Seattle Air Conditioning Guide: The Condenser Unit

The part of your air conditioner that sits outside of your home is known as the condenser unit. In the traditional split-system air conditioning system found in most homes, the indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and blower fan, components which help refrigerant to change from a liquid to a gas and absorb heat from your home. Outside, heat is released with the help of a few key components, which we’ve detailed below.


Refrigerant leaves the indoor portion of your air conditioner as a low-pressure gas and first makes its way into the compressor. The compressor is a mechanical device that increases the pressure of the refrigerant, a process that allows refrigerant to continue to cycle through the system and that makes the refrigerant very hot. This complex device is subject to a lot of wear and tear, particularly if other portions of the air conditioner are not working properly. If refrigerant is too low, for example, this part may struggle to complete its task and become overworked. It’s important to schedule repairs whenever necessary to avoid damaging the compressor.

Condenser Coils

At the condenser coil, heat dissipates into the air as refrigerant condenses into a liquid. Heat releases into the air with the help of the condenser fins, and refrigerant moves back indoors to continue the refrigeration cycle. This coil may run into problems if the condenser fins are bent or if the coil is too dirty. Both of these problems may be caught during regular air conditioning maintenance.

Outdoor Fan

The heat exchange process could not occur without the help of the outdoor fan. The condenser fan sucks in outside air and blows it over the condenser coil, which helps with condensation. The same fan helps release heat from the condenser to the outside air. The fan is run by a motor that may become clogged with debris or need replacement. You should make sure to clear any debris or vegetation away from this unit, as it may block airflow.

For more information about air conditioning services in Seattle, contact the knowledgeable technicians at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning today!

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning wishes your family a happy end of summer.

What’s My Best Choice for Air Filtration?

Having clean air in your home isn’t just about comfort; it’s also about health. Indoor air can be 4-5 times more polluted than the outdoor air, particularly when using an air conditioning system. A great way to ensure that your air is consistently healthful is by installing a whole-home air filtration system in your Tacoma home. There are several choices when it comes to air filtration systems, so to determine what filter will work best for you and your family, you’ll want to work with professionals. Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning has been helping to improve customer indoor air quality since 1957, and we can help you improve yours.

Types of Air Filtration Systems

There are two main types of filtration systems available for home use, and within these two groupings are choices, as we’ll outline below.

Mechanical Filters

Mechanical filters are square-shaped, framed filters that trap particles in the filter media. Many mechanical filters fit into the space where your standard filter resides (although not always), and are specifically made to improve indoor air quality. Mechanical filters can be pleated, extended surface or both, and depending on their MERV rating, can trap a number of different particle types, most typically allergens.

HEPA filters are also mechanical filters, but they are their own brand of filter. HEPA stands for high efficiency particle air, and these filters have an effectiveness rating of 99.97%. HEPA filters are the only mechanical filters that can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns; when you consider that a human hair has a micron size range of 70-100, you can see why HEPA filters are so effective. However, HEPA filters can be too strong for some air conditioning systems, and constrict air flow. This is why it’s important to consult with a professional before installing a HEPA filter to your AC.

Electronic Filters

Electronic filters use electricity to charge particles in order to capture and remove them from the air. There are two types of electronic filters: electronic precipitators and ion generators.

Electronic precipitators use an ionization section to electrically charge pollutants. Once charged, they are attracted to oppositely-charged metal plates. The plates capture and hold these particles until they are manually cleaned.

Ion generators also use electricity to charge particles, but do so by disbursing ions into the air. Particles come into contact with the ions, attach to them, and are attracted to the surfaces in your home.

Which Filtration System Is Best For You?

Choosing an air filtration system is best determined by your needs. Certain filtration options may work better than others for what you need, and working with a trained specialist can help you choose which air filtration system in Tacoma will work best for you. Call Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

The Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater in Everett WA

You have more options for hot water heaters today than you once did. The tankless water heater (also known as an “on-demand” water heater) has made its way to the U.S. from Europe and has now become a popular option for replacing a standard storage water heater. A tankless water heater offers you some great advantages, and we think that every homeowner should consider installing one as a possibility.

Call Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning to learn more about installation of tankless water heaters. We handle many types of water heaters, such as the Noritz Tankless, and we can find the unit that will provide you with the amount of hot water you need combined with the energy savings that will help it pay back its installation costs in no time.

The advantages of a tankless water heater

  • Never run out of hot water: This is the major reason that people love their tankless water heaters. There is no supply of water stored in a tank that can run out! Tankless water heaters instead heat up water in a heat exchanger only when a tap turns on demanding hot water. Since the water is heated as it is needed, you won’t ever need to have the experience of a cold shower in the morning in a crowded home.
  • Save energy, lower bills: A storage water heater must keep its supply of water in its tank heated at all times, and so it constantly burns fuel, whether you need the water or not. But a tankless system only burns fuel or uses electricity when you need hot water, making them much less costly to operate. Although a tankless water heater is more expensive than a storage water heater to install initially, it will rapidly pay for itself.
  • Extended lifespan: To help offset the additional cost, a tankless water heater on average lasts five years longer than a standard system. You have more years to enjoy the benefits and rack up the savings.
  • Tax credits: The energy efficiency of tankless systems may qualify their owners for tax credits. Check with your installers to find out if these benefits will apply to you.

A tankless system isn’t always the best choice for every home and every budget, so make sure you contact installers first before you commit to a tankless water heater in Everett, WA. Look to the expertise at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning for the full services to install, maintain, and repair a new tankless water heater for your home. We’ve maintained a reputation for high quality work since 1957.

Can Duct Cleaning Help My Air Conditioner?

Duct cleaning from professionals is something that most homes will need to have done every two years (and in some cases, every year). The cleaners use various power vacuums and brushes and other equipment to cleanse out a ventilation system of almost all of the contamination that can build up after only a few years. These pollutants include dust, dirt, hair, pollen, dander, dust mites, construction debris, and other particles that can contribute to numerous illnesses and health complications inside a household. Air duct cleaning is vital for achieving the best indoor air quality possible for a home.

But there are other reasons to schedule duct cleaning in Bellevue, WA: your air conditioning will work better and have a longer lifespan thanks to clean ducts. We’ll explain how your AC will benefit from professional duct cleaning.

(And we do mean professional: you can’t trust amateurs to do an effective job. Call a company with experience, like Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning, to handle this important task.)

Why Cleaning Your Ducts Is Good for Your Air Conditioner

Think of the ventilation system that extends from your central air conditioner as similar to nasal passages. This is how your AC “breathes.” Now imagine these passages clogged up, creating resistance to the movement of air in both the return ducts and the outgoing ducts leading to the rooms. Just as you will make more effort to breathe when you have a congested nose, your AC will have to make more effort to work with ducts filled with a thick layer of dust and other debris. It only takes a thin layer to create resistance against airflow, so imagine what a few years of build-up will do to an air conditioner—and consequently, to your cooling bills.

In addition to raising your utility bills, congested air ducts will lead to an air conditioner aging faster due to overwork. You can expect more repair needs from parts wearing down, and the AC may need to be replaced earlier.

All this contamination in the ductwork can lead to direct damage to the air conditioner’s components as well: the debris will begin to enter the AC cabinet, which can cause dirty coils and poorly working motors. A dusty air conditioning cabinet will inevitably need serious repairs.

Thanks to professional duct cleaning, you can allow your air conditioner to “breathe” easy, cost less to run, encounter fewer repairs, and in general have a much longer service life.

When you contact Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning for duct cleaning in Bellevue, WA, you’ll receive quality work that will take only a few hours and provide very little hassle to you. We’ll help you get the best quality air and the best quality air conditioning for your home.

Why Is Regular Maintenance Important?

Did you know that your air conditioner can lose 5% of its energy efficiency for each year it runs? Or that regular maintenance will keep your AC running at 95% of its original efficiency? These are just two of several reasons why it’s important to schedule regular maintenance on your air conditioning system in Seattle with a trusted company like Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning.

Reasons to Schedule Maintenance

  • Better energy efficiency – as we mentioned above, your air conditioner can lose up to 5% of efficiency for each year it runs. If your air conditioner is 5 years old, and you haven’t scheduled regular maintenance at all, you could be losing up to 25% in energy efficiency.
  • Prevention of repairs – you can’t remove the possibility of repair needs entirely, but maintenance provides the opportunity to fix the small problems and identify any developing big ones. In addition, different components are cleaned, lubricated and adjusted during a routine maintenance appointment, which helps keep those components healthy.
  • Extend the life of your system – as with many other mechanical systems, your air conditioning system works best when regularly serviced and cleaned. Your system can become stressed when just a single component malfunctions; with regular maintenance, your AC runs optimally.

What Happens During a Maintenance Appointment?

Here is a general overview of what to expect during a Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning maintenance appointment in Seattle:

  • Check of all operating pressures and refrigerant
  • Testing of safety controls
  • Check of all electrical connections
  • Check voltages and amperages
  • Testing of thermostats
  • Cleaning of condenser unit
  • Inspection of coils, blowers & filters
  • Lubrication of all necessary parts
  • Replacement of customer supply filter
  • Check fan operating control

Is It Time to Schedule a Maintenance Appointment? Call Us

While spring and fall are optimal times of the year to schedule maintenance for your air conditioning in Seattle, any time is a good time if you haven’t done it for a while. We believe in maintenance so much that we have 1-and 3-year plans for our customers that offer a number of special benefits. If it’s been a while since we’ve seen you and your air conditioner, call Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Seattle.

What Is a Packaged Air Conditioner?

You have more options for cooling down your home during the summer in Washington State than you probably realize. The standard central air conditioner is no longer the only choice available. Now you can select a heat pump, a ductless system, or a packaged air conditioner.

Packaged systems are the dominant way for commercial properties to keep cool, but they are also effective for moderate-sized houses. A packaged system may be just the right solution for your needs for air conditioning in Seattle, WA. Call our AC professionals at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning, and we can tell you more about the advantages of a packaged air conditioner and whether it is the optimal choice for your home. You can trust to our almost 60 years of experience when it comes to your family’s comfort.

The Basics of Packaged Air Conditioners

Packaged air conditioning systems are ACs that house all of their components inside a single cabinet. This is different from the standard “split” air conditioners that you see working in many homes. With a split AC, there are two cabinets. The outdoor cabinet houses the compressor, a fan, and the condenser coil. It hooks up through power and refrigerant lines to an indoor cabinet, which contains the blower assembly and the evaporator coil.

With a packaged AC, all of the components, including the evaporator and condenser coils, are inside a single cabinet. Packaged system can be installed at ground level or sometimes on the roof (which is where they are located for most businesses) or in a crawl space, and they hook directly into the home’s ventilation system from the outside.

Packaged AC units can perform efficiently for moderate-sized homes. They are easy for service technicians to maintain and repair, and they offer quiet operation. They can help save space in homes where an indoor cabinet may create an inconvenience.

However, packaged units aren’t the answer to every home’s air conditioning needs; split systems remain the most common type of home AC for some excellent reasons. Make certain that you consult with air conditioning professionals before you make any major choice about installing a new cooling system. You will eventually need the professionals to handle the installation, so you might as well involve them from the start so that you have the ideal type of air conditioner for your home.

When you call Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning in Seattle, WA, you will receive knowledgeable and experienced assistance from some of the finest technicians in the state, many of them NATE-certified. They can help determine the type of AC that will do the best job for your home, and then properly size it so that works without energy waste.

Upgrades for your Air Conditioning System

Your air conditioner is a life saver in the summertime, but what if your AC system could do even more for you and your family? If you have an older system, now may be the time to upgrade to a modern high-efficiency unit that can save you a lot of money over time. If you’re not ready for a brand new system, you might consider investing in a new thermostat for increased comfort.

This short guide to air conditioning upgrades can help you choose the solution that’s right for your home.

New Cooling Systems

Installing a new system? You may be surprised by the energy savings a new AC can bring. Older AC systems often simply do not have the high efficiency and performance of systems made today. Standards for efficiency have changed significantly over the last several years, and older AC systems lose a lot of efficiency with time.

There are also many different kinds of systems available today. The standard of split-system central air conditioning is no longer the only option available. A ductless mini split, for example, is a great solution for those without ducts in the home. Another option is a heat pump, which has a reversing valve that permits reversing the flow of refrigerant. This means that you can receive both heating and cooling with the same system.


Another upgrade you may consider for your air conditioner is a new digital, programmable thermostat. Manual thermostats can sometimes be difficult to read, so that you may set the temperature just below or just above what you intend. If you set the temperature too high, you’re never quite comfortable, and if you set it too low, you may be spending more than is necessary on your energy bill. A digital, programmable thermostat has a clear display, and you can also save money by setting it to turn on and off at different times of the day.

Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers air conditioning upgrades and installation in Kirkland. If you want more from your AC system, call today!

Leading the Way with Independence Days!

The term “Fourth of July” is the popular name for the U.S. federal holiday officially known as Independence Day. It isn’t surprising that we would come up with a different name from the official one, since “Independence Day” is one of the most common holiday names across the globe. Most of the nations in existence today won their independence from another power, whether through wars, treaties, or long transitions.

What might surprise many people is how old U.S. Independence Day actually is compared to the similar holidays of other nations. Although the U.S. is still considered a young nation, it was one of the first to make a full break for its colonial master with a new constitution. Most countries that celebrate a national Independence Day are commemorating events that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, when many older empires at last relinquished control over their colonies.

How substantial is the difference in time for the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? U.S. Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, making our country unusual in that almost no existing nations celebrate an independence event from the eighteenth century.

In terms of age, there is only a tiny handful current countries that celebrate an independence day that occurred earlier than the United States. Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans in 1291 with “Swiss National Day,” held every August 1—although this only gained status as a national holiday in 1994. Sweden Celebrates “National Day of Sweden” to commemorate events in 1523 and the election of King Gustav I during the War of Liberation against Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Romania comes almost a hundred years after U.S. Independence, with its 1877 freedom from Turkish rule.

The most recent Independence Days to come into existence are for Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and celebrates the day on May 21, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and celebrates the day only a day after the U.S., on July 5.

Does anyone else celebrate a literal “Fourth of July,” an Independence Day that also falls on the fourth day of the seventh month? Yes: Abkhazia, a small Central Asian country that declared its independence from the Republic of Georgia in 1999 (although not all countries recognize it). Coming a day (like South Sudan) on July 5 is the independence of the small Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde, which became free from Portugal through signed agreement in 1975.

Everyone at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning hopes you and your family enjoy a vibrant Independence Day/Fourth of July this year!

Why Hot Air Blows from Your Air Conditioning

No one wants to turn on their air conditioner in summer to feel warm air blowing from the vents, but it does happen. Warm air blowing through your system can be caused by several things, some more serious than others; this is why it’s important to make sure that a trained professional inspects your system to see exactly what’s happening with your air conditioning system.

Reasons Warm Air Can Blow from Your Air Conditioner

Here are some of the more common reasons our Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning customers have had warm air blow through their air conditioning systems:

  • Dirty air filter – a clogged or dirty air filter can cause the air flow in your air conditioning system to become constricted. This, in turn, can affect the heat release and cooling process. Changing your air filter regularly – usually once every 1-3 months – can help alleviate this problem.
  • Low refrigerant levels – the refrigerant level in your air conditioner needs to stay at an exact level in order for your air conditioner to perform correctly; this refrigerant level is in the manufacturer’s handbook. If your AC develops a leak, the refrigerant level will begin to decrease, which can cause issues with the heat release and cooling process.
  • Compressor issues – the compressor resides in your outside unit and is responsible for pressurizing the refrigerant. If there is any malfunction with the compressor, this can negatively affect the pressurization of the coolant, creating a ripple-effect throughout the system.
  • Thermostat is set incorrectly – it may seem silly, but it can be easy to forget to set your thermostat to “cool.”

Maintaining Your AC Regularly Goes a Long Way

During a routine maintenance appointment, your air conditioner is thoroughly inspected, cleaned, and adjusted. This includes checking refrigerant levels, cleaning coils and filters, and making sure everything in your air conditioner is running as it should. Since 1957, Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning has been helping Seattle customers with their air conditioning. If you feel warm air blowing from your air conditioner this summer, or are experiencing other issues, call Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning and schedule local Seattle air conditioning service with one of our specialists.