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

Reasons to Upgrade Your Thermostat in Alexandria

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Your thermostat cues your air conditioner to turn on and off, and if it malfunctions or is operating poorly, you can experience constant problems with your air conditioning. Simple things like cleaning dust and dirt from the inside of your thermostat doesn’t mandate an upgrade, but if you find that you are calling for frequent repairs or are constantly fiddling with it to produce the results you want, it may be time to consider thermostat replacement in Alexandria.

Why Upgrade?

There are several reasons to consider upgrading your thermostat:

  • It’s old – older thermostats, particularly sliding or mercury-based models, simply aren’t as precise as current digital ones. In addition, age may have worn down the components inside them, making them prone to malfunction.
  • Better energy efficiency – not only does the precise nature of digital thermostats help reduce your use of energy, but programmable digital thermostats take things one step further by giving you the ability to program for a wide range of needs, including for those times when no one is home.
  • Easier to use – not only are the temperature displays easier to read on digital thermostats: they have easier controls and buttons to better manage your comfort.
  • No need to recalibrate – digital thermostats do not have internal moving parts like older thermostats, so once your new digital thermostat is setup, you don’t need to worry about recalibrating it.

Types of Thermostats

There are a number of thermostats available, but these are ones to consider when upgrading:

  • Digital
  • Digital programmable
  • Wifi

Why Hire a Professional When Upgrading?

The point of installing a new thermostat is to improve on cooling capability while also becoming more energy efficient. If your new thermostat isn’t installed correctly, you won’t achieve either of these things. Many things can affect the efficiency and operation of a new thermostat, including:

  • Poor placement
  • Incorrect wiring
  • Incorrect setup

You can avoid these problems with the thermostat replacement in Alexandria by using a trained professional you can trust.

Think it’s time for a new thermostat? Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating today and schedule an appointment with one of our thermostat installation experts.

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How to Tell You Need Ductwork Repair

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Ductwork can be easily forgotten because it isn’t very visible, but problems do develop with it. Common ductwork problems can include leaks, holes, cracks, broken seals, pests, debris, and dust and dirt build-up. Clearly, a lot can happen with your air ducts, but just as other parts of your air conditioner will give an indication of developing problems, so, too, does your ductwork in Washington, DC. Here are some of the more common signs our Polar Bear technicians see when it comes to ductwork repair needs:

  • Issues with airflow – decreased air flow can mean a few things, but if all other possibilities are ruled out (such as low refrigerant or fan problems), it may be time to take a look at your ductwork and see what’s happening. Cracks, holes, broken seals, disconnections and obstructions can all constrict the air flow in your system and ultimately affect your indoor air quality.
  • Abnormal sounds – rattling, whistling and humming can all indicate that there are loose components or other issues with your ductwork; scratching and scampering sounds can be indicative of pests. All should be inspected to find the root cause.
  • Higher utility bills – have you noticed a sharp increase in your monthly energy bill but haven’t changed how you’ve been operating your AC? Faulty ductwork can account for up to 30% of air loss, which is a large amount of air to compensate for.
  • Hot and cold spots – inconsistent temperature can be an indication that air is not delivering evenly throughout your home because of issues with the ductwork.
  • Increased humidity – cracks, holes and disconnections can allow humidity and moisture into the ductwork, which then gets delivered into your home.
  • Increased dust – are you seeing more dust in your home than usual? It could be coming directly from the vent work.

Don’t Do Ductwork Repairs Yourself

Ductwork repair is complex and requires the use of certain tools you may not have or may not be familiar with. Instead of trying to repair the ductwork in your Washington DC home yourself, call an expert: Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. We’ve been fabricating, installing and repairing ductwork in the Washington DC area for almost 15 years.

Don’t let your ductwork compromise the operation of your air conditioning system – call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., today.

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How Do Packaged Air Conditioning Units Differ from Centralized Units?

Monday, July 14th, 2014

There are a lot of choices these days when it comes to choosing a type of air conditioner for your home. Many factors need to be considered, including the size of your home, what kind of energy efficiency you seek and what type of system you feel would work best for your property. One of the types of air conditioners Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., installs frequently is known as a packaged air conditioning unit, and it may be a good option for your Arlington property.

What Is a Packaged Air Conditioner?

A packaged air conditioner is one in which all the components – the compressor, condenser, evaporator and blower – are all housed in a single unit. This unit is typically placed outdoors, but it can also be placed on a rooftop, in a crawlspace or in an attic space. The ductwork goes directly to the unit.

What Types of Packaged Air Conditioners Are Available?

There are 4 main types of packaged air conditioners:

  • Traditional packaged air conditioner – as described above, has a single cabinet that houses the whole system
  • Packaged heat pump – a packaged heat pump system offers both heating and cooling in the same unit
  • Packaged duel fuel – this type of packaged system offers heat pump cooling in the summer, and heat pump heating for fall and spring. When the temperature goes below freezing, this unit will utilize either gas or propane to heat your home
  • Packaged gas/electric – a packaged gas/electric system uses electricity to cool during the warm months and gas to heat during the cold months

What Are The Benefits of a Packaged System? 

  • Packaged units are self-contained
  • Can cool (and heat) large spaces easily
  • Easier to repair
  • Flexible placement

Is a Packaged Air Conditioner Right for You?

The best way to determine if a packaged air conditioning unit is the best fit for your Arlington property is to work with a trained professional. As we mentioned above, many factors need to be considered when choosing a new air conditioner, and it helps to have the experience and advice of someone who does this kind of work every day.

Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our trained professionals to see if a packaged air conditioning system is right for your home.

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What is the Condensate Pan in My Air Conditioner?

Monday, July 7th, 2014

You know that your air conditioning gives you a cool place to escape the summer heat, but did you know it helps dehumidify as it cools? One of the parts that helps remove moisture from the air in your home is the condensate pan. So how does this part work?

To understand the purpose of the condensate pan, you must first know about the indoor components of your AC. An air conditioner cools your home by collecting the heat from indoors and releasing it outside. The indoor unit absorbs heat with the evaporator coil, which is located in the indoor unit of your AC system. Refrigerant reaches the evaporator as a cool, low-pressure liquid. The evaporator changes the liquid into a low-pressure gas, and heat is absorbed when household air blows across the evaporator coil.

These same components also collect moisture from inside your home via the process of condensation. Picture a glass of ice water on a hot day. The outside of the glass forms water droplets in the same way your evaporator does. Water from the air collects outside of the evaporator coil as the household air blows across the cool refrigerant line.

As condensation forms on the evaporator coil, it must drain quickly and continuously so that your system won’t overflow. Before draining, the condensation drips into a condensate pan. The condensate pan is a shallow tray located underneath the evaporator coil. Water collects in the tray before making its way into a hole that sends it through a drainage system.

Sometimes, you may run into problems with this particular portion of your AC unit. The condensate line may be blocked, which means water can’t drain and may overflow, damaging parts of your AC system. The condensate tray may also develop a hole, or there may be a leak in the condensate line that can cause water to leak onto the floor or within the air handler itself. If this happens, call a professional for air conditioning repair.

At Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating, we can answer any questions you have about air conditioning in Northern Virginia. For repair, maintenance, installation, and replacement, call us today!

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The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

Friday, July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

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