doesn’t My Home Get Enough Heat?

September 29th, 2014

If your home seems uncomfortably cold no matter how high you set the thermostat, chances are something isn’t right with your heating system. There are a number of possible causes for heat loss in your home, but the most common is the furnace. Read on for a breakdown of possible problems with your furnace, and what to do about them.

Power/Ignition Issues

If no heat seems to be coming through the vents, your furnace may be having trouble igniting. The first thing to check is the pilot light. If the pilot light is lit, the problem is elsewhere. If the pilot light is out, it is recommended that you call a professional to re-light it for you. If the pilot light is on, but your furnace is not igniting, the gas valve may be closed. It is also possible that not enough gas is getting through the gas line and into the furnace. Due to the exact nature of determining the right amount of gas to flow into the furnace, it is best to call a professional to diagnose and fix the problem for you.

Delivery Issues

If your furnace is on but not delivering enough heat, the problem may be in the ducts. Check to make sure that heat is coming out of all the vents evenly across rooms. If one room is much colder or does not have heat coming out of it, it is very likely that you have a break in your ducts. Check your air filter as well, which should be located where the return air duct meets the furnace. The furnace repair may be as simple as cleaning or replacing your filter.

If you have checked all of these factors and your home still isn’t getting enough heat, it is time to call a professional.

Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. is the team to contact should you require any repairs for your furnace in the Alexandria, VA area. Call us today. 

How Dirty Coils Lead to Air Conditioning Repair

September 22nd, 2014

Many people are surprised to learn that an air conditioner does not actually create cool air. Rather, it moves the heat from the air in your home back to the outdoors. Your air conditioning system contains two coils that help this to happen—the evaporator coil and the condenser coil. As refrigerant moves to these components, it undergoes phase conversions that allow heat to absorb or dissipate. But these coils, and the rest of your AC system, require cleaning and maintenance to prevent the need for air conditioning repair later on.

Dirty coils are problematic because these parts are so important to the refrigeration cycle. Refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas at the indoor evaporator coil, absorbing heat as a fan blows the warm air from your home over the coil. The fan then distributes cool air through the ducts. Refrigerant becomes highly pressurized and heated at the compressor outdoors and then moves to the condenser coil, where it condenses into a liquid, giving off heat into the outside air. Refrigerant continues to cycle through both parts of the system, repeating the process over again.

The coils are especially susceptible to dust because fans suck in air to blow over both the indoor and outdoor coils. If a coil is dirty, it means the refrigeration process cannot occur as efficiently as it should. Dirty coils impair their ability to participate in heat exchange, which means that other parts will have to work harder to make up for the deficiency. And as other parts run for longer periods of time, they may begin to wear out, so you’ll have to call for air conditioning repair sooner than is usually necessary. You’ll probably notice reduced cooling capacity when you have dirty coils, or you may even feel warm air from the vents.

Maintenance technicians clean the coils during any maintenance visit as well as other pertinent tasks that help to restore efficiency and keep problems at bay.

Schedule maintenance to prevent the need for air conditioning repair in Washington, D.C. Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. for maintenance or repairs today!

Why Schedule Annual Maintenance for Your Heating System?

September 15th, 2014

We are in the last stretch before the cold weather arrives – is your heating system ready to go? One of the best ways to get your heating system in shape for the cold weather and get ahead of any potential problems is by scheduling a fall maintenance appointment for your heating system in Washington, DC. Maintenance offers several benefits that we’ll outline below, and as with any air conditioning services, it’s important to always hire trained professionals. Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., has been helping customers in the Washington, DC area with their cooling and heating equipment for over 15 years, and we can help you get ready for this winter.

What Happens During a Maintenance Appointment?

Your Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., technician will conduct the following during a routine maintenance appointment:

  • Full inspection of equipment, including heat exchangers and burn assemblies.
  • Check electrical components, including wiring and terminals.
  • Lubricate all moving parts.
  • Check refrigerant levels (for heat pumps).
  • Check fan belts and adjust belt tension on covered equipment.
  • Provide written recommendations for corrective actions, if any.

Benefits of Annual Fall Maintenance

There are several important benefits to scheduling annual fall maintenance for your heating system:

  • Prevent repairs – no one wants to find out their heat isn’t working on a cold winter day. Scheduling annual maintenance helps you get ahead of possible repairs by spotting them early with the thorough inspection that occurs during a regular maintenance visit.
  • Increase energy efficiency – a tuned-up heater runs better than one that is dirty and suffering from normal wear-and-tear. When your AC runs optimally, it uses less energy.
  • Extend life of equipment – the average lifespan of a furnace is about 15 years. Keeping your heater in good working order can extend this lifespan.

One of the best ways to prepare your home for winter is by scheduling heating maintenance in Washington, DC.

Fall offers a great window of opportunity to schedule maintenance, so contact Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., and make an appointment with one of our experts today.