Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc Blog : Archive for January, 2014

Which System Needs Fewer Repairs, a Furnace or a Boiler?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Which system needs fewer repairs, a furnace or a boiler? If you’re looking to install a heater or a boiler in Alexandria, VA, that’s a pertinent question.  The answer isn’t clear cut – and specifics vary widely depending upon the quality of the system and how well it is maintained. If you look at the averages, however, boilers general tend to need fewer repairs than furnaces.

The reasons for this are simple. On the whole boilers have fewer moving parts than furnaces do, relying on water and pressure to transfer heat through the system. Furnaces, on the other hand, create hot air which is then blown through your house via a system of ducts. This requires motors, fans and other moving parts, which means greater friction on moving parts and greater wear and tear. Granted, the heat required for the boiler to function exacts a toll on its own, but on the whole, boilers tend to last much longer before breaking down.

That translates to a longer life in general for boilers than for furnaces. However, boilers tend to me more expensive to install, and you can’t use your radiators for cooling in the summer. However, you can easily use the duct system of your furnace with a central air conditioning system to cool your home during the hotter months. Remember to talk to an HVAC contractor about what you want from your system, and they can help you determine which heater is right for your needs.

Regardless of the system you select, you’re going to need a qualified service provider to do the job right.  If you need furnace or boiler service in Alexandria, VA, call on Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We have the training, experience and personnel to do the job right the first time every time.  Contact us today to make an appointment!

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Repair or Replace Your Existing Heating System

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Heating systems are designed to be run for many years, but sooner or later, you need to face the reality that a new system is necessary. You will have to decide whether you should repair or replace your existing heating system. It’s typically a case by case situation and you’ll need to decide for yourself it it’s worth it to repair a given system or simply install a new one. If you need any help with furnace repair in Arlington, VA, give Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. a call.

That decision usually boils down to money, and how much you’ve spent on your existing heating system. If repair bills keep piling up and/or you’re dealing with a major cost to a given repair, you might prefer to consider a new system rather than sending good money after bad. Similarly, a furnace that has suffered from overall wear and tear might be due for a replacement, even if you don’t have any specific repairs. An inefficient heater with a lot of worn parts will use a lot more energy than it should to keep your home comfortable. As the months go by, those extra costs will add up until a newer, more efficient heater is really the only viable option.

Those issues can be compounded by the age of the system. In and of itself, an old heater doesn’t necessarily merit any replacement. If it’s functioning properly and you’ve kept it well maintained over the years, it can last well beyond its normal expiration date. On the other hand, if your heater is more than ten years old and you have to repair it a lot, or if it’s using more energy from month to month than it should, then its advanced age may be the final factor in deciding to install a new unit.

When asking whether to repair or replace your existing heating system, you can count on the experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. for advice. We handle furnace repair in Arlington, VA and we can help determine if your old unit is worth save or if a new one might be best. Give us a call to set up a consultation today. You’ll be glad that you did!

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When to Stop Repairing Your Furnace and Replace It

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Our furnaces are usually things we rely on more than we think about. As long as you schedule regular maintenance, your furnace should last a good long time. Sooner or later, however, you’re going to need to put your old furnace out to pasture. Deciding when to do that can be tough, especially since buying a new furnace is a sizable investment. Here’s when to stop repairing your furnace and replace it.

The biggest sign of serious problems with your furnace stem from costs. If you find yourself calling a repair service more often than you’d like, or if the repairs are starting to add up, you may want to think about a replacement furnace. In addition, as furnaces get older, they must work harder to do their jobs, which means that your monthly heating bills may go up even if you aren’t using the furnace more often than usual.  Things may get so expensive that the monthly savings of a new unit outweigh the potential costs.

Then there’s the potential that a new system offers. Not only will it likely be a more effective unit than your old one, but it may offer options such as a variable speed fans, which can help you save energy.

All of that can be compounded by the age of the furnace. If yours is older than ten years and experiencing problems, it’s a good sign that you’ll need to think about a new one.

If you need Washington DC furnace repair service, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning, Inc. We can help you determine when it’s time to replace your furnace, and help you pick the right system for your home. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Is a Rumbling Sound a Sign for Boiler Repair in Alexandria, VA?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Boilers operate with little noise, which is one of the reasons homeowners still find them attractive options for winter heating. Using the mostly silent action of circulating heated water through a house to cast iron radiators or baseboard radiators, boilers go about their business of keeping people warm through the cold months without distracting sounds.

When a boiler does start to make loud noises, it’s usually a warning sign that the system requires repairs. Among these cautionary sounds is the noise of rumbling from the tank. There are a number of different reasons for this to occur, which we’ll go over here. All of these problems require trained technicians to fix, so make sure you call up a company with experience, like Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., to handle your boiler repair in Alexandria, VA.

Why your boiler might be rumbling

  • Mixing of hot and cold water: The water tank of a boiler should stay at an even temperature, with cold water gradually enterinh from the bottom of the tank at a steady rate. If the mixing valve on the tank breaks, however, too much cold water will start to enter and begin to mix with the hot water, which will create that rumbling noise and force the boiler to work harder, leading to repairs.
  • Excess sediment in the tank: Depending on your water supply, it is possible for sediment to enter the water tank. It will sink to the bottom and begin to build up until it starts to reduce the available water volume. When this happens, the water will begin to overheat, leading to a dangerous spike in water pressure and subsequent leaks throughout the system. A technician can flush the tank to eliminate this problem. (You should have the system flushed once a year, no matter what, during regular maintenance.)
  • Scale from hard water: Hard water—water with high levels of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals—can have a damaging effect on your boiler. The high temperature in the boiler will cause limescale to form from the minerals in hard water, and this will begin to build up on the inside of the tank. Scale is an insulator, so too much of it will trap extra heat inside the tank, leading to overheating and the numerous problems it brings. Repairs can de-scale the tank to make it safe again.

Regular maintenance can help

Always call for repairs as soon as you hear any unusual sound from your boiler; don’t wait for the problem to grow worse. However, you can avoid issues in the future by scheduling regular maintenance for your boiler with a trusted contractor. Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. offers a maintenance program that will take care of your heating system so you won’t have to worry as much about boiler repair in Alexandria, VA in the future.

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