Is Your Air Conditioning Making Your Home’s Air Too Dry?

April 20th, 2015

Air conditioners work through a system of evaporation and condensation of the refrigerant that cycles through them. In the outdoor unit, the refrigerant condenses and releases heat. When the refrigerant goes to the indoor unit, it evaporates and absorbs heat. But this evaporation process also absorbs moisture from the air, where it gathers on the evaporator coil and then drips down into a condensate pan and out a drain. So, even though an air conditioner is not specifically designed to work as a dehumidifier, it has some dehumidifying properties…

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Here’s What You Can Expect During Air Conditioning Maintenance

April 13th, 2015

Have you scheduled spring maintenance for your home’s air conditioning system yet? Right now is one of the best times: the weather still hasn’t reached summer heights and HVAC technicians have more open schedules that make it easier to arrange for a convenient appointment. Call a local professional HVAC company and ask about their maintenance programs. Continue Reading

3 Things to Check When You Give Your AC a Spring Test-Run

April 6th, 2015

Spring has arrived, and with warmer weather ahead—and summer weather right behind it—you will turn your air conditioning system back on, if you haven’t already. Now is an excellent time to analyze your AC’s performance and check if anything seems wrong with it. You want to schedule any necessary repairs for the system during the spring season, before the serious change in the weather occurs and it becomes more difficult to arrange for a convenient time to have the system repaired.

If you need speedy and effective air conditioning repairs in Washington, DC, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We have a history of quality service keeping homes comfortable no matter the season.

It’s a good idea to give your AC a test-run during the early spring and pay attention to indications of malfunctions. Turn on the air conditioner for a half-hour during a day when you otherwise don’t need it. Here are 3 things you should check on during this test run:

  • Proper airflow: Go to all the vents into the rooms. Make sure none of them are blocked by furniture that was moved during the last few months. Check on the airflow coming from the vents. If it seems sluggish or weak, something may be wrong with the AC.
  • Sounds from the AC cabinet: Go to both the indoor and outdoor cabinets of the air conditioner and listen to the sounds from the system as it goes through a standard cooling cycle. Do you hear any unusual noises? These can include hissing, banging, screeching, grinding, and clicking. Anything that sounds unfamiliar should have a professional investigate it.
  • Even distribution of cooling: Are all the rooms receiving the level of cooling they should? Although some rooms will probably be naturally warmer than others (such as an upstairs bedroom with widows that receive direct sunlight), you shouldn’t come across any “hot spots.” Such spots are a sign of something wrong with the AC or the ventilation system.

This short DIY diagnostic will help identify serious troubles. But it’s no substitute for arranging for a professional maintenance session. Make sure you call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. and schedule an inspection and tune-up during the spring to find any malfunctions that you may have missed, as well as to adjust and clean the system so that it works its best all summer. Give us a call to find out more about our Preventative Maintenance Agreement.

When Is It Time to Call for Air Conditioning Services in Alexandria?

March 27th, 2015

We are inching toward warmer weather, and as such, it’s good for homeowners to know when it’s time to call for AC services in Alexandria. Nothing is more frustrating than turning on your AC the first hot day of the season only to find that it isn’t working, or that it’s working poorly. It may seem sometimes as if problems come out of the blue, but if you are aware of the signs, you’ll know when it’s time to call for help, and better yet, you’ll know who to call that you can count on: Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.

When Is It Time to Call?

Here are some signs that it’s time to call for air conditioning services for your Alexandria home:

  • When there is low or no cooling – there can be many reasons for this, so it’s best let an expert find the problem and repair it
  • When lots of dust and dirt are blowing through your vents – this is usually indicative of dirty ductwork, and it can also indicate faulty ductwork
  • When you smell strange odors coming through your vents – your AC shouldn’t have any kind of odor, so it’s time to call for an expert when you smell something
  • When you hear strange sounds while your air conditioner cycles – there are some basic, operational sounds that your AC should make; if there are more sounds than that, it’s time to call for a specialist
  • When it’s time for replacement – replacing an air conditioner is great opportunity to increase your energy efficiency and comfort, but only when you work with an expert
  • When you need repair – all AC repairs should always be handled by trained professionals
  • When it’s time for maintenance – it’s strongly recommended that you schedule your AC for maintenance every 12 months
  • When you need new air conditioner installation – new AC installation takes knowledge and experience, otherwise you could be stuck with an air conditioner that is too large or too small for your home or problems from poor installation

Expert Help Is the Key

That’s quite a list above, but when you call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., you can rest assured that you are calling a company that has the trained and certified staff to handle all of it and more.

Need air conditioning services in Alexandria? Look no further than the experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.

Types of Air Treatment Products for Your Home

March 20th, 2015

According to the EPA, indoor air can be anywhere from 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air, not including allergens.  So, if you have concerns about the quality of your home’s indoor air, it may be time to consider the installation of an air treatment product. But which one do you choose? There are a number of IAQ products available to homeowners, but knowing which one(s) will help improve your air in the best way can be a challenge. This is where the indoor air quality experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., come in. Our specialists will help you determine which products will meet your indoor air quality needs and install them. Understanding what the products are and how they work will help you decide which products will be best for your home, so here is a quick overview of the types of indoor air quality products we offer:

Air Filtration Systems

These types of systems clean your air using a mechanical filter, which is a type of air filter contained in a square frame. Filter media, the material inside the frame, traps contaminants in the weave of the material. Mechanical air filters have different strengths and capabilities as denoted by MERV ratings; your IAQ specialist can help you determine what type of air filter will be best for your needs.

Air Purification Systems

Air purifiers typically refer to air cleaners that use ionization to clean the air, but this category also include UV germicidal lighting. Electronic air purifiers trap contaminants and particles in the air by negatively charging them and capturing them on either surfaces or metal collection plates. UV germicidal lighting eradicates biological contaminants only, and does so by destroying the DNA of the contaminant’s cell.

Humidifiers/Dehumidifiers

The EPA states that healthy humidity levels are between 30%-60%. When you have humidity levels above 60% or below 30%, your home can become uncomfortable. Whole home humidifiers and dehumidifiers work with your HVAC system to help achieve balanced humidity by either removing excess moisture or adding the appropriate amount of moisture to the air.

Many times it takes a combination of IAQ products to achieve the indoor air quality you want in your home, and working with a Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., can get you there.

Contact us today and schedule an appointment for air treatment services for your Washington, DC home.

Is Your AC Ready for Summer?

March 13th, 2015

It may be hard to think about summer after the snowy, cold winter we’ve had, but spring is just around the corner and summer isn’t far behind. There is nothing more frustrating than turning on your air conditioner on the first hot day of the year only to find that it isn’t working, or is working poorly. But, the experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., have a great solution for that: spring maintenance for your air conditioning system in Arlington, VA. And now is a great time to schedule it!

What Happens During a Maintenance Visit?

Maintenance isn’t a simple check of your air conditioning system; it is a full tune-up, complete with a thorough inspection and testing. Here is a general overview of what happens during a routine maintenance appointment:

 

  • Inspection and cleaning of evaporator and condenser coils – dusty, dirty coils can reduce a system’s ability to properly operate, so your technician will inspect them and clean them if needed.
  • Check of the thermostat – your thermostat is the control center for your air conditioning system, so it’s important to make sure it is in good working order.
  • Lubrication of moving parts – ball joints and other moving parts need to be properly lubricated in order to work correctly because friction can cause resistance in motors, which can lead to an increase of energy usage and poor operation.
  • Inspection the condensate array – faulty condensate trays can leak water, and clogged condensate drains can cause overflows and water damage. These items will be inspected during your maintenance appointment to ensure that all is working as it should.
  • Check of the system’s cycling – multiple checks to ensure that the system cycles properly.
  • Checking and adjusting the refrigerant level of your central air conditioner – too much or too little refrigerant can adversely affect the heat release/cooling process in your AC, so it’s important to make sure your AC’s refrigerant levels are exactly as they should be.
  • Check all fans – the condenser and evaporator fans are key components in the heat release/cooling process, and as such, need to be reviewed.
  • Check of electrical connections – loose connections are tightened, and voltages and currents on motors are measured. Poorly maintained electrical connections can reduce the life of your components.

As you can see, maintenance involves a number of tasks, all designed to make your AC more energy efficient and work optimally.

Get ready for summer this year by calling Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., and scheduling spring air conditioning system maintenance in Arlington, VA!

Can’t I Wait to Schedule My Commercial Heating for Maintenance?

March 6th, 2015

Your commercial heating system works hard around the clock to keep your business’s indoor temperature comfortable.  Being without heat, or having poor heating in your business space simply isn’t an option, but there is a great way to ensure that your commercial heating stays on track: schedule a maintenance appointment for your commercial heating in Alexandria.

What’s So Important About Maintenance?

Did you know that for every year you don’t schedule maintenance for your heating system, it loses 5% of its overall efficiency? This means that if you don’t schedule maintenance for three years, your system can lose up to 15% of its normal efficiency. Not only will you lose efficiency, but operating a commercial heating system season after season with accumulating wear and tear means you run the risk of having an uncomfortable commercial space. Why? Excessive wear and tear affects how your heating system operates, and it may become difficult for your system to achieve your set temperature. This leads us to our next reason why maintenance is so important: prevention of repairs. Carrying the wear and tear of each season into the next makes your system more prone to malfunction and potential breakdown. The cleaning, adjusting and lubrication that occurs during a maintenance appointment removes the excess dust and dirt, and allows your components and system to work as they should. And when you keep your commercial HVAC system in good working order year after year, you can actually help extend the life of your system.

When Should I Schedule Maintenance?

Because commercial HVAC systems do a tremendous amount of work, it is recommended that you schedule maintenance for your commercial heating system twice a year – once in the fall and again in mid- or end of winter. To gain the benefits of maintenance, it is always important to hire commercial HVAC experts to do any work to your commercial system, whether you need maintenance, repair, installation or replacement.

The commercial professionals at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., are here to assist with all of your commercial heating needs, so call us today!

Do I Need to Replace My Furnace?

February 27th, 2015

Most homeowners don’t look at replacing a furnace as a welcome event, but the truth is that furnace replacement in Washington, DC, offers the opportunity for you and your home to gain better comfort and energy efficiency, maybe more than you’ve had in a long time. However, replacing a furnace is a big decision, and there are some important factors you should review with a heating expert from Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., before moving ahead:

How is your current furnace’s energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is the key to staying on budget each winter. How has your current furnace been performing? Have you seen your bills rise but you haven’t changed how you use your furnace? Today’s furnaces are very energy efficient, with some models reaching AFUE ratings of 95%. A furnace that is over 10 years of age will have trouble meeting today’s energy efficiency standards, so it may be worth taking a look at what a newer, more efficient unit can do for you and your home.

How old is your current furnace?

Age makes a big difference with large, electro-mechanical systems like a furnace. The average combustion furnace has a lifespan of 15-20 years (electric furnaces have average lifespans of 20-30 years) – how old is your current furnace? As furnaces age, components tend to break down more and more frequently. If your furnace has reached its maturity or gone beyond it, it may be time to consider a replacement.

How many repairs have you made recently?

Another earmark of a furnace that may be near retirement is a furnace that needs, or has needed, a great deal of repair to stay operational. It’s normal to have to do some repairs to your furnace over its life, but if you are keeping your furnace alive only through multiple, needed repairs, your money may be better spent on a new, reliable system.

Working with a heating professional can help you sort out whether or not it’s time for a replacement furnace in Washington DC. The heating experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., are here to help, so call us today!

What Are the Two Types of Electronic Air Cleaners?

February 20th, 2015

When it comes to cleaning your air with a whole-home product, there are a lot of choices, even within the choices. The two main categories of air cleaners are mechanical and electronic, and today we’re going to talk about what an electronic air cleaner can do for your McLean, VA, home.

Two Types

There are two types of electronic air cleaners: electrostatic precipitators (also known as electronic precipitators) and ion generators. Each uses electricity to remove contaminants from your home, but does so differently.

Electronic Precipitators

This type of electronic air cleaner works by drawing particles to it and charging them so they can be captured. A fan pulls air into an enclosed space known as an ionization section. In this section, all the particles are negatively charged; as the newly-charged particle continue to move through the device until they come into contact with oppositely-charged metal plates that capture the particles. The plates should be cleaned every 3 months to ensure proper functioning.

Ion Generators

Ion generators also charge particles, but do so in a less methodical way.  The way an ion generator helps clean the air is by dispersing negatively-charged ions into the air; these ions attach to particles in your indoor air and become a single, negatively-charged unit. There are no collection plates with an ion generator; instead, the particles are attracted to your surfaces in your home, such as walls, tabletops and countertops, and collect there. When these surfaces are cleaned, the contaminants are removed.

Both types of air cleaners can be added seamlessly to your current HVAC system.

Which Is Best?

Determining which type of electronic air cleaner will work best in your home can be best decided with the help of a trained indoor air quality expert. For almost 15 years, the indoor air quality professionals at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., have been helping customers throughout the Washington, DC, area improve their indoor air quality.

If you are concerned about your indoor air quality and interested in an electronic air cleaner, call the experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., today!

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.