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.

Why Schedule Commercial Air Conditioning Replacement with a Specialist

September 8th, 2014

You’ve decided to replace your commercial HVAC unit. This is a great opportunity to save some money every month with a more efficient system and to avoid complaints about a failing, insufficient system from the people in your building. But if you don’t schedule commercial air conditioning replacement with a commercial specialist, your system may run into problems quickly, leaving you with repairs or another costly replacement far too soon.

When you contact an air conditioning technician for commercial repairs, it’s important to ensure that this person is trained specifically on commercial units. If you hire a residential technician who is inexperienced with commercial repairs, you cannot be certain that your unit is sized and installed properly, or that the job will be completed in a timely manner.

For one, you want a specialist who knows how to size your system properly for air conditioning replacement. Commercial air conditioners differ from residential units in that they are modular, meaning you can add or take away modules to adjust the cooling capacity of the unit as needed. Additionally, commercial properties are often much larger than the average home, but an inexperienced technician may be unable to gauge the proper cooling capacity in the first place, leaving you with a system that is too small to cool your business or so large that it runs into problems.

Besides, a commercial specialist will get the job done more quickly than an inexperienced technician. Because commercial technicians are familiar installing modular rooftop units, they’ll come equipped with the proper tools to get the job completed as soon as possible so that your business can return to normal operation as soon as possible. Most commercial units are also “packaged,” meaning all the parts are combined into a single cabinet. Traditional split-system air conditioners are installed in two parts, so an inexperienced technician may not know all of the ins and outs of your commercial system.

Don’t leave your AC replacement up to just any technician.

If you need commercial air conditioning replacement in Alexandria, trust the experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Give us a call!

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

The Best Time to Schedule Heating Maintenance in Arlington

August 25th, 2014

Winter is still a few months away, but the change from summer to fall will start you thinking about how to heat your home for the coming cold weather. It’s likely that the furnace or boiler in your home hasn’t come on for a few months, and during that time it may have developed dirt, dust, damage, or mechanical troubles. When you first turn the heater on to deal with the arrival of cold weather in the late fall, you don’t want to discover an unpleasant surprise when the system either works poorly—or doesn’t work at all!

To prepare your home’s heater, and yourself, for the approaching colder weather, you need to schedule heating maintenance in Arlington, VA from a professional HVAC company. When you call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to arrange for regular maintenance, you’ll receive top-quality work from the most skilled technicians around… because those are the only kind of technicians we hire.

When is the best time for heating maintenance?

Right now.

There isn’t a simpler, or better, answer than that. In general, its never too late to schedule heating maintenance—you can’t afford to skip a year—but the ideal period to have the tune-up and inspection work done is during the start of fall.

One of the reasons that this is the best time to arrange for heating maintenance is that the work calendars for HVAC companies are more open during this time of year. Between the air conditioning emergencies and installations of summer, and the many winter repair calls, the fall is a period when technicians have an easier time scheduling work when it’s convenient for customers. Don’t wait until the top maintenance companies are literally snowed-under with emergency heating calls: take advantage of the slower season.

Scheduling maintenance in early fall gives you a good buffer before the cold weather to arrange for any repairs the heater needs to have done. You can probably deal with having the heat shut off in your home for short periods of time if it’s necessary for the repair work. If you should need new heating installation, you definitely want to have some extra time to schedule the work while the weather is still warm.

Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. offers a Preventive Maintenance Program that will take care of both your heating and cooling systems during the year. Our technicians will do a thorough inspection of your heater in the fall to find any potential malfunctions, and then tune-up, clean, and adjust the system so it will perform at high efficiency throughout the winter.

This fall, trust to our more than a decade of experience with heating maintenance in Arlington, VA. Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. today. 

How Technicians Size a New Air Conditioner for Installation

August 18th, 2014

Although it may seem logical, the answer isn’t “As large as can fit.” A more powerful an air conditioner doesn’t mean necessarily mean a better air conditioner. Professionals must size a new AC to accommodate a home so that it 1) provides sufficient cooling load for comfort, and 2) works efficiently without energy waste. An air conditioner that is too small will not deliver enough cooling, and one that is too large will start to “short-cycle,” turning on and off rapidly and draining energy.

The process of sizing an air conditioner is a complicated one that requires the professionals to perform a heat load calculation. We’ll explain this process to show you the importance of having AC installation experts on the job.

Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. has more than a dozen years of experience sizing ACs. You can trust us with your air conditioning installation in Washington, DC.

The heat load calculation

A heat load calculation combines information about how a home traps and keeps out heat to determine the cooling load necessary to keep it comfortable. Numerous criteria go into the calculation; here are some of the most important ones:

  • House volume: Square footage of a home isn’t helpful for determining its cooling needs; it’s the volume of space inside that matters.
  • Insulation: How well-insulated is the house to keep excess heat from entering? How well-insulated is the attic?
  • Number of windows and their facing: Windows allow in radiant heat from the sun, so the number of windows in a home and the direction they face is important for understanding how hot the house can get.
  • Appliances and lights: The calculation takes into account the amount of heat-producing appliances and how much heat they add to a home.
  • Number of residents: The human body creates a significant amount of heat, so the calculation must include the number of people regularly reside in the house.

Once all this data is collected, the technicians plug them into the calculation and determine how much cooling in tons an air conditioner must supply to overcome the warmth in a house without overworking. This way, they will know the ideal AC to install.

The consequences of putting in an AC that’s the wrong size are extreme, and usually the only solution to the problem is to replace completely the improperly-sized unit.

Make sure this error doesn’t occur with your new air conditioning installation in Washington, DC:

Call on the professionals at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. and let us handle the work, starting with correctly sizing your new AC unit.

Air Cleaners vs. Air Purifiers: The Best Choice for Your Home

August 11th, 2014

The terms “air cleaner” and “air purifier” can bewilder first-time customers who are looking for a way to cleanse out the unhealthy particles from their home’s air. There is actually a wide range of different names for these indoor air quality systems that can mean a variety of things, so we understand why people often feel confused. We’ll try to cut through some of that cloud of confusion in this post to help you focus on what you may need when it comes to getting the healthiest air possible for your house.

For air purifiers and air cleaners in Washington, DC, you can count on Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to help you navigate through the different models and choices. We will also handle the installation to make sure that the new device does the job it should for many years to come. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Specifics of the terms “air cleaners” and “air purifiers”

Confusingly, these two terms mean that same thing technically—electronic air cleaners—but in common use, an “air cleaner” refers to a mechanical air filter, and an “air purifier” refers to an electronic device with ionization technology.

Air cleaners, i.e. air filters

Air filters use a mesh of fibers, usually made from fiberglass, to attract and trap particles in the air that flows through them. They do not require any power to run, although they must occasionally be replaced when they become too clogged with trapped contaminants. Powerful air filters, such as HEPA filters, are capable of trapping 99.97% of the particles that pass through them that are 0.3 microns or larger; they can catch smaller particles as well, although not at so effective a level.

For many homes, an air filter is sufficient to reduce the dangerous allergens and asthma triggers from the air. A professional will need to select and install the unit to make sure that it will not interfere with airflow.

Air purifiers, i.e. electronic air cleaners

Air purifiers do not use filtration technology at all to clean the air. Instead they create an electronic ionization field inside the ventilation system. This ionizes contaminating particles, which are then drawn to a set of collector plates in the cleaner, where they are trapped. Air purifiers can affect particles down to 0.1 microns, and they can trap gaseous and odor molecules—something that air filters cannot. If you have issues with odors, smoke, pesticides, carbon monoxide, etc., then an electronic air cleaner is probably your best option.

When you call on the indoor air quality experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., you’ll find out exactly what is in your air and what system you need installed to counteract it.

Whether you need air purifiers or air cleaners in Washington, DC installed for your home, you can count on Polar Bear Air Conditioning to do the job right. Call us today.