Gas or Electric: Which Furnace Should I Choose?

February 20th, 2015

Using a centralized heating system for homes dates back to the time of the ancient Romans. Today’s options for home heating systems are numerous, but if you have a home with ductwork, you may want to consider the installation of a furnace. Many of today’s furnaces have efficiency ratings over 90%, and you can choose from a gas furnace (or propane) or an electric furnace. The experts at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning have been installing, repairing, replacing and maintaining home heating systems for over 30 years, so call us today!

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces provide heat from combustion: the burner is lit and the burner heats the heat exchanger, and together these two components generate the heat that is blown into your home’s living spaces. One of the great benefits of a gas furnace is the easy access to the fuel source, i.e., the main gas line. Tapping into your city’s main gas line means you don’t have to manage fuel deliveries or worry about running out of fuel; you can also use the gas coming into your home for other appliances. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning of all the fossil fuels, and efficiency ratings of gas furnaces can be as high as 98%.

Electric Furnaces

Many people may remember when electric furnaces weren’t very efficient, but new technologies and product design have made electric furnaces very energy efficient. In fact, many have energy efficiency ratings of 100% because electric furnaces don’t lose any fuel to exhaust. Electric furnaces heat by electrifying tightly-wound metal coils that reside in a component called a heating element. Once the air around the heating element reaches the correct temperature, the fan blows the air into your home. Electric furnaces can be good choices for homeowners who do not have access to a natural gas line or for those who don’t want to use a fossil fuel.

Which Is Best for You?

Your furnace is going to be with you for 15-20 years, so one of the best ways to determine which type of furnace will be best for your home is to work with a trained expert.

If you are ready for a new furnace installation in Louisville, schedule an appointment with an AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning specialist today!

Valentine’s Day: Pagan Revelry, Clandestine Marriage, and 14th Century Poetry

February 14th, 2015

What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Perhaps rushing off to the stationary store after work to choose the perfect card with which to express your feelings towards a loved one? Dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant? Roses, dark chocolates, and other gifts and confections? Whatever Valentine’s Day may look like to you, chances are that it is a far cry from the history surrounding this holiday – or at least we hope so. Here are a few interesting facts about this most romantic of holidays, from your friends here at AccuTemp Heating & Air Conditioning.

The fact of the matter is that there is no definitive history as to how Valentine’s Day came to be. There are a few different saints with variations of the name Valentine, for example. One of the most prevalent legends, and one certainly in keeping with the romantic nature of the holiday as we know it today, pertains to a priest serving during the 3rd century in Rome. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, who believed that young men made for better soldiers if unfettered by marriage, it was illegal for young men to marry. A true believer in love, Valentine would marry young couples in secret. Until, at least, he was found out, and met a very unpleasant end for his crimes.

Like many of our modern holidays, Valentine’s Day can also be traced back to pagan ritual. Lupercalia, as the pagan festival is known, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, a god of agriculture. As is often the case with Roman celebrations, the details of this celebration are unfit to detail here. Suffice to say that, while there is certainly a touch of the amorous in the proceedings, the festival was a far cry from what we associate with Valentine’s Day today.

How, then, did our modern version of Valentine’s Day come to be? The answer may lie in, of all places, 14th century poetry; particularly, in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer. Famed for his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer may well be the very first writer to associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love, in the manner of which we are familiar with it today. His The Parliament of Fowls details the dream-vision of a narrator consumed with the idea of romantic love and the natural order of finding a mate. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by name a number of times, as the narrator witnesses a parliament of eagles vying for the hand – or, perhaps more aptly, the wing – of a mate.

Whatever you may think of the holiday’s sordid and convoluted history, we here at AccuTemp Heating & Air Conditioning hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with the special someone in your life.

Can I Use Duct Tape for Duct Sealing?

February 5th, 2015

We hear this question a lot at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning, and there is a single answer: no. It may be a bit confounding to hear that using duct tape on your ducts is not a good idea, mainly because it’s called “duct tape”. Duct tape isn’t a good solution for damaged ductwork because the glue wears off, so it isn’t any kind of permanent solution. However, duct sealing for your ducts is a long-term solution, and one that will bring you the benefits and results you need. Having trouble with faulty air ducts? Call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment for duct sealing in St. Matthews, KY.

What Is Professional Duct Sealing?

When a technician performs professional duct sealing for your home, it isn’t a quick-fix kind of job. First, he/she will inspect the entire system to assess the damage and where your ducts need to be sealed, including hard-to-reach places like crawl spaces. Once the locations of need are determined, the technician will apply a layer of mastic to the damaged areas; mastic is a fibrous adhesive that forms a hard, impenetrable seal when it dries. To reinforce the mastic, a piece of foil or fiber glass tape is laid on the mastic before it dries. When repairing broken disconnections, the technician will coat both ends of the disconnected ductwork with mastic, bring the ends together, wrap the connected joint with metal binding and secure the binding with sheet metal nails. The mastic serves as an extra bond that helps keep the ends sealed.

Why Schedule Professional Duct Sealing?

It’s estimated that faulty ductwork can account for up to 30% of your home’s total air loss. Your HVAC system has to compensate for this loss, and does so by working harder. This increases your energy usage and puts a great deal of excess stress and wear and tear on your HVAC system. You may also have problems with indoor air quality. When ducts have cracks and holes, contaminants, pollution and humidity can enter the air flow in the ductwork and are delivered directly into your living spaces. Having your air ducts sealed by a professional helps restore your ductwork to its normal functioning.

If you have faulty ductwork, don’t just apply a piece of duct tape and forget about it.

Have your ductwork repaired correctly by hiring the experts at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning to perform professional duct sealing on your St. Matthews, KY duct system.

Does My Zone Control System Need Maintenance?

January 29th, 2015

One of the most useful innovations in modern heating and air conditioning technology is the development of the zone control system. Zone control systems help to eliminate arguments in the home over the temperature in the house, and may even end the daily race for control over the thermostat for good. Zone control systems consist of a set of dampers in the ductwork and controls that connect the dampers to the AC and individual thermostats. Or, you can control all of the dampers at once through a master thermostat.

When everything is working properly, the dampers should open and close as needed to reduce or increase airflow into a room or zone. This helps to keep every member of the family content and can even out temperatures in the home if you have trouble balancing the upstairs temperatures with the downstairs temperatures or if an architectural feature makes even heating and cooling difficult. However, it is possible that your zone control system can run into repair needs at some point, and you’ll need a professional to help correct the damage.

Just like any other part of an HVAC (heating, air conditioning, and ventilation) system, a zone control system needs regular maintenance in order to run in top shape throughout the year. A technician may visit your home and see that a damper is opening too slowly, a problem which may call for lubrication. Or, your technician may notice a potential wiring issue and may decide to tighten electrical connections or replace a damaged electrical component. The technician should also calibrate thermostats as necessary.

Zone control system maintenance may be completed during an AC or heating maintenance if you request the service from your technician, although an extra fee may sometimes be necessary. Keep in mind that you can only get maximum performance and efficiency levels from your HVAC unit when all of the parts of your heating and AC system run effectively. That’s why a maintenance visit with a thorough cleaning, adjustment, and inspection is necessary for the well-being of every component.

Call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule AC & zone heating maintenance in The Highlands, KY today.

How to Ensure a Long Lifespan for a Commercial Heating System

January 22nd, 2015

Commercial heating systems are a big investment for your business. They are responsible for making your place of business comfortable for yourself, your employees, and your customers. If properly maintained, they can last many years. If neglected, however, you may find yourself investing in a new system far sooner than you or your checkbook would like. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can ensure a long and healthy lifespan for your commercial heating system.

Never Miss an Annual Maintenance Appointment

No heating system, no matter how large or small, can live up to its full potential without regular maintenance. Simply waiting for a problem to occur before calling a professional does not classify as regular maintenance. You need to schedule a preventive maintenance appointment at least once a year. Annual preventive maintenance can find and replace failing parts before they cause bigger problems, and ensure that your system is running smoothly. This decreases the possibility of costly breakdowns.

Know the Signs

Even with the best preventive maintenance available, you’re probably going to have a heating problem crop up at some point. Though you may not be able to completely prevent heating issues from occurring, you can mitigate their effects if you react quickly enough.

Listen for any strange noises coming from your heating system, especially grinding or banging noises that indicate a major issue with the motor or burners, respectively. Pay attention to your heating bills, and call a professional to inspect your system if you notice them start to rise consistently. The faster you act when you notice these issues, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to avoid costly repairs.

Above all else, do not ignore your heating system if it begins to act strangely. Heaters are not known for developing harmless little quirks. If something odd is happening, it is usually the harbinger of a larger problem, and you don’t want to let things get worse.

If you’d like to know more, call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning. We provide commercial heating services throughout Louisville.

 

The Most Hazardous Contaminants Found in Ducts

January 15th, 2015

Just as you wouldn’t want your family to wear unwashed clothes, eat from dirty dishes, or sleep in unclean linens, you wouldn’t want them to breathe in polluted air either. But it surprises many homeowners to hear that the air inside of the home may actually be more polluted than the outside air. And regardless of whether your heating and air conditioning system has a quality filter installed along with it, there may still be any of these harmful contaminants positioned in the duct lining.

  • Dust: For household members with allergies or asthma, dust can be particularly problematic. It can remain in the ducts for long periods of time, building up until it is forced into your home through the vents and repeatedly cycling through your HVAC system.
  • Fiberglass: If your ducts have any holes or cracks, it’s possible that insulation material gets sucked into the ducts. This can cause serious lung irritation, and is especially dangerous with older building materials, in which asbestos may be present.
  • Bacteria/Viruses: Some bacteria and viruses thrive in the conditions in the ducts, potentially leading to illness and causing trouble for those with immune disorders.
  • Mold Spores: Mold develops in the damp, dark areas of the ducts, sending spores into the home as the blower fan forces air into the room.

Schedule Duct Cleaning with a Professional

It is difficult and potentially unsafe for amateurs to attempt to perform standard duct cleaning on their own. The following list contains some of the reasons to trust trained contractors with the job.

  • Professionals provide a thorough inspection of your ductwork before and after duct cleaning to better target the specific contaminants that exist in your air ducts.
  • Contractors are equipped with industrial vacuums which are strong enough to create negative pressure in the ducts.
  • A professional may point out areas of the ducts that need sealing or replacement for better efficiency in the future.
  • Your technician is trained to use the safest cleaning agents only and to clean gently enough that the ductwork remains intact and unscathed.
  • Professional duct cleaning can improve the performance of your HVAC system, reducing friction and allowing air to flow into a room more efficiently.

Get peace of mind with your next Louisville duct cleaning service when you call the experts at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning,

How a Faulty Thermostat Affects Your Heating

January 8th, 2015

Although the heating system in your home contains lots of parts that must all work together to keep your home warm, it’s unlikely that you’ve dealt with any of the components in a hands on way—except for the thermostat. The thermostat is generally the only part of a furnace or heat pump that a homeowner deals with in a hands-on manner, but you may not expect that it can contribute to some common heating issues. In some drastic cases, the problems that occur as a result of thermostat trouble can lead you to call for premature heating installation in the Highlands.

Modern thermostats are far more effective than older thermostats. This is because older thermostats had dials and switches that were tough to read, making it difficult to tell whether you have set your heater to turn on at 67, 66, or 68 degrees, for example. And even a couple of degrees of difference can mean a lot for your heating bills or your comfort. If you set the thermostat higher than intended due to incorrect calibration or a thermostat that’s tough to navigate, the unit will have to work harder, meaning you’ll pay more on your monthly bills.

However, even with a newer thermostat, you can run into a number of different heating issues if it isn’t working properly. Often, you’ll be able to tell that something is wrong when your heater no longer gives off any heat. While this could be due to a faulty ignition system, electrical trouble, or one of many heating issues, it may also mean that the thermostat is failing. If something interferes with the thermostat wiring, your thermostat may be unable to communicate to your unit when it is time to run.

Another common problem resulting from defective thermostat wiring is short cycling. Short cycling is when a heating system is unable to complete the necessary cycle. It will run for a short period of time and then shut off before running again shortly afterwards. This is greatly detrimental to efficiency and can force components to wear down quickly.

The friendly technicians at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning are trained for any sort of heating repairs or heating installation in the Highlands.

If you need a new thermostat or if you suspect any other heating issue, give us a call as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.

Signs that Your Heat Pump Needs Replacement

January 5th, 2015

Heat pumps are great options for heating your home. They’re energy efficient, safe, and with proper maintenance can last a good long time. Unfortunately, all things must pass eventually and your heat pump is no exception. Let’s take a look at the signs that it’s time to replace your heat pump.

Rise in Heating Costs

Heat pumps are remarkably energy efficient, owing to their ability to move heat from one place to another instead of relying on combustion to create it. That’s why it should be a warning sign when your heating bills start rising month after month. Sure, your heating bill is going to fluctuate a little anyway, according to your heating needs. However, a consistent upswing indicates that it’s time to replace your heat pump.

Rise in Frequency of Repairs

Every heating system is going to need repairs once in a while, including heat pumps. However, if you’re taking proper care of your heat pump you shouldn’t need to be having it serviced more than once or twice a year. As the heat pump gets older, the wear and tear from regular use will begin to build up on the various parts of the heating system. As each parts wears down at a slightly different rate, this will eventually cause different parts to start failing in rapid succession. If you have to call an HVAC technician every few weeks, your heat pump has probably gotten to the point where it’s cheaper to replace it than to keep repairing it.

Age

Age, when taken in conjunction with the other two signs, is another way to confirm that your heat pump has reached the end of its life. If your heat pump is older than ten years old, and has other problems like the ones listed above, then it’s a good time to replace it. If your heat pump is younger than ten years old, or doesn’t have anything else wrong with it, then you can probably get a few more good years out of it before replacing it.

If you’d like to know more about heat pumps, call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning. We service heat pumps throughout the Jefferson area.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.” This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at AccuTemp Heating & Air Conditioning, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!