Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog: Archive for February, 2015

Do I Need to Replace My Furnace?

Friday, 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!

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What Are the Two Types of Electronic Air Cleaners?

Friday, 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!

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Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, 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.

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Reasons to Schedule a Mid-Winter Maintenance Appointment

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

At this time of year, you might assume that if anything were to go wrong with your heating system, it would have happened by now. Your heating system seems to have worked fine since the beginning of winter, so why bother calling a technician at this time of year? But a maintenance visit can greatly improve the performance and efficiency of an HVAC system, even if you hadn’t noticed a problem before. Learn more in this guide about how you can save money, prevent issues, and begin a helpful maintenance schedule by calling and enrolling in an HVAC maintenance program in Alexandria, VA today.

  • An HVAC system can fail at any time – As the winter continues, the components of your heater or air conditioner begin to wear down more and more. In fact, your HVAC system is most likely to run into trouble in the worst kind of weather, when some of the components may become overworked from the added stress on the system. Instead of risking a sudden heating breakdown in the middle of winter, schedule maintenance now in order to reduce your chances.
  • Save money on bills and repairs – An HVAC maintenance visit can save you a lot of money every month. Heating systems account for a large portion of your bills in the middle of winter, and more so if the parts are overworked, worn down, or dirty. During a maintenance visit, a technician looks over your entire system, alerts you to any trouble, and cleans and adjusts some of the parts, which effectively reduces heating costs in most cases.
  • Begin an HVAC maintenance schedule now – Even if you’re not planning to set up a maintenance appointment now, you can start planning for the future by calling a technician ASAP. Most heating equipment manufacturers explain that their product can only live out its expected lifespan with annual maintenance, so getting your heating and air conditioning equipment on a maintenance schedule now with an HVAC maintenance program means you won’t forget to schedule an appointment later on.

Our customers have noticed fewer heating and cooling issues and lower bills after enrolling in the Polar Bear Preventative Maintenance Agreement.

At Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., we provide thorough maintenance for all types of heating and AC equipment. Call us today for a superior HVAC maintenance program in Alexandria, VA.

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