How Can You Tell It’s Time for Commercial Heating Replacement?

December 11th, 2014

The proper working of your commercial heating system is critical for your business space. After all, it’s hard to conduct business in a space that isn’t well-heated, or has uneven heating throughout. Just because a heating system continues to work doesn’t mean that it isn’t time for that system to be replaced, particularly when you take certain factors into consideration. If you are having trouble deciding whether or not it’s time for commercial heating replacement for your McLean business, make an appointment with your Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., expert today.

Factors to Consider for Replacement

Here are some of the more important factors to review when considering the replacement of your commercial heating system:


Commercial heating systems have an average lifespan of 15-20 years, although some systems may last longer. Aging systems can have a problem achieving your set temperature, or providing even heating, mostly because the components begin to break down. Pushing an aging system only exacerbates the possibility of repairs, so if your system is experiencing problems, and is within the lifespan age or older, it may be time to consider an upgrade to a new system.

Energy Efficiency

Every business has a budget to maintain, no matter the season. If you have noticed that your business’s heating bills have risen sharply, yet you haven’t changed how you heat your business space, you may have a system that is not as energy efficient as you need it. Today’s commercial heating systems are highly energy efficient, thus enabling you to save money in energy costs.

Costly Repairs

Are you facing costly repairs, or have you been nursing along a malfunctioning system for a period of time? Repair costs can add up quickly, many times to the cost of a new system. If you are paying for multiple, costly repairs, it may be time to review if your money is better spent on continuing repairs or on a new, reliable heating system.

Your business space needs to be comfortable for all who enter it; don’t let an aging and/or malfunctioning commercial heating system in McLean adversely affect your business.

Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our commercial heating experts.

The Steps Involved in Routine Boiler Maintenance

December 4th, 2014

We are almost officially in the winter season here in Arlington, but there is still time to schedule maintenance for your boiler. You may wonder why maintenance is so important for your heating in Arlington. There are several reasons as we’ll explain below, but in a nutshell, maintenance is a full tune-up for your boiler; a routine maintenance appointment is an in-depth inspection, cleaning and adjustment of your system, not just a simple once-over of your system. It’s recommended that you schedule your heating system for maintenance every 12 months, so if you are due for a maintenance appointment, contact Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., today.

What Happens During Maintenance?

Here is a general overview of what happens during a routine maintenance appointment for your boiler:

  • Inspect equipment for unsafe conditions
  • Visually check equipment for deteriorated wiring and wiring connections
  • Visually inspect electrical controls (contactors, relays, motor starters, phase monitors and timers) for deterioration and proper operation
  • Measure and record equipment operating voltage and current
  • Inspect and/or adjust burners for proper operation and efficiency
  • Check fan belts and adjust belt tension
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Verify operation of safety controls
  • Perform safety and performance testing

Benefits of Scheduling Maintenance

The benefits of a professional maintenance appointment can help achieve the following:

  • Better energy efficiency – when a boiler carries the wear and tear from previous seasons into the next season, it can’t operate at the efficiency level it was made to operate at. The tune-up your boiler receives during a routine maintenance appointment allows your boiler to operate at its highest efficiency.
  • Improved comfort – a boiler that isn’t well-maintained may have trouble achieving the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. With routine maintenance, the system can operate optimally, keeping you warm and comfortable.
  • Prevents repairs – the thorough inspection of the system allows the technician to detect existing and developing problems so you can get ahead of issues before they can blossom.
  • Extends life of equipment – regular maintenance keeps your boiler in good working order, which helps reduce levels of wear and tear and premature aging.

The benefits of maintenance can last the entire winter season, so if you haven’t scheduled maintenance for your heating system yet, call us today!

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

How Can I Tell if I Have an Indoor Air Quality Problem?

November 17th, 2014

The average home has a multitude of microscopic contaminants floating around in the air. These contaminants can provoke allergic reactions, make you sick, and in rare cases even kill you. Due to the microscopic nature of most of these pollutants, they are mostly invisible to your senses. How, then, do you know if you have an indoor air quality problem? Let’s look at some of the most reliable ways to detect issues with air quality.

Health Symptoms

Poor air quality is an issue because of its effects on your health. Therefore, the first sign of bad air quality is usually an increase in health symptoms. If you have allergies, do you experience more symptoms at home than elsewhere? You may have a high pollen, dander, or dust count in your home. Do you get headaches suddenly, or feel dizzy or nauseous while in your home? You may have a carbon monoxide leak. Get out of your house and call emergency services immediately, as carbon monoxide poses a deadly threat to your health. No matter what, keep a close watch on your general health when inside your home. It is possible your symptoms are the result of poor air quality.


As a response to the difficulty of detecting these pollutants unassisted, many detectors have been created to compensate. Radon and carbon monoxide are the most common kinds of detectors, and should be installed in several areas of your home. These two gases are perhaps the most dangerous of the common indoor air pollutants, so the use of these detectors might save your life.

Consult a Professional

The best way to measure the air quality in your home is to consult a professional. These expert technicians have the knowledge and the tools to accurately measure pollutant levels in your home, as well as the ability to recommend effective solutions. If you need to know for certain whether your home’s air is healthy to breathe, call a technician.

If you’d like to find out about the air quality in your home, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We provide indoor air quality services throughout the Alexandria area.

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 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.