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.

Thermostats

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.

How Do Air Conditioners Battle Humidity?

Humidity is one of the great opponents of comfort during a warm summer, and when you live in the Puget Sound Area, in close proximity to water, the moisture levels in the air can climb to high and unpleasant levels at times.

The reason that humidity presents such a problem for comfort is that it restricts how well your body can release heat through perspiration. The moisture levels in the air slow down how fast sweat evaporates; this traps more heat inside your body. The result is that you feel hotter than the actual temperature.

However, there is relief from humidity, and some of it can come from your air conditioner. A properly installed air conditioning in Seattle, WA will help lower the humidity in your home. To make sure that your AC is doing its job efficiently, call on Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning, any time of the day or night. We are your Northwest indoor air quality experts.

How do Air Conditioners Lower Humidity?

Even though air conditioning systems are not specifically designed to reduce indoor humidity (although they can have special dehumidifier controls installed in them), they do lower the amount of moisture in your air through their process of cooling your home.

Air conditioners work through the process of heat exchange, where they absorb heat along an indoor coil and then release it outside through an outdoor coil. The indoor coil works through evaporation; warm indoor air blown across the cold coil goes through evaporation that absorbs heat along the coil, resulting in lower temperature air. But it also causes the moisture in the air to condense along the coil, lowering the humidity as well. This water vapor drips down into a condensate pan beneath the coil, where a drain and pump remove it. The occasional sound you hear of water dripping in your AC is moisture drawn out of the humid air.

However, air conditioners can dry out the air too much at times, which is one of the reasons that you must have professional installers size the system for you and then install it. The wrong system will either have a negligible effect on humidity levels, or it will make air that’s too dry, which will lead to discomfort from skin cracking and encourage the spread of colds and flus.

Always rely on a company like Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning with extensive experience in installing air conditioning in Seattle, WA so you have the right air conditioner working for your home. We can also handle any necessary repairs and maintenance you need for maximum comfort this summer and every summer after it.

What Every Homeowner Should Know about Getting a New AC

You should only need to replace an air conditioning system every 15 years or thereabouts (provided you have kept the system well-maintained and in good repair). Arranging to have a new installation isn’t something that you will probably be familiar with. When it comes time to install new air conditioning in Kirkland, WA, there are few things you and every homeowner should know about the process and your choices so that you end up the with best possible installation.

A key part of air conditioning replacement is to have the right professionals on the job. Call on the TRUST CERTIFIED team at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning when you are ready for a new AC. We will handle every step of the process to deliver you comfort that exceeds your expectations.

High-efficiency air conditioning is now an option

If more than a decade has passed since you last replaced your air conditioner, you may be surprised at some of the strides in energy-efficient AC performance technology. You can now install a unit in your home with 50% higher efficiency than before. New high-efficiency air conditioners use variable speed blowers to reach 20–22 SEER. However, even standard AC models will probably have SEER superior to your old one—and at a reasonable price as well.

Sizing the unit is crucial (bigger isn’t always better)

Sizing an air conditioner is the process of finding out what cooling load a new system needs to provide in order to keep your home comfortable while not wasting energy. To determine this, professionals must do a thorough analysis of how your home generates and traps heat, and how much heat it allows in from the outside. Guessing the size can lead to disaster: an AC that’s too small will never cool your house down enough, and one that is too large will short-cycle and drain power until it runs down. Allow skilled technicians to handle this part of the job.

You should also update the thermostat

The technology of thermostats has also achieved significant advances during the last 10+ years. Although you can have a new AC connected to your current thermostat, you will miss out on advanced precision and features that will help you get the most from the new installation. If you have an older manual thermostat, you should definitely upgrade to a digital programmable model. There are also wireless thermostats available that permit freer placing of the units and the convenience of remote control.

There are many other important considerations for replacing your air conditioning system in Kirkland, WA, and you should rely on the expertise of Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning to guide you through all the major decisions. We have helped homeowners since 1957 achieve quality home comfort.

Air Conditioning Repair FAQ: What Are Capacitors?

Air conditioners consist of numerous mechanical and electrical components that must work in harmony to give you the right amount of cooling without draining excess power. Among the smaller components are the capacitors, but don’t let their size mislead you: a malfunctioning capacitor can lead to serious repair issues.

When you suspect that anything is amiss with your air conditioning in Everett, WA, put in a call to Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning—any time of the day or night. We can provide you with fast and effective repairs that will restore your cool home to you in no time.

Capacitors and Air Conditioning Repair

Capacitors are devices found in numerous machines that run on motors; they resemble silver cylinders of roughly the same dimensions as a can of soda. What a capacitor does is store an electrical charge, something like a temporary battery, and then transmit voltage to the motors to start them running and to keep them running. Most motors require the use of two capacitors: a “start” capacitor to send a powerful initial charge to start the motor, and a “run” capacitor that sends smaller charges at regular intervals to maintain motor operation.

In an air conditioner, capacitors are required to send voltage to the engines that power the blower, the outdoor fan, and the condenser. Each motor has a start and run capacitor connected to it. If one of the capacitors starts to fail, it will lead to a malfunctioning motor that will have difficulty coming on and may prematurely stop. When capacitors start to fail, they will usually make a distinct clicking sound; when you hear this noise during motor start-up, call for professional repairs immediately.

A common problem that bad capacitors cause is “hard starting.” This is when the compressor has difficulty coming on; it will struggle to start, and often shut down early. Hard starting causes a high level of stress on the system and drains energy. If the hard starting continues for too long, it could cause serious damage to the compressor, one of the most expensive parts of an AC to repair.

Any time you experience issues with the motors in your air conditioner, detect hard-starting, or hear clicking sounds, call for repair technicians right away. If one of the capacitors is causing the problem, the technician will replace it. In some cases of hard starting, a technician can install a “hard-start kit” to overcome the problem.

Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning in Everett, WA has handled AC repairs since 1957. When you have troubled due to capacitors or any other component, contact us as soon as possible and we will take care of the problem fast and right the first time.

Why Should I Keep My Air Conditioning Vents Clear?

The vents in your home are responsible for removing the hot air from your property and returning it as cool air. They are the highways of your air conditioning system, and like a regular highway, they need to be maintained to ensure proper passage of your system’s air flow. What are some of the best ways to keep your vent system healthy during this summer? Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning has some tips to help you properly maintain the vents in your air conditioning system in Everett, WA this summer.

Tip #1: Do Not Place Objects in Front of Vents

You have two kinds of vents in your air conditioning system: supply vents and return vents. The supply vents deliver the cool air into your home while the return vents pull the warm air out and into the system. Should either of these ducts be blocked by furniture, plants, drapes, pet beds, etc., the system has to work harder to pull air in or blow air out.

Tip #2: Change Air Filters Regularly

Your air filter’s job is to stop dirt and dust from entering your system. During busy seasons, the air filter gets a work-out, and collects a great deal of both items. Eventually, the dirt and dust can clog the filter, causing decreases in air flow and air quality. The best way to avoid problems that can develop from dirty air filters is to change them regularly, usually every 1-3 months.

Tip #3: Have a Professional Cleaning Every 3-5 Years

While the air filter in your system catches a lot of the dust and dirt that enters your system, it can’t catch every bit, so some dirt and dust will accumulate in your ductwork. How often should you clean your vents? Industry standards say every 3-5 years, unless one of the following has occurred:

  • Pest infestation
  • You’ve moved into a new home
  • You’ve built a new home
  • You have heavily-shedding pets

If you’ve experienced some kind of pest infestation in your vents, it’s recommended that you clean them annually for two years after the situation has been remediated to ensure the pests haven’t returned. When moving into a new home, it’s a good idea to schedule a vent cleaning as you may not know the last time the vents were professionally cleaned. Building a new home means the ducts are new, but dust and other debris from homebuilding may have made their way into the vents. Lastly, if you have pets that shed considerably, you may want to shorten the cleaning time as pet hair can quickly clog ducts.

Think Your Vents May Be Dirty? Call Us!

Dirty air vents can constrict air flow, putting stress on your entire air conditioning system. Whether you need help with your air conditioner’s vents or anything else to do with repairing your air conditioning in Everett, WA, make sure to call Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning experts!

What Are SEER Ratings and How Do They Affect My Air Conditioner?

Understanding fully the workings of air conditioning systems requires years of specialized training. However, there are a number of basic technical stats about air conditioners that you can grasp with only a bit of education, and this will help you understand more about how your AC works and how efficiently and effectively it delivers cooling to your home. One of the most important stats is SEER, which we’ll explain in this post.

When you need experts to help you with the more complicated aspects of an AC—like taking care of any repairs—look to the Everett, WA air conditioning experts at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve worked with AC, heat pumps, and heaters in the Puget Sound Area since 1957.

What SEER Stands For and What It Means For Your Air Conditioner

The acronym SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency rating.” This is a universal rating for forced-air air conditioners and heat pumps. It measures how well an individual air conditioning unit turns its fuel source—electricity—into cooling power.

SEER is a ratio between how much cooling an AC can create (literally, how much heat it can draw out of the air) and how much energy it consumes to do so. The measurement is an average done over a whole season, which makes it difference from EER (energy efficiency rating) which is only the measure over a single test. The actual formula for determining seer is this:

SEER = Cooling Produced in BTUS (British Thermal Units) ÷ Energy Consumed in Watt-Hours

The higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner is at turning electricity into cooling ability, and consequently the less you can expect to pay each month on cooling bills. (Provided the system was correctly sized and installed for your home.)

What number should you expect for SEER? A good baseline is that set by the U.S. EPA for the ENERGY STAR program. In order for an air conditioner to obtain the ENERGY STAR label of approval for energy efficiency, it must have 14.5 SEER or greater. Special high-efficiency ACs can score above 18 SEER or even 20. Keep in mind, the higher the SEER, the more a unit is likely to cost.

You should know the SEER of your home’s air conditioner—you’ll find it on the cabinet. This will help you determine if the system is living up to its efficiency promise. If you think you are paying more than you should based on the SEER of your air conditioning system, have repair technicians investigate.

Call Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning for the assistance with your air conditioning in Everett, WA that will make sure it lives up to its SEER rating and lasts you for many years.