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.

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.