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

Ways to Upgrade Your Commercial Air Conditioning in Washington, DC

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The summers in Washington, DC can bring with them heavy heat and humidity. To run a business with a comfortable workspace for employees, customers, and/or clients, you need to have an effective and efficient air conditioning system that’s up to commercial standards. Poor AC can threaten your company’s livelihood, so make sure that the system you have installed can deliver the temperatures the people in your workspace expect.

For this summer, perhaps you’re looking for change in your system. It’s time to seek options for an upgrade that will take your company to the next level of comfort, as well as energy savings. To find out how you can receive better and more efficient cooling, contact the experts in commercial air conditioning in Washington, DC at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. today. We’ve cooled down local businesses since 2001.

Some upgrades for a commercial air conditioning system

  • Rooftop package units: The most popular type of AC for businesses is the package unit located on the roof. A package unit eliminates the need for the older split-systems that have two cabinets, a condenser outside and an evaporator inside. With a package unit, you have all the components in one place, which saves space and removes most of the noise to the outside of the building. Many of these systems also come with humidity controls. Package units are easier for technicians to service, another advantage.
  • High performance systems: Commercial HVAC technology is constantly advancing. If you’ve had your current AC for more than a decade, some amazing developments have come along that you may wish to take advantage of. New high-efficiency systems sometimes score SEER greater than 20—an improvement of over a third what non-high-efficiency systems rate. Although these systems are more expensive to install, they will rapidly pay for themselves, especially for a busy company that needs to run the AC during most summer days.
  • New thermostat controls: A good thermostat makes for a better air conditioning system. You probably have multiple thermostats in your workplace, all networked into a central control panel. If you have an older system without high-functioning programmable abilities and alerts to identify rooms that are too hot or too cold, then you are missing out on an opportunity for greater savings and increased comfort for everyone in your company. Call up commercial AC technicians to see how they can wire up a better thermostat system for your business.

You can expect happier workers and customers, and a utility bill that is more pleasant to look at each month.

Before the summer heat starts to ramp up, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. and improve cooling for your company in Washington, DC. 

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What are the Advantages of Air Cleaners?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Air cleaners are essentially a more sophisticated form of air filters, using anything from UV light to electromagnetic static to help keep your air free of dust and dirt. They can usually be installed in your heater or air conditioning system with little trouble, and they bring a number of benefits to your household once they’re in place. Here in Arlington, air cleaners can be easily installed by a qualified air conditioning service company. What are the advantages of air cleaners? A few of the more common ones are listed below.

Advantages of Air Cleaners

  • Cleaner air. First and most importantly, air cleaners help improve the overall quality of your indoor air. Not only does that make your household more comfortable, but it can reduce the amount of allergic attacks in family members and help prevent other common forms of illness. You should especially consider this factor if you have an elderly member of your family, or you are expecting a baby anytime in the near future.
  • A more efficient air conditioner. When dust and dirt coat the inside of the air conditioner, it can increase friction on moving parts as well as interfering with the refrigerant’s ability to do its job. An air cleaner can help prevent dust from accruing, helping your air conditioner function more efficiently and lowering the cost of your monthly energy bills in the bargain.
  • Reduced need to dust. An air cleaner will reduce the amount of dust and dirt that builds up on your furnishings, which means that dusting and similar forms of housework will be made a lot easier.

The advantages of air cleaners are palpable, even for those without immediate health concerns. If you live in Arlington, air cleaners can also be used to help reduce the amount of bacteria and mold that crop up during our muggy summers. We can answer any question you might have, then install the air cleaner that’s right for your home and family.

For more on the advantages of air cleaners, or to schedule a consultation for installation, call upon the experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.

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3 Factors of Your Home to Consider With Air Conditioning Installation in Alexandria

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Whether you are purchasing an air conditioning system for the first time, or are upgrading your existing system to a new model, there are several important factors to consider when determining what air conditioner will best fit with your home. With almost 15 years’ experience with air conditioning installation in Alexandria, Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., can help you to determine what type and size air conditioner would fit best with your home. Call us today to schedule an appointment or request an estimate.

Factors to Consider When Installing Your New Air Conditioner

You may hear that the only thing you really need to consider when installing a new air conditioner is the square footage of your home. While square footage is part of the considerations, , it is not the only factor that determines how much cooling you need for your property.

Factor 1: Insulation

Insulation plays a key role in determining how much cooling you need. Why? Less insulation means your home will retain less of the cool air, and more insulation means your home will retain more cool air. If you have less insulation, you may need a bigger system to adequately cool your home. Conversely, if you have plenty of insulation, you may not need as much cooling to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Factor 2: Orientation

The direction your home faces is important to calculating something known as heat gain. Heat gain refers to the amount of heat your property gains throughout the daytime from the sun and rising temperatures. Orientation – or the direction in which your home faces – plays a strong role in this. For instance, if your home faces west, your home can get a great deal of exposure to the sun from midday to sunset; this can increase your daytime heat gain versus a property that faces east. Knowing things like this are important to understand exactly how much cooling you’ll need.

Factor 3: Existing Ductwork

If you have an older home, it is important to have your technician review the ductwork for efficiency. Things like cracks, broken seals and disconnections can contribute to something known as air loss. It is estimated that air loss from faulty ductwork can result in cooling losses as high as 30%. Tackling existing ductwork problems before installing your new air conditioner can help you save money down the road.

Review Before Installation

Understanding how your home cools is an important step with your air conditioning installation in Alexandria.

With help from your Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. specialist, the system you install will give you the comfort and efficiency that fits best with your property.

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3 Noises That Indicate Air Conditioning Problems

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Air conditioning technology has not reached the stage of artificial intelligence programs that can perfectly detect operating problems, diagnose them, and then alert homeowners to what needs repairs. But ACs do have something like an early-warning system: strange noises. When you hear any sound different from the hum of the fans and the compressor, pay attention close to it. It is likely a fault that requires the work of an HAVC expert to fix. If you ignore the warning noises, the trouble will grow worse and possible cause the air conditioner to break down. A great way to prevent your air conditioner from falling into disrepair is to enroll in our maintenance program.

Here are three common noises that signal you need to call for air conditioning repair in Washington, DC. For fast local service, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We will do the work right the first time.

3 air conditioning warning sounds

  • Hissing: This is almost certainly the sound of refrigerant escaping from a leak. Loss of refrigerant will cause the system to start losing the ability to absorb heat from inside your house. This will not only lower your comfort, but it can cause ice to develop over the coils and even damage to the compressor that can turn catastrophic. Technicians will locate the leaks and seal them, then recharge the refrigerant to its original level.
  • Groaning/grinding: Best described as “mechanical failure noises,” the sort you associate with a failing car engine. The problem is often in the motors of the air conditioner, which run the blower fans and the compressor. Loss of any of these will impair or shut down the air conditioner. If repairs reach the problem in time, they can rescue the motors. Often, the motor will need replacement.
  • Clicking: If you hear this sound when the compressor or the fans start, and the unit stutters to get going, you have a system that is “hard starting” because of electrical trouble. The most common reason for this is failing capacitors: the components that transmit voltage to the motors. Repairs will replace the capacitors or else install a hard-starting kit that will overcome the problem.

Never ignore unusual air conditioning sounds: any stress on the AC system means it is wasting energy and putting additional stress on other components. Tackle the repair when it’s isolated and less extensive, and before you need to worry about the air conditioning shutting down during one of the hottest days of the summer.

Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to have your Washington, DC air conditioning repair job finished fast and effectively by highly trained professionals.

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Air Conditioning Basics: The Compressor

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Understanding the basic components of a central air conditioner will help you know why you must schedule maintenance for your system every year. The refrigerant, the evaporator and condenser coils, the blower fan, the capacitors, and the motors are all essential parts of AC operation that must remain in good condition year-round in order for the system to work efficiently and effectively. But perhaps no other component in an air conditioner is as important as the compressor: it’s not only the heart of how an air conditioner runs, it’s the part that needs to stay in the best shape or else the whole system will fail. When a compressor dies, it often means the air conditioner must be replaced.

We’ll take a closer look at the compressor to see how it works—and how it might fail.

For the repairs and maintenance on your air conditioning in Arlington, VA that will keep the compressor healthy, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. today.

Compressor basics

The compressor isn’t the figurative heart of an AC. It’s the literal heart: it pumps refrigerant through the system in order to move heat from the indoors to the outdoors.

The compressor is a large pump that operates similar to a piston motor. It is located in the outdoor cabinet of a central air conditioner and only comes on when the thermostat calls for cooling. When that happens, the compressor (powered by its own motor) squeezes down on the liquid refrigerant inside it. This turns the refrigerant into a hot, high-pressure gas. The refrigerant exits the compressor to move to the nearest area of low pressure, the condenser coil. After the refrigerant completes its full trip through the air conditioner—releasing its heat to the outside, then absorbing heat from the inside—it returns to the compressor where the process begins again.

Like piston motors, compressors can wear down due to dirt and lack of lubrication. This will eventually cause the compressor to become “tight” and eventually “seized,” stopping all motion. Repair technicians can often repair the compressor to get its piston moving once more.

Eventually, an aging compressor will wear down to the point that it will burn-out completely: it will no longer be able to create the proper pressure for the refrigerant. This usually coincides with the end of the life service of the air conditioner itself.

Repairs and maintenance

Although a compressor will fail eventually, you can help it achieve the longest life possible with regular maintenance from a technician. Along with annual visits, make sure you call for repairs when you notice any odd behavior, such as the compressor failing to turn on, or stuttering at start-up and then turning off prematurely. A compressor that fails early in an air conditioner’s lifespan can mean the end of the system and the need to install a new one—the most expensive repair of all!

Since 2001, Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. has helped people stay cool through the summer with repairs for their air conditioning in Arlington, VA. Call us today to sign up for our maintenance program.

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