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

The Best Time to Schedule Heating Maintenance in Arlington

Monday, 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. 

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How Technicians Size a New Air Conditioner for Installation

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Although it may seem logical, the answer isn’t “As large as can fit.” A more powerful an air conditioner doesn’t mean necessarily mean a better air conditioner. Professionals must size a new AC to accommodate a home so that it 1) provides sufficient cooling load for comfort, and 2) works efficiently without energy waste. An air conditioner that is too small will not deliver enough cooling, and one that is too large will start to “short-cycle,” turning on and off rapidly and draining energy.

The process of sizing an air conditioner is a complicated one that requires the professionals to perform a heat load calculation. We’ll explain this process to show you the importance of having AC installation experts on the job.

Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. has more than a dozen years of experience sizing ACs. You can trust us with your air conditioning installation in Washington, DC.

The heat load calculation

A heat load calculation combines information about how a home traps and keeps out heat to determine the cooling load necessary to keep it comfortable. Numerous criteria go into the calculation; here are some of the most important ones:

  • House volume: Square footage of a home isn’t helpful for determining its cooling needs; it’s the volume of space inside that matters.
  • Insulation: How well-insulated is the house to keep excess heat from entering? How well-insulated is the attic?
  • Number of windows and their facing: Windows allow in radiant heat from the sun, so the number of windows in a home and the direction they face is important for understanding how hot the house can get.
  • Appliances and lights: The calculation takes into account the amount of heat-producing appliances and how much heat they add to a home.
  • Number of residents: The human body creates a significant amount of heat, so the calculation must include the number of people regularly reside in the house.

Once all this data is collected, the technicians plug them into the calculation and determine how much cooling in tons an air conditioner must supply to overcome the warmth in a house without overworking. This way, they will know the ideal AC to install.

The consequences of putting in an AC that’s the wrong size are extreme, and usually the only solution to the problem is to replace completely the improperly-sized unit.

Make sure this error doesn’t occur with your new air conditioning installation in Washington, DC:

Call on the professionals at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. and let us handle the work, starting with correctly sizing your new AC unit.

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Air Cleaners vs. Air Purifiers: The Best Choice for Your Home

Monday, August 11th, 2014

The terms “air cleaner” and “air purifier” can bewilder first-time customers who are looking for a way to cleanse out the unhealthy particles from their home’s air. There is actually a wide range of different names for these indoor air quality systems that can mean a variety of things, so we understand why people often feel confused. We’ll try to cut through some of that cloud of confusion in this post to help you focus on what you may need when it comes to getting the healthiest air possible for your house.

For air purifiers and air cleaners in Washington, DC, you can count on Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to help you navigate through the different models and choices. We will also handle the installation to make sure that the new device does the job it should for many years to come. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Specifics of the terms “air cleaners” and “air purifiers”

Confusingly, these two terms mean that same thing technically—electronic air cleaners—but in common use, an “air cleaner” refers to a mechanical air filter, and an “air purifier” refers to an electronic device with ionization technology.

Air cleaners, i.e. air filters

Air filters use a mesh of fibers, usually made from fiberglass, to attract and trap particles in the air that flows through them. They do not require any power to run, although they must occasionally be replaced when they become too clogged with trapped contaminants. Powerful air filters, such as HEPA filters, are capable of trapping 99.97% of the particles that pass through them that are 0.3 microns or larger; they can catch smaller particles as well, although not at so effective a level.

For many homes, an air filter is sufficient to reduce the dangerous allergens and asthma triggers from the air. A professional will need to select and install the unit to make sure that it will not interfere with airflow.

Air purifiers, i.e. electronic air cleaners

Air purifiers do not use filtration technology at all to clean the air. Instead they create an electronic ionization field inside the ventilation system. This ionizes contaminating particles, which are then drawn to a set of collector plates in the cleaner, where they are trapped. Air purifiers can affect particles down to 0.1 microns, and they can trap gaseous and odor molecules—something that air filters cannot. If you have issues with odors, smoke, pesticides, carbon monoxide, etc., then an electronic air cleaner is probably your best option.

When you call on the indoor air quality experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., you’ll find out exactly what is in your air and what system you need installed to counteract it.

Whether you need air purifiers or air cleaners in Washington, DC installed for your home, you can count on Polar Bear Air Conditioning to do the job right. Call us today. 

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Air Conditioning Repair Question: Is My Compressor Damaged?

Monday, August 4th, 2014

The compressor is one of the most important components of your air conditioning system, but it’s also one of the parts that is most likely to fail when your air conditioner runs into problems. If you believe your compressor is faulty, you may hesitate to call an AC technician for fear of costly repairs. However, it is better to get the problem fixed with professional air conditioning repair soon than to risk irreparable damage.

The compressor is responsible for compressing, or adding pressure to, the refrigerant in its gaseous state. Refrigerant must continuously change from a gas to a liquid and back again in order to absorb and release heat from your home, so the compressor allows this process to begin before it changes to a liquid at the condenser.

Compressor problems may be caused by a number of different issues. In general, the best way to keep your compressor free of damage is by calling a maintenance technician at least once a year to inspect your system. But there are many reasons the compressor fails, and the effects may be sudden.

One of the reasons a compressor may become damaged is if there is a refrigerant leak. The components of your system are designed and sized to hold only a certain level of refrigerant. The compressor in particular suffers when refrigerant levels drop due to leaks or incorrect installation, and it may fail if not enough refrigerant can pass through.

Overheating is another common cause of compressor damage. Overheating may result from electrical damage. In general, however, if any component of your AC is damaged, your compressor has to run longer and work harder to compensate, which could cause it to wear out. Of course, a compressor will also become damaged over time, and may simply fail because it is too old to function.

So how can you tell if the air conditioning problem you’re having is compressor damage or not? This is something you should leave up to the experts. While banging noises, hard starting, and a system that won’t turn on are all good indicators of damage, these can point to other problems as well, and you may only need a small repair.

For air conditioning repair in Arlington, trust the trained and certified technicians at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Give us a call today!

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